The New Normal

“At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it.”
Jeremiah 18:7-10

In some circles it is impolitic to speak of God having control or impact on the life and destiny of earth’s nations and cultures. Excepting Israel, of course, since the vast majority of the Bible details how God moved in them and through them. But of all the other nations of the world? Need I mention Egypt and the plagues resulting in Moses and his people evacuating in one night? How about the many nations inhabiting the land of Canaan that Israel repossessed? There is also Persia and its King, Cyrus, that God stirred to release the Jews after the prophesied 70 years of captivity to return to Judah and rebuild. I should also mention Nineveh since God told Jonah to go to them and preach judgement against their evil ways, and even though he initially disobeyed, God compelled Jonah to finally visit that great city and preach, and the entire city actually repented and God relented from His judgement!

So, remarkably, God does involve Himself in the affairs of governments and citizens of nations and cultures of this planet. And why shouldn’t He after all. The individuals are all His creatures, He is their Shepard, He is concerned with their welfare. We can see all this from the pages of the Bible over and over again.

But the argument is made that these are judgements made thousands of years ago and we must live in the present and we’ve made such progressive strides from those ancient, myopic days. We know so much more about the world and the universe and can leave the fairy tales behind.

That is certainly one way of way of looking at things, and perhaps is the predominant world view in America. The result of this world view is that Man is the center of all things and that Man makes his own destiny. There is no room for God, and even if He does exist, it doesn’t matter as He’s remote and uninvolved.

Since there’s likely no such thing as God then concepts such as right and wrong, morality and immorality are creations of our own judgements. We just make them up according to what seems good to us. There really is no foundation outside of mankind for Good or Bad, Right or Wrong, Moral or Immoral, we leave it up to a democratic consensus. Whatever the majority deems appropriate, or whatever a legislative body can pass into law becomes good, right, moral. Because it must be admitted, a legislative body passing a law by definition it is making a moral judgement, it is saying this is good, this is right. Meaning this is a moral exclamation.

But creating moral judgements solely on the basis of what comes from the heart of man is fraught with peril. This is plainly seen throughout the annals of history. Not just ancient history, but remember 1930s and 19402 Western European history, namely Germany and its occupied territories. Or how about Apartheid South Africa. You can name your own injustice.

So if the citizens of the United States believe that its legislative bodies can continue to pass laws with impunity that flaunt God’s own moral laws then they have much more than another thing coming. As tedious as it sound, it does bear repeating that you ignore history to your own peril. This goes for nations too. In a Democratic Republic such as the United States of America the citizenry has the ability to influence the passage of any law they want, fair or profane. This is their privilege. But with privilege comes responsibility. And with responsibility comes reward or judgement depending on how well the privilege is executed. As things are going in America today, and the cultural issues making headlines, I fear that things are on a steep decline. I’ve thought for some time that if my grandparents had not died in the 1960s and 70s they’d be shocked at what is openly flaunted today, the public relaxation of moral standards, gross vulgarity, profanity, nudity, overt sexuality and homosexuality, violence, all on broadcast TV, all becoming the new normal, (check out a new NBC SITCOM to be broadcast this Fall with exactly that title promoting the new morality). There are some great and beneficial cultural events in this country, certainly. But the pressure to legalize what has been traditionally been profane is increasing in many circles including not so subtly in the 2012 Olympics, as well as a President Obama changing his mind, now advocating same-sex marriage in order to garner that segment of voters in this Fall’s election.

The verses in Jeremiah above are particularly relevant today. God indeed can do the same thing to any nation or culture that He did with an unrepentant Israel, hurl it out of the land. We may not see His hidden hand, we may only see the withering scorching heat, the massive tidal forces, the ground shaking and cracking, the mountains trembling, the rivers swelling, washing away towns, cities and communities. We can turn blind eyes. That’s what they did millennial ago, to their peril. Is every natural calamity a message from God? No one has any way to know. The only thing we do know is that He is in control of everything and He wants to get our attention.

God can so easily judge this nation of ours. On the other hand, the verses above indicate that the opportunity to change course and repent of the great evil and listen to Him is always present. His voice is not difficult to hear. Do you think this nation has ears to hear? Sadly I fear for the answer to this question.

[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]

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