Now let me share something that may not paint so rosy a picture. I share this only because I have a bad feeling that all this will blind us to what is really going on—and was the whole reason for Bin Laden’s rise to prominence as an adversary of the United States. Many, in light of the recent events of Osama Bin Laden’s death, have viewed this as a tremendous victory for the United States. I even heard one commentator call this a sign that the United States is not on the decline. If that is how the majority of people in our nation see this, as a sign that we are now on the rise, they really don’t get why Bin Laden ever came on the scene in the first place. To help you understand where I am coming from I will take you to a section of Scripture that will help illumine us to God’s purposes in all this.
In First Kings chapter 11 we read of how Solomon’s heart turned from the Lord. Solomon married many foreign women who in turn led his heart from following the Lord. He began worshipping other gods because of the influence of these women (something God warned of in the book of Deuteronomy). As a result of Solomon’s sin—we read the following in verse14.
“Then the LORD raised up an adversary to Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal line in Edom.”
It is wise for us to see that due to the sin of God’s people—GOD raised up this adversary. It was in fulfillment of God’s promise to discipline His people if they turned away from Him. Before we leave this chapter of Scripture it would behoove us to also look at verses 23-25 as well,
“God also raised up another adversary to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. He gathered men to himself and became leader of a marauding band, after David slew them of Zobah; and they went to Damascus and stayed there, and reigned in Damascus. So he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, along with the evil that Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel and reigned over Aram.”
Solomon and Israel had a problem on their hands. It seems that two people, Hadad and Rezon, were causing serious problems for Israel. When I read of Rezon’s actions, I see an eerie parallel to what we are experiencing today. Rezon had a “marauding band” of men who did evil in Israel similar to the evil that Hadad was doing. One might even see them as an ancient counterpart to the terrorists that are causing so much trouble today. Yet the part of this passage that causes me the most discomfort is the statement that God was the One Who raised up these two, might we go as far to say, terrorists. His reasons for doing so were that Solomon and Israel had turned from Him and turned to other Gods. They had turned to Ashtoreth and her sexually immoral worship. They had turned to Baal and the sexual immorality that attended his rituals. They had turned to Molech who required his followers to offer up their infant children as part of their worship. Because of these things God began to discipline Solomon and Israel. They did not listen – but continued in their ways – and the result was Israel’s demise.
If, during that time, either Hadad or Rezon had been caught and killed, Israel would have rejoiced. They may have even broken into spontaneous choruses of “God bless Israel” on their streets and in the subways. Yet in spite of their adversary being brought to justice, they would have missed the whole point of God’s purpose in raising up such an adversary in the first place. God did not raise up these men to help Israel become more patriotic – he raised them up to wake up Israel and bring her to repentance. He wanted Israel to notice that they were no longer protected by God. This was because Israel had lost favor with God – DUE TO HER SIN. If these “terrorists” were killed – God would only raise up new ones because His purpose in all this was to bring Israel to repentance. No repentance and return to God – no end to the adversaries that would be raised up to get her attention. Now, let me take what has been said to this point and apply it to our current situation.
What I am about to say will upset many. Let me state here that I am a patriot – and that I bleed red, white, and blue. But we need to face facts today – biblical facts. Our greatest enemy is not – nor has it ever been Osama Bin Laden. What is destroying the United States is not a terrorist or any group of terrorists. What is destroying our nation is the sin which we have embraced. We have turned from the Lord and turned to our own set of false gods. We have worshipped materialism, power, money, and sex in America. Since we have called ourselves a “Christian nation” (which I believe is accurate due to how our forefathers founded this country), we need to realize that all Bin Laden was to us was a manifestation of God’s discipline and call for us to repent and return to Him. Yes, Bin Laden is dead – but God can raise up a thousand more just like him to continue our discipline. The truth is that there are already thousands of other Radical Islamic terrorists who want nothing more than to destroy our nation and our way of life. But our problem is not Radical Islam either. It is our sin – it is our immorality – it is the murder of the innocents that we call abortion on demand – it is our embrace of homosexuality – it is the lack of God’s power, prayer, and passion for the gospel in His church.
I am going to be bold enough to say that God did not allow Osama Bin Laden’s discovery and subsequent destruction so that we could sing patriotic songs and think that we’re back on the rise as a nation. My guess is that this will become clear in the next 6-12 months. During that time I fear that terrorism will rise and new attacks will happen on American soil. I fear that our financial system will continue to deteriorate if not collapse altogether. I fear that things like famine and plague may strike our nation in ways that we’ve never seen before. If we think that this has happened so that we can rejoice and celebrate without repentance and brokenness, without tearful confession of sin, without calls to prayer for revival in the church and awakening among the lost, we are doomed. This has happened to show brief mercy in the midst of God’s discipline. That discipline will continue if God’s desired purpose of repentance and return are not embraced in the church and in our nation.
I will end this article by asking a question. With this event have we seen repentance among God’s people today? With this event have we experienced a greater conviction that our nation is on the wrong track morally and spiritually? With this event have we watched a turn from worshipping the gods of our culture, sexual immorality, homosexuality, and abortion to name a few, and a turn instead to the God of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as His message to the whole world? If we are not watching these things happen, I would strongly suggest that what we will watch is God, raising up an even more formidable adversary to continue His discipline until we do repent?
May God bless America . . . with a repentant, broken, praying church who has returned to Him with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.