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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 6/1/1998

How God Deals with Nations

 Throughout history, there have been many people who loved and obeyed God. Sometimes we remember these people by their individual names. Sometimes, however, we remember them because they were a part of an entire city that respected God, or because they were a part of a whole nation that honored their Creator.

For example, we recognize names like Abraham and Paul. And, we recognize cities like Nineveh. The citizens of Nineveh sinned against God. But when He sent a preacher (Jonah) to tell them to do better, they repented. Today, we remember the Ninevites for doing what was right for their city. We also recognize certain nations as obeying and loving God. At times, the Jewish nation was like the Ninevites because of its disobedience toward God. Yet at times, the nation also respected and obeyed God.

The Bible can teach us a lot about how God deals with nations. First, God is the ruler of every nation on Earth. The psalmist said: "For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28). No matter how powerful a nation is, God is in control. In the New Testament, Paul said that "…there is no authority, except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God" (Romans 13:1). Leaders of nations must remember that because God has given them their authority, they should obey Him.

Second, sometimes nations disobey God. The writer of Proverbs spoke about people who left "…the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness" (2:13). Individuals can do that, but so can entire nations. The psalmist wrote that "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17). Unfortunately, at times whole nations have abandoned God.

Third, God blesses nations that obey Him. The writer of Proverbs said: "Righteousness exalts a nation. But sin is a reproach to any people" (14:34). When nations do as God has commanded, there is less sin. And anytime there is less sin, people are happier.

Sadly, there are many in our nation today who do not believe in God, or who believe in Him but refuse to obey Him. More than a hundred years ago, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in which he said that Americans seem to have "forgotten God." How much more that must be true today! Crime is increasing, drug use is on the rise, and abortion is legal. Will God bless our nation if these things continue?

There are things each of us can do to make our nation a better place to live. We should set a good example for people. We must not do things like lie, steal, use bad language, cheat others, or use drugs. Instead, we must be the best citizens possible. We should obey God, but we also should obey parents, teachers, employers, and others like them. We should take a stand for honesty and morality. Our influence can help others do the same. Think what a wonderful place America would be if everyone lived like God wanted them to live. Make up your mind today that you will be the best citizen of God’s spiritual nation that you can, and that you will be the best citizen of your earthly nation as well. You can make a difference!



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