The Removal of His Presence and His Hand of Blessing
At the dedication of the temple, Solomon began his prayer for God’s mercy by saying, “…may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive (II Chronicles 6:21). Solomon anticipated that he and the nation would sin. He understood that sin, whether personal or national, would break fellowship with God, separating them from His power and blessing. No doubt he had heard the story of God removing His presence and blessing from King Saul after his sin, and of Samson experiencing God’s judgment due to his sin. Even the entire nation of Israel, after the big victory at Jericho, suffered defeat at the hand of the small city Ai because of sin in their midst.
Today, many people reject the idea of God’s sovereign authority to judge individuals or nations; yet, they cherish the idea of His blessing. Most would agree that God’s hand of blessing was on America until more recent years, but they hesitate to identify any calamity as God’s judgment. Unfortunately, even many pastors are reluctant to declare that God’s hand of judgment is on America. Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day for not understanding the ‘signs of the time’ (Luke 12:56). Is He not equally disturbed when we shut our eyes to His obvious withdrawal of blessings and protection over our country?
God desires to bless the nation that fears Him –“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12)! To those who trust in Him, He has promised to be a ‘refuge and strength’ and never to forsake them. He certainly was the strength of our nation, and His presence with us was felt even by our enemies. But, when a nation turns its back on Him and walks in its own strength, He withdraws His presence, removes His hand of blessing and judges it. Friends, do we honestly believe that God is blessing America today? Would He be just if He did? After 9/11, do we honestly believe that the hedge of protection around this nation remains intact? The removal of God’s blessing and His presence is scary – and it is only the first indication that God’s judgment is on us. The next six marks are even more obvious.
This is the second in an eight part series, “Can We Know if God’s Judgment is on America? – The Background to Understanding God’s Promise in II Chronicles 7:14”.