Yesterday I viewed a NASA-made video about the current drought California is experiencing. As soon as the video started, my mind went to Elijah’s words to King Ahab in 1Kings 17:1, “…there shall be no rain in this land except by my word!” This was God’s merciful way of bringing the northern kingdom of Israel to repentance for their many and deep sins. This drought stretched out for 3.5 years – how was that merciful? Well…just think of what God could have done. The sins of Israel were so deep and so bad and so evil that, in all fairness to the nations God had already judged for such things, He should have wiped them out by burning them to cinders. Instead, He chose to send a drought and give them another chance to change their ways.
The parallels are obvious. America has turned away from God in wholesale fashion. We have run after idolatries and sins with enthusiasm. We even are seeing the evangelical churches – formally standing firm against sin and for the integrity of the scriptures – jumping on the bandwagon, copying the secular world, winking their eyes at deep and obvious sin. We deserve deep judgment. California has led the charge in this extensive compromise of the American relationship with God. Certain Californian cities in particular are, I believe, in deep danger of receiving the same kind of judgment that sinful places like Sodom received. They deserve it – we deserve it – yet God has held back His hand until now. His hand is still merciful in sending only a drought. Much worse could and should be happening.
I believe this is so because God is listening to our prayers for mercy, asking Him to stay His hand. In Amos Chapter 7 we read how twice God told Amos about His plans to bring devastating disaster to the northern kingdom. Both times Amos interceded, asking God for mercy and both times God relented in response to Amos’ prayer. This is how God operates. He allows us to participate in what He is doing. He also listens to us when we ask for mercy. The prophets of the church today have consistently been pronouncing deep and devastating judgments for America and especially for California. That judgment will happen. God will bring an end to our sin through judgment, but mercy always trumps judgment. That’s just how He is.
This drought will bring hardship, but oh, how much more hardship will be avoided if California and America should choose to repent and turn away from sin. I believe God intends this drought to last until repentance happens. More is in store for California if it doesn’t. And…the rest of us Americans should look to ourselves and our own repentance, for this is only the beginning. God is not pleased with our nation.