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Grace Notes Sermon Ministry:
When Does God Finally Judge a Nation?
WWII Memorial Ceremony yesterday…bittersweet since only 1 in 4 are still alive, w/ over 1k dying every day. The focus of the ceremony turned from remembering those comrades to challenging younger generations to build an America to be remembered in the future!
Usually on Memorial Day weekend, we come together to remember the price paid in the past…but today, if you listen carefully, you will hear the voices of those who gave their lives for our freedom saying something like this: “thanks for thinking of me, but think of your children…don’t look back at the past today, but focus on the present challenges, and get a vision for the future, so that there might be one…make your life in America be a Memorial, not a memory faded!” It’s the best way we can honor those who came before us!
In our text, the prophet Micah is concerned about something. He wants the nation Israel to know that the God they serve is not only a God of love and mercy and grace, but also a God of judgment…and though He would rather bless and demonstrate love, and extend grace and mercy, there does indeed come a time when because of sin and rebellion, God’s patience is finally exhausted.
When God continually tries to love and it is rejected/bless/be merciful/be gracious…eventually God will give a person/nation what they demand!
So, the subject of ch. 3 is judgment. Micah desperately wants the people to understand that because they serve a God Who is Holy/Righteous/Just…they must remember that the God Who loves sinners, still hates sin. And sin must always be judged.
(Wages of sin, death/soul that sinneth…/be sure your sin will find you out)
One thing for sure: Everyone here is headed for a day of judgment/reckoning.
Praise God, if you’re saved, you will never be judged for your sins…they were judged 2,000 years ago on Calvary’s cross! But that does not mean we can live a careless/haphazard Christian life. The same Bible which teaches that we will not be judged for our sins, also tells us that we will indeed be judged for how faithful we have been… “we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ” (I Cor. 3, among other places.)
If not saved, judgment in hell awaits…accept the payment made for your sins by Christ!
All individuals will one day be judged, and there is such a thing as the judgment of a nation! Just read the stories of the OT/Sodom and Gomorrah (a lot of similarities between Sodom and America…certainly our level of sin and iniquity is at least equal, if not in excess!)/Israel, how they were judged as a nation over and over again/their enemies, who many times God judged BY Israel…telling Israel to wipe them out for their pagan idolatry.
Micah 3 is a warning from the man of God. He reminds the nation Israel that the God Who sits patiently on His throne of grace…on the mercy seat there in Heaven, is sometimes forced by a nation to rise up off of that throne, and trample an entire nation under His feet, saying, I cannot tolerate the sin and rebellion and wickedness any longer.
v. 12 “plowed as a field” = a metaphor for judgment
Study the history of nations and you’ll find that all nations that have ever existed had 3 things in common:
1. No matter how pure it’s inception, it eventually went corrupt
(sin cursed earth…things get worse, not better)
2. The vast majority of the members of the civilizations were either ignorant of that corruption, or indifferent to it.
3. The cause of corruption is always the same.
Grecian Empire/Roman/Babylonian…the cause of corruption is always the same…sin.
No nation was as pure in it’s inception as the nation Israel…started by God Himself in Gen. 12, when He called Abraham. And yet even Israel went corrupt, and the vast majority of the people were ignorant or indifferent concerning that corruption. For this reason the prophets of judgment came along, like Micah, calling the people to repentance, and making the people aware that the God Who would rather bless, will blast if needed.
I doubt I need to convince you that America is becoming more and more corrupt/collapsing morally as our moral fabric is ripping at the seams.
Don’t get me wrong, I love America, and I still believe it’s the greatest place to live on earth. I’m optimistic about our possibilities for the future, but I think we should be realistic…And part of loving America is wanting to save it from a corruption that most people are seemingly ignorant of…or at least indifferent to!
So, when does God finally judge a nation? What does He look for? Who does God blame?
The prophet points at 3 groups of people saying “it’s your fault/your fault/your fault!
v. 1 ref. to gov’t. leaders. Heads of Jacob=senators and rep’s.
Princes of house of Israel=president and cabinet
v. 2-3 “pluck off their skin”, etc. (fleecing/flaying/skinning/cutting to pieces/feeding off of them/milking them/manipulating them/using them for your own selfish purposes!) Sound familiar to you? Sobering!
If Micah was speaking to Washington today, I think he would say something like this:
“You accept cruises/vacations/payoffs from lobbyists in order to support legislative bills which do not benefit your constituency…you write hot checks from your own private banks, and then expect tax dollars to bail you out…you care more about the spotted owl than the unborn baby (ye are of more value than many spotted owls)…you care more about the vanishing rain forest than our retirement!…you punish people who work hard by taxing them more, and you reward people who won’t work by giving them more handouts…you support legislation expelling God from school, while requiring taxpayer subsidies to promote homosexual programs which most of your constituency back home don’t agree with!”
He’s not just talking about political corruption. He’s also talking about moral corruption. If you are ignorant of the Bible, don’t show it by making a statement like, “a man’s private life is his own business, it has nothing to do w/ how they do their job”.
“People vote Dow Jones, not Paula Jones” [if there had been a dow jones in Sodom, it would have been up that day!]
Let’s look at 6 requirements God gives for government leaders:
(from president all the way down to city council, or deacon board!)
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
Why is it that today we just look for skills and credentials, and not look to morality? (inconsequential)
Acc’d to God’s Word, which is more imp’t…skill or morality?
To say that morality doesn’t matter is to say that God doesn’t matter!
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.  The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.  Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.  By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.  By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
Acc’d to God’s Word, does a leader need to be skilled or wise? God places a much higher premium on wisdom.
In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.  How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Wisdom is better than a strong economy! (gold…yet many vote their pocket book come election time!)
For this reason, an effective leader doesn’t take polls!/wet finger and lifting to political wind, catering to whatever the people want, whether right or wrong…that’s not a leader!
Harry Truman—“I wonder how far Moses would have gone if he’d taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if He’d taken a poll in Israel? Where would the Reformation have gone if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isn’t the poll or public opinion of the moment that counts…it is right or wrong leadership, it is men w/ fortitude, honesty, and belief in the right that make epics in the history of the world.”
3. Absolute Honesty
(quiet, isn’t it…because we’re ashamed of the reputation of D.C.)
Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
Leaders and liars are not the same thing!
A man isn’t a liar because he tells lies, he tells lies because he is a liar…it is a character flaw that goes all the way to the core.
“I’m gonna be honest w/ you” No, you either ARE honest or not!
Man is never as much like Satan as when he lies! For he is the father of lies…and man is never more like Christ than when he is truthful, for Jesus is the way, the TRUTH and the life!
4. Wise people surround
Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Don’t let wicked people influence the leader/president/pastor
Wicked lobbyists/activists put pressure on our leaders.
Precisely why we can’t cater to the immature at church…it’s the immature and sinful who will demand their own way, and put the Pastor under pressure to do something…and many pastor’s give in to the squeaky wheel, giving it the oil!
No! A leader must focus on what is right, not what is convenient!
Ill.—Barna says Christians are least likely to sign a petition, demonstrate publicly, and not most likely to vote!
We need to surround our leaders w/ positive support!
On a national level, it’s sad…because the perverts are out of the closet and in the cabinets and in the congress! The leader needs to be surrounded by wise people (in multitude of counsellors there is safety, with good advice make war)
5. Be a person of impeccable sexual morality
The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.  What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
Why is that imp’t to God? Why does He require more of leaders in the area of sex? Possibly it’s because God is smarter than us. He knows that if a man will not keep his promises to his wife…his most sacred promise of faithfulness, that he cannot be trusted to keep any other promise. Honesty begins at home…if it doesn’t begin at home, it usually doesn’t begin at all.
If a man will not honor his marriage vows, what’s he gonna do w/ those “piddly little vows” of public trust?
6. Protect the weak and the defenseless
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
A leader is to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and defend those who cannot defend themselves.
This war on terror is the right thing to do, that we might not have to fear the person in the overcoat standing next to us might blow up…we can’t defend ourselves against that, and the innocent nations of the world need someone to defend them!
car bomb/nuclear briefcase/water supply! It’s coming to America next!
The President should stand tall on behalf of the unborn.
“but it’s legal! He’s supposed to uphold the law!”
Being legally right doesn’t make something morally right!
Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
Ironic, isn’t it?
When Micah warns the people that God is about to judge, he points first at the Corrupt Politicians, and says, it’s your fault.
Then he turns to the Compromising Preachers:
“peace”? Should they be preaching that, when judgment is coming? “everything is fine!” they cry.
“putteth not into their mouths”=preach to the offering plates!
This nation needs a revival of old-fashioned, conviction-based, Bible preaching!
Finally, he points to the Complacent People:
v. 11 All 3 groups are in this verse
The people of Israel said, we know the politicians are corrupt, we know the preachers are compromisers, but it’s ok, because we’re ok, the economy is strong, we’re happy, it’s ok! Is not the Lord among us? No evil can touch us!
The greatest sin in America today? It’s not illegal drugs, though I’m against that/not alcohol/not abortion/not rampant immorality…the greatest sin in America today is the complacency with which God’s people are watching America go to hell!
We didn’t care that 4,000 babies died during our work day, at least we had a place to work!
And some Christians don’t even vote. And some who do vote, vote their pocket book, instead of morality. Some people bow down to a political party and worship it, because they always have, or cuz daddy did!
[some would vote for the devil if he was a democrat, or the antichrist if he were republican…we need to vote The Bible, Morality!]
Is not the Lord among us? Our nation has a Christian heritage! We have Godly roots!
So did Israel! And so did many other nations which God has judged, or wiped out completely.
The most patriotic thing we can do: repent of our complacency, take action, seek revival, join and support a Bible preaching church in any way possible, win souls!
Pray for America/corrupt politicians/complacency/if my people…/hope for America is not in the white house/state house/court house/but in God’s house, and your house, and my house!
All Sermons and Slideshow Presentations Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries unless otherwise credited.