History is nothing but an endless cycle of repetition. Men and nations basically follow the same cycle of life. Generally, all begin with glory and success but end up in chaos and destruction. They all start calm and as innocent filled with hope and promise, but end up being ruthless, destructive filled with iniquity and injustice. If there is anything that man has learned from history, it is that man never learns anything from it. There is nothing new on the planet, what you see today has already been.
Today, 357 million people are living in two dying nations caught in this cycle of doom. These two nations started gloriously at the beginning holding to the truth of God both privately and publicly. God was the center of every activity, even their anthems recognized God, churches were the hub of every community. The governments, organizations, and schools operated based on the revealed standards of the scripture. That was the time of the beginning of Canada and America, but not anymore.
As time goes, they started drifting away from the divine authority of God. They removed God from every possible activity of life. They scratched God from their anthems, removed from the schools, from workplaces, communities, and public places. Divine standards were replaced by human opinions and ungodly principles and philosophies. Now we face the inevitable judgment of God upon our degraded condition. We are on an accelerated journey towards the end of the cycle. The evidence from the history guarantee that we are heading for the destruction unless we break the cycle. Why is this cycle of doom inevitable, and what can be done to change it?
Answers to these questions come from the book of Isaiah chapter 5. It is a billboard of deadly sins that destroyed two kingdoms of a chosen nation. We can go back to history, and find out from the Scripture the accuracy of those events. These things were written so that we can learn from them.
The doom of the nation of Israel
Isaiah ch.5 is a funeral song about an investment made in a vineyard that was intended to produce good grapes and produced only worthless, sour, wild berries. Then the sweeping, devastating judgment was pronounced and executed upon that vineyard.
The vineyard in this song refers to the nation of Israel. God bought them out of Egypt, planted in Canaan -the land of milk and honey, protected, cared for, and nurtured. God separated them from the rest of the world and made them a distinct nation. They were provided with everything to be productive. God expected Israel to produce justice and righteousness, instead, they produced bloodshed and distress. For more than two hundred years, the northern tribes of Israel were ruled by a succession of nineteen wicked, idolatrous kings. God has given ample warning and exhortation to repent, but they would not head. And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God.
Because of this terrible failure the prophet has pronounced the impending judgment upon the nation (v5, 6). The judgment came on the northern kingdom from the fierce forces of Assyrian armies who destroyed (732 B.C) and took them as captives who never returned (Hosea 1:6). Following Israel’s final deportation, the Bible states, “There was none left but the tribe of Judah alone” (2 Kings 17,18), and their national identity was completely erased. Later, Habakkuk’s prophecy was fulfilled and the southern kingdom was destroyed by the hands of Chaldeans (597 BC), and they were all taken into 70 years of captivity in Babylon.
Six impeccable signs that we are heading for ruin
Six things were characteristic of the Nation of Israel. They are identified in the text as ‘Woe’. These are the divine pronunciation of doom that is connected to a specific iniquity. These signs which were true about them certainly characteristic of our day and our time.
The sin of greedy materialism (v7)
There is insatiable greed among people who accumulate their property, accumulate their houses and wealth. Some covet others’ property even to the degree of murder. We even have preachers and pastors teaching people that ‘Jesus wants us to be rich’. Some churches prostitute for gain and fame. Many ‘Christians’ worship their own golden calf. Both nations, Canada and America, engulfed in wholesale materialism. God has never asked to stockpile the wealth in this world. Accumulated wealth or the pursuit of wealth that presses God to the margins of our daily lives is a sin that brings the judgment of God.
The sin of drunken pleasure (v11, 12)
Many people in North America are consumed by drunken entertainment as Israel did in the text. Wild parties, night clubs, bars, strip clubs, drinking and drugs, a Hangover-style night almost anywhere. They engage in shameful dissipation, acting without guilt, and with no regard for God and no fear of judgment. They think that they have everything yet falling to realize they are dancing on the brim of the dark hell. Death has enlarged its throat and ready to swallow them (v14).
The sin of the direct mockery of God (V18, 19)
They not only engage themselves in wickedness but also mock God saying, “If God doesn’t like it, let Him do something about it so that we can see” (v19). We see the open flagrant, defiant, and cursing God in our society today. Throughout the years, a lot of people have shaken their fist at God, but it is a very foolish thing to do. God is not mocked, and the defiant of God will drink from the cup of His indignation.
The sin of moral perversion (v20)
What is happening in this part of the world is unimaginable. Even though we have the Word of the living God these two countries have completely twisted it as Israel did. They call evil good and good evil, substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. Nations’ leaders and court systems have inverted and perverted all moral standards. They exalt adultery, promote fornication, protect and encourage the homosexual lifestyle, lust, and mock faithfulness and purity and integrity, they exalt divorce and mock marriage. They call biblical teaching ‘hate speech’. What we have in society today is a perverted morality, a deadly sin that brings the condemnation of God.
The sin of arrogant pride and self-sufficiency (v21)
Arrogant pride and self-sufficiency are particularly related to the denial of the authority and majesty of God in all spheres. We have replaced God’s uniqueness with trust in human ingenuity. The nation’s pride is exhibited in three things: its wealth, military might, and idolatry. These things have drawn the people away from a humble reliance on God. Rejection of God’s Word, subversion of moral standards leads to establishing oneself as the sole authority. Everyone has a right to call his own life, to determine what he will or will not do, and nobody has a right to lay on him any retribution for that chosen behavior. That was Israel, and that is Canada and America today.
The sin of corrupt leadership (v22)
Hosea said, “Like people, like priests”. When the leadership is corrupt that seals the fate of the people. There is no small amount of bribes, drugs, and sex allegations against our heros, our famous leaders. There is no lack of punishing the innocent and letting the guilty go. The rulers, judges, and Law enforcement officers of these nations are corrupt. We can’t trust leaders; we can’t lift our leaders as examples. They have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One (v24).
How can we escape from this peril?
There is a striking parallel between what has happened to Israel, and conditions in Canada and the USA today. We live in a society much like Israel: pluralistic pagan worship, suppression of the one true faith, violence and racism, killing babies, immorality, homosexuality, occult worship, astrology, and unbelief. People have turned their back on God’s truth. When that happens in a nation, judgment will fall. Unless there is widespread repentance, we are headed for disaster. God does not pay at the end of each day, but in the end — He pays!
What about the true believers who stand in a right relationship with God? What about those who have accepted God’s view of righteousness and sin, and have embraced His way of redemption? We still have people who believe in the natural depravity of the human heart, moral absolutes of right and wrong, and salvation through faith in Christ alone. When God revealed to Habakkuk the extent of His judgment upon sin, the severity of the judgment overwhelmed the prophet. God’s response to Habakkuk’s concerns was summarized in Habakkuk 2:4, “the just shall live by his faith”. They are justified by faith and have peace with God during times of calamity. When God pronounces judgment upon the wicked, He also promises life to those who put trust in his divine truths. They were brought into a right and saving relationship with God by their personal faith.
The escape from God’s judgment is not for those who become more religious. It is not for those who try harder to be good. It is not for those who live morally, those who turn away from certain evil behavior. It is for people who turn away from those wicked things and abandon all of their self-efforts to earn their way and put complete trust in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. So, choice is yours; repent and live, or refuse and die!