RULE #3: WICKED NATIONS WILL BE TEMPORALLY JUDGED.
II Corinthians 5:10 teaches that individuals should expect ultimate judgment to be meted out by God on the Day of Judgment, but what about nations? Nations should expect God to judge them during their existence on Earth! Listen to what God said to Abraham - "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions" (Gen. 15:13,14). God promised that He would judge the nation of Egypt! Did He? Listen to Numbers 33:4 - "For the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the LORD had killed among them. Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments."
I suspect that you are familiar with the suffering Egypt endured at God's hand. God judged them through the ten plagues that were recorded in Exodus 7-12. God punished the nation by turning their water into blood and afflicting them with boils. He punished them by sending plagues of frogs, lice, flies, and locusts. He destroyed their livestock with pestilence and their crops with hail. He sent three days of darkness upon their land and killed the firstborn in every Egyptian family. God judged the nation of Egypt harshly!
Although God didn't send the ten plagues upon other nations, the fact cannot be denied that God has judged many other nations throughout the history of man (e.g., Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and others). If the god of a particular country is not the LORD, that nation should expect temporal judgment from Him. This truth ties in well with...
RULE #4: GOD OFTEN USES ONE NATION TO JUDGE ANOTHER.
When Israel was repeatedly sinning against God, He prophesied that He would use the Assyrian nation to punish Israel. Assyria would be used as God's rod of anger and staff of indignation (Isa. 10:5).
In the very next verse, God threatened Israel with captivity - "I will send him [i.e., Assyria] against an ungodly nation. And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets." Without a doubt, Assyria was an ungodly, wicked nation. They were aggressively expanding and gobbling up weaker nations. They were not even aware of the fact that God was using them to do His will; they just wanted to destroy as many other nations as they could!
Perhaps you are wondering: How could God righteously use a wicked nation to punish His own sinful people? God gives the answer in Isaiah 10:12 - "Therefore it shall come to pass, when the LORD has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, 'I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.'" God used Assyria to punish the nation of Israel in 722 B.C. and then He used the nation of Babylon to punish Assyria in 612 B.C.! God can and does use people and nations, without their realizing such, to judge and punish others over whom He rules!
Think about this. Although we can't prove it Biblically, is it not at least possible that God used people like Hitler and Tojo and nations like Germany and Japan to punish other nations? Is it not possible that God used the nations of England and America to judge and punish them? Is it possible that God used the actions of wicked men to punish America on September 11, 2001? Is it possible that He has more punishment in store for the USA--through the means of wicked nations, terrorists, natural disasters, etc.?
We're fools to think that nothing can happen to a great nation like America! If God wills something to happen, it will happen! It doesn't matter how much security or protection we have; it doesn't matter how awesome our military is; it doesn't matter how smart we are. God uses nations to punish wicked nations, and I don't think that anyone can deny that the USA has become ungodly and deserving of punishment in many ways. Some may think that Homeland Security is great, but we'd be much better off if our nation simply lived righteously for God and remembered Him! Such is true for any nation on God's great planet Earth.
We will continue this series of lessons tomorrow.