By Pastor James Brown Jr.
“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.” –Deuteronomy 28:15-24
In Deuteronomy 28 God explains His blessings and cursings upon covenant-keeping and covenant-breaking nations and peoples. It is a promise of prosperity to those nations who reverence and obey Him and damnation to those who rebel.
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” –Deuteronomy 28:1
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:” –Deuteronomy 28:15
These promises do not apply to any nation, but only to those nations who are in covenant with God. This explains the radical differences between the consequences of England’s rejection of the biblical God and China’s affirmation of other gods. One is under covenant and the other is not. Therefore, the consequences of their sins are radically different.
While all nations suffer the effects of sin—because the wages of sin is death—there is more severity upon those nations who profess faith in the God of the Bible—think United States—than those who have never pledged themselves unto the God of the Bible—think Japan.
“And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” –Luke 12:47-48
The biblical principle is not just culpability, but also degrees of responsibilities and consequences. The more knowledge and ability you possess the greater level of accountability.
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” –Luke 12:48
America began under the charter of 1620 that covenants this land and people to God. The Mayflower Compact makes a covenant with God and man to use American soil for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith:
“In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
“Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November, in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.”
This covenant has been continually reaffirmed in the colony charters and constitutions throughout successive generations. Failure to reaffirm the original does not make it void, but the continual reaffirmations declare the level of knowledge and accountability upon us as a nation.
For instance, Article XXXVIII in the 1776 South Carolina Constitution declares:
“That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves In a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall, (on complying with the terms hereinafter mentioned,) be, and be constituted a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the State, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement fir union of men upon presence of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:
“1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.
“2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.
“3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion
“4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice.
“5th. That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.”
In all of the constitutions among the original colonies, there is some level of affirmation of our Christian covenant to God and His Word. So, if you have ever wondered why a confessional Reformed Christian can find Christ as His only comfort in life and death, but still possess a deep heaviness in His heart, the answer is because of the depression of the damned.
That’s right Christian, we are damned. Not in the eternal sense, but in the temporal sense of judgment upon nations that forget God. It is true that our lives find peace in the joy of the Lord, but this does not erase our burden for our people and nation. It is in fact possible and right at particular times to mourn while possessing hope in Christ.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” –1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Deuteronomy 28 tells us that if a nation in covenant with God rebels against His law they will be damned in the city, in the field, in their harvest, in their offspring, in their wealth, and in all manner of their lives.
Damnation has the tendency to produce depression and rightly so. As we continue down the path to destruction we understand we will reap what we have sown as a nation. All of us together, the just and the unjust will suffer the consequences. Contrary to some of our crackpots, God’s judgment on America is not a cause for rejoicing. Why would you rejoice over the destruction of your children and grand-children?
This depression is not just cultural and economic depression, but also personal depression. Moses declared, “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do.” The word מהומה, translated “confusion” in the English Standard Version, means disquietude, which is an uneasiness or anxiety of the mind.
Contrary to the happy-clappy Evangelicals, we American Christians have reason for our depressed state. Obviously, Moses would not have been inspired to write these words from the Lord if there was no reality in them. Even in the New Testament we are told there are times for mourning in the life of the Christian.
“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” –James 4:9
This does not mean we lack faith, hope, and love in God, but we are to be humbled when God is judging us. Isn’t this what we see in the life of Jeremiah and read in his book of Lamentations? There is a reason it is called Lamentations—Jeremiah is lamenting God’s judgment upon his nation. This nation consisted of his people, his kindred, his friends, i.e., the people he loved.
Should we not feel the same and mourn for the destruction of our nation? I am so sick and tired of hearing how we should be rejoicing in the reality of our judgment. I am sick of hearing about professing Christians leaving churches because they are looking for a fun atmosphere.
Do you not realize our situation or do you just not care?
Over the years I have learned that those who possess this attitude have no concern for the sin of our nation because they do not care about their own sin. They are not depressed about God’s judgement upon us because they are obsessed with their own pleasure.
So, if you are experiencing some depression as you read the writing on the wall, it is a natural thing among those who bow to God’s sovereignty and affirm man’s responsibility. Pay no attention to those who proclaim the gospel of fun for they are just damned fools.
The Lord declares in Isaiah 28:19 that as God’s judgment passes through and takes hold that it will be sheer terror to those who understand. Yes, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
“From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.” –Isaiah 28:19
Our only hope is that God would send forth His Word by the power of His Spirit to revive our land. And this is the hope and joy we possess in our depressed state.
We do not mourn like those outside of Christ whose depression of mind leads to debilitating nihilism and joylessness. Still yet, we do mourn, we are distressed, and we do have to bear our burdens with faith, hope, and love.
Jeremiah was faced with much grief, despair, and travail because of the destruction of his people. Yet, in the midst of his tears and mourning for his people, it was through Jeremiah that the Lord declared the following words unto the children of Judah.
“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” –Jeremiah 17:5-7
The depressed state of mind is a real consequence of our sins and it is unhelpful to pretend that it is not. It only creates a false reality and a false joy when we stick our heads in the sand. No amount of American piety can save us because the honest truth is, nothing can save us.
Jeremiah proclaimed, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD” (Jeremiah 17:5).
We are cursed and there is no man who can save us—no President; no Supreme Court Justice; not even the Marine Corps can save us. This is why Jeremiah concluded by proclaiming, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”
Without God there is no hope for America. He is our only hope. This includes you, your children, and your grand-children.