Much of prophecy focuses on God’s anger with people’s sins. Those He has blessed receive a stricter judgment. What has America done to deserve God’s anger?
Please note that we love the United States. We pray for her and wish her only the best. When we think of America’s sins, we are deeply saddened.
So why are we writing about America’s sins and the curses prophesied to befall her? First, because we do love her and hope against hope that America, or at least many of her people, will repent and be spared.
Please also note that many of these same things could be said about other countries like Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, as well as many non-English-speaking countries.
Why is God angry?
God is love. He created human beings for an incredible purpose—to welcome us into His family as His children! He loves all human beings greatly, including Americans.
But He also says He is angry (Psalm 7:11; Isaiah 1:3-4; Revelation 6:17; and many other places). Why?
Strange as it may seem to us humans, even God’s anger is an expression of His love. His correction is designed to help us overcome the things that are detrimental to our eternal relationship with Him.
God’s way of living produces love, joy and peace. He revealed that beneficial way of living through His laws, which were given for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13). He explained that obeying these beneficial laws would produce tremendous blessings (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). But ignoring and breaking these laws would cause automatic penalties and curses (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
God knows what works and what doesn’t; and if He, like a loving parent, tells us not to run into the busy street, He has good reasons for it.
What are those good and beneficial laws? Let’s start with what Jesus Christ called the “great commandment”: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37-38).
God first loved us, and He is love and wants us to be like Him. So this commandment is designed to set us on that right path. Loving our Creator God wholeheartedly is not only reasonable, it is beneficial to us. It helps us prepare to live in joyous, productive harmony with God forever!
To love God the way He wants to be loved, we need to study what He has told us about how to worship Him. We might have our own ideas, but isn’t it logical to just see what He wants? This great commandment is actually expanded in the first four of the 10 Commandments. These commandments are eternal, living laws with automatic benefits and penalties, as sure as the law of gravity.
So let’s look at these commandments and consider how America is doing with them. We’ll see why God is grieved to see Americans (and others) break them and why He is angry with us.
First Commandment: Who do we worship?
God commands us in the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
But what gods do Americans worship? What about self? Money? Pleasure and entertainment?
Consider the apostle Paul’s warning about the destructive attitudes that will pervade the end-time age—the attitudes that will bring humanity to the brink of self-destruction: “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:2, 4-5).
Doesn’t this describe the attitudes of many Americans today? (In fact, the whole list sounds like a description of the entire Western world.)
Yes, Americans still claim to be religious, but too often that is in name only. Religion has little impact on their choices and actions. When they look for religious teachers, too often they are drawn to those who will tell them whatever they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). They look for preachers with smooth and easy messages, not those who proclaim with power the difficult, narrow path taught by the Bible—the life that demands wholehearted devotion to the true God (Matthew 7:14).
Second Commandment: America’s idols
In the Second Commandment God commands us not to make idols. But how many Americans have made idols of money, fame, a fancy car or a sexy star?
And many established religions use icons, statues and objects in their worship, ignoring this command. Besides that, a growing number of Americans seeking spiritual experiences are dabbling with or going wholeheartedly into neo-paganism. Some of the smaller but fastest-growing religious identifications in America include Wiccan, pagan and spiritualist.
And if you go shopping or watch TV during the Christmas season, you might think a fat man in a red suit is America’s chief idol! Santa Claus has come to represent the height of American consumerism during the frenzied Christmas shopping season. The apostle Paul even equated covetousness—the desire for more things—with idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
Third Commandment: Taking God’s Name in Vain
God commands in the Third Commandment: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7). Yet every day in America God’s name is lightly treated as an interjection, a filler word or a vile curse. This occurs regularly in the media and in colleges and schools and is occurring more often in the workplace and even the home around small children. Surprisingly, even 16 percent of those who called themselves evangelical Christians admit to using profanity in the previous week in a Barna survey.
Besides this blatant misuse and demeaning of God’s holy name, consider that most Americans call themselves Christian, yet many do things that bring shame to Christ’s name. For example, the same Barna survey showed that 12 percent of evangelical Christians admitted to intentionally viewing pornography in the previous week. A previous Barna study showed that people calling themselves Christians were just as likely to divorce as non-Christians.
Fourth Commandment: Remembering what?
How many Americans “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8; Fourth Commandment)? How many even know they should?
This is a major failing of religious leaders who have blindly or knowingly followed the changes made by men long after the Bible was completed. When Jesus Christ, the apostles and the New Testament Church clearly worshipped God on the seventh-day Sabbath, why have so few Christians followed their example? Why have so many ignored the fact that God is furious at those who have “profaned My Sabbaths” (Ezekiel 20:21)?
When God’s clear commands are replaced by the traditions of men, God is not pleased. When time He set aside as precious and holy is trampled on and profaned, He is angered.
Perhaps an analogy would help. If your family had a burial site that you considered sacred ground that you carefully tended and cared for, how would you feel if a neighbor moved the gravestones and put a pigsty there? Wouldn’t you be angry?
So God is angry when His sacred day of worship is trampled on and replaced with a day He did not sanction.
As we saw earlier, these first four commandments expand on the great commandment to love God. Jesus also said the second great commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). This summary can be expanded by looking at the last six of the 10 Commandments, which show us how to truly love other people in the way God knows is best.
How does the United States measure up on keeping these commandments? How do we individually measure up?
Fifth Commandment: Honoring parents
God's Fifth Commandment tells us: “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
God promises blessings even within the text of this command. Proper respect for parents leads to proper respect for authority, which is necessary for a peaceful life, family and society.
But God has harsh words for those who curse their parents and mock them instead of thanking them (Proverbs 30:11-12, 17). Disrespect ranges from tantrums to eye rolling, from ignoring to physical violence.
Adolescents are violent to their parents in 7 to 18 percent of two-parent families according to estimates, and in 29 percent of one-parent families.
And it’s not just young people who are disrespecting their parents. Elder abuse has become a terrible blotch on society, as “1 in 10 Americans age 60+ experienced abuse over one year, and many experienced it in multiple forms,” according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Sixth Commandment: Murder
Yet in 2015, 15,696 people were murdered in the United States. And, as if it weren’t enough to hear about all those real murders on the news, Americans are fascinated with murder as entertainment. Some estimate that the average American child will see 8,000 murders on television by the time he or she finishes elementary school and 40,000 by age 18!
Jesus Christ also explained that the spirit of the law against murder includes bitter anger and hateful name calling (Matthew 5:21-22). The apostle Paul taught the importance of not letting anger gain control over us—not allowing Satan to gain that foothold in our minds (Ephesians 4:26-27). Sadly, Americans fall far short on these measures as well.
Seventh Commandment: Sexual sins
God commands in the Seventh Commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
God designed marriage, sex and family as blessings (Hebrews 13:4), but Satan has inspired increasingly effective attacks on the family and the purity of the sexual bond in marriage.
Resarch reveals depressing figures about how widespread casual sex has become. Pew Research Center (quoting U.S. Census Bureau data) says the total number of Americans living together without being married reached 18 million in 2016—up 29 percent since 2007 when it was 14 million. The number of those over 50 grew by 75 percent since 2007. The National Health Statistics Reports show that of Americans in the 15-to-44 age group, 66 percent of women and 74 percent of men have had more than one sexual partner; 8.3 percent of the women had 15 partners or more, and 21.4 percent of the men claimed 15 or more partners.
And it starts young. In the 15-to-17 age group, 40 percent of the girls had had sex with a guy, and 10 percent had had some same-sex sexual behavior. For 15- to 17-year-old guys, 47 percent had had sex with a girl, and 1.7 percent had had some same-sex sexual behavior.
The statistics for adultery, divorce, prostitution, abortion, abuse, incest, bestiality, homosexual acts and pornography add to the awful picture of the American family under attack. God is angry with infidelity, divorce and violence (Malachi 2:15-16). He greatly desires strong, loving, faithful marriage and families to prepare us to become part of His family.
Eighth Commandment: Stealing
In the Eighth Commandment God commands: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15).
But the FBI reported that in 2015 there were an estimated 327,000 reported robberies and property crimes caused an estimated $14.3 billion in losses.
God hates stealing—it is the opposite of His way of give. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The apostle Paul instructed former thieves to now work hard to earn enough to give to those in need (Ephesians 4:28).
Ninth Commandment: Lying
God commands us in the Ninth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). Elsewhere He makes it clear that He considers all lying to be an abomination (Proverbs 6:17; 12:22).
Yet most Americans lie regularly. Psychologist Robert S. Feldman found that “60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies.” Politicians and CEOs often make the news when they are caught in lies, but most lies are overlooked and have become almost second nature to many Americans. Many parents even lie to their innocent little children about Santa Claus, and many Americans remember the trauma of finding out their parents had lied to them.
Lying is not a little thing to God. God is a God of truth, and lying is foreign and abhorrent to His nature. Jesus Christ identified Satan as the inventor and promoter of lying (John 8:44).
The 10th Commandment: Wrong desires
In the 10th Commandment God commands: “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:17). Coveting is greatly desiring something that is not lawfully ours. Covetousness is dissatisfaction and a selfish desire to always have more. It destroys the peace of mind that comes from contentment and thankfulness. It can lead to other sins, like stealing and adultery; and God considers this selfish, greedy attitude a destructive sin in itself.
The love of money—greed—is a particularly American form of covetousness, and the apostle Paul warned that it can be “a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Americans believe that if they just had what the wealthy have, they would be happy. If they could just win the lottery, they would be satisfied. But are all millionaires truly happy? The true stories of lottery winners are often more nightmares than dreams come true.
America’s focus on materialism, selfishness and greed does not lead to happiness. God knows that breaking His 10 Commandments only leads to suffering and eventually death.
(To learn more about how our society and culture are going further and further into immorality and sin, read “Judeo-Christian Values Under Attack: What Can You Do About It?” and “5 Ways Our Culture Is Rejecting Biblical Morality.”)
What should we do?
God is angry, but He does not react with impatience and revenge. His anger is directed and controlled by His love and has a purpose. God, even in His anger, has our eternal best interests in mind. If He didn’t love us, He wouldn’t waste the effort to correct us (Hebrews 12:5-6).
What should God’s anger motivate us to do? He wants us to repent. He wants us to turn from our evil, wicked ways and live (Ezekiel 18:23).
God has blessed the United States greatly with some of the richest farmlands and most abundant natural resources in the world. America’s prosperity and freedoms have long been the envy of the world. We believe the reason for these great blessings goes all the way back to the unbreakable promises God gave to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his sons.
With great blessings come great responsibilities. God foresaw that people who are blessed can begin to think, “My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17). So God warned, “Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments” (verse 11). Forgetting and disobeying God’s commandments brings automatic penalties and curses (Deuteronomy 8:19-20; 28:15-68).
Those commandments were given as a blessing to humanity—showing us how to live happy and fulfilling lives. But the natural human tendency is to seek the easy way—the way that seems right to us—the way that seems like it will give us the most personal benefit. That human way is often at odds with the way that would truly be best for us—God’s way.
God wants Americans to repent
Seeing the pain and suffering we are bringing on ourselves does not make God happy. He hates to see us choose the wrong way, and He hates the results of sin in damaging our relationship with Him and with others. Sin—the antithesis of God’s nature and way of love—makes God angry.
So what does He want us to do?
“‘Now, therefore,’ says the LORD, ‘turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’ So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm” (Joel 2:12-13).
For our own good, God wants us to repent and change.
It’s vitally important to learn more about what God wants and what you can do. Make the time now to read “The 10 Commandments for Today” and “What Is Repentance?”