Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, America moved quickly into a full-scale, very expensive war on terror. Even after the initial military campaign in Iraq concluded, Washington found itself funding a costly nation-building project intended to produce a peaceful democratic state, a mission whose ultimate outcome continues to be far from certain. Afghanistan is following a similar pattern.
Washington poured millions into the nations devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami several years ago. Americans have a long history of generosity when other nations are afflicted by major natural disasters. Yet there may come a time when the nation's own resources are drained to the point where it cannot be of much more help. What about the prospect of yet another mega-disaster down the line? Will America even have the resources to rescue, rebuild and sustain its own national infrastructures?
At some point in the future, Americans' wayward lifestyles will start to count very heavily against them. These national problems are cumulative. Clearly Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 (the blessings-and-curses chapters of the Bible) apply to the plight of America today. Obedience to God brings abundant blessings and natural resources: "Blessed shall be the fruit of your body [healthy children], the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks . . . The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand" (Deuteronomy 28:4, Deuteronomy 28:8).
Since its inception the United States of America has been blessed by God even beyond the pioneer generation's wildest dreams. Even today new methods of extracting oil and gas (particularly in North Dakota and South Texas) are helping to alleviate the nation's energy problems.
Yet in the long run persistent disobedience to God will bring down a nation. "Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks . . . Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The Lord will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me" (Deuteronomy 28:17-18).
May we have the wisdom to see where our actions are leading us and the courage to change course before it's too late!