When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me (Hos 13:6).
Even though God was referring to Israel when He spoke to Hosea, He may have used the exact same words to describe the current generation in America. Ancient Israel’s history was sprinkled liberally with special provisions of God for this people: the parting of the Red Sea, manna in the wilderness, water from the rock, the conquest of Canaan under Joshua, Gideon’s miraculous victory over the Midianites, to name just a few.
So it is with our American history. In their excellent book, “The Light and the Glory,” David Manuel and Peter Marshall chronicle many of the clear provisions of God in the establishment of our country, provisions that only the hardest of heart could deny being an intervention of God Himself.
For a number of years both of these nations—Israel and America—enjoyed the clear blessing of God. Neither was perfect in its worship and practices, but as a whole, the people (often responding to the national leadership) embraced the God of Israel as their Creator and Redeemer.
But there came a time when Israel forgot Him and His deliverances. As Hosea said, “They were satisfied,” and the satisfaction begat pride—they thought they deserved His blessings. When He began to remove a few of the blessings to make the people remember that they had no real claim to them—they were all gifts—the people got angry with Him (He was acting like any good parent would). So He sent His prophets to warn them. Some repented, but it just made others angrier.
After repeated warnings, He finally sent judgment—for Hosea’s Northern Kingdom of Israel, it was from the Assyrian Empire. About 150 years later, the Southern Kingdom of Judah ignored the warnings and was carried to Babylon.
We have entered that era of forgetfulness in America. Among others, God has sent us D.L. Moody (with his musical partner, Ira Sankey) and when they passed, Billy Sunday and Homer Rodeheaver tried to stir this country to repentance. In recent years the baton has been passed to Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows, but with each succeeding generation, the number of people willing to listen to their calls for repentance decreases.
Israel’s history from inception to captivity lasted about 600-700 years, but we should expect God to be more patient with Israel. After all, He specifically called them His “chosen people.” The United States of America has never been called that (at least not by God).
How long do we have before judgment comes? That’s up to us. How long will we wait before we choose to repent? Some people think (to their shame), “Perhaps we won’t have to repent if the right person gets elected in the next election.” But our hope is not a political one; it wasn’t for Israel and it won’t be for us. How quickly we forget!
Dale Crank is pastor of Oak Ridge Alliance Church at 109 Raleigh Road in Oak Ridge. The church is an accredited church with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a missionary denomination with ministries in more than 80 countries and almost four million people who worship Christ under the banner of the CMA each week. Pastor Crank is a graduate of Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C. Pastor Crank and his wife Mary have three grown children.