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Is God judging America?

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A Palestinian woman shouts as she hold a Koran during demonstrations denouncing a U.S.-made film that mocks the Prophet Mohammed, after Friday prayers near Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem's Old City September 14, 2012 (Credit: Reuters / Nir Elias)

Four American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan yesterday.  Libya has announced the arrest of 50 suspects in the killing of the U.S. envoy and three other Americans.  In recent days our embassies have been attacked or threatened in Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, Yemen, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Lebanon.  To attack an embassy is equivalent to attacking the nation it represents.

Why has God allowed this latest uprising against America?  Why has he permitted the decades-long aggression of jihadists against us?  Why are we still struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and from floods and fires that continue to threaten our people?  Is God judging our nation?

Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger is one of the bestselling Christian books of the year.  After several readers asked my opinion of the novel, I read it over the weekend.  Cahn claims that America’s founders dedicated our nation to God; in return, he placed a “hedge” of protection around us.  As our people turned from the Lord, he removed that hedge.  In his view, the terrorist attack of 9/11 was the result, as was the Great Recession that followed.

I’m not sure that America can claim a divine “hedge” until 9/11 in light of Pearl Harbor, the burning of our capitol during the War of 1812, and the jihadist attacks on Americans that began in 1979.  I’m also concerned about Cahn’s method of biblical interpretation, which reminds me of Jewish “pesher,” whereby the reader seeks a deeper, more mystical message than the literal text conveys.

But I agree completely with Cahn’s call to America’s Christians: we must repent of our sins and seek spiritual renewal for our nation before it’s too late.  While I wouldn’t presume to know if or when God has placed or removed a “hedge” around us, it is clear that he has allowed the military and economic challenges we now face.  He deals with us as gently as he can or as harshly as he must.  If America does not repent of our self-sufficiency, he will be forced to reveal even more decisively our need for his help and grace.

When our sons were growing up, my wife consistently encouraged them to “live a life God can bless.”  In light of our moral and spiritual trajectory, can God bless America?  You and I cannot do much to influence 300 million Americans today.  But since awakening must begin somewhere with someone, we can resolve that moral and spiritual renewal will begin with us.

A great evangelist was asked how revival begins.  His answer: Go home, draw a circle around yourself, and pray until everything inside that circle is right with God.  When it is, revival will be upon us.  Can a national awakening begin with you?