The stock market is booming! People who have betted on U.S. stock are partying right now, loving the S&P 500’s 2.7% jump in the first two weeks of 2018 following an incredible bull run at the end of 2017! While I’m exuberant for America and America’s businesses, I can’t help but think about the moral condition of America and wonder if the current stock market boom accurately reflects the state of our nation.
Preachers of doom have long predicted the judgement of God falling on America, but a 1958 message by Billy Graham entitled “The Hand Writing on the wall” recently got my attention. In his riveting message, Graham declared, “America is being weighed in the balances of God. As a nation we’ve been guilty of every sin that man has ever been able to conceive.” He went on to say, “We will not get away with it. The handwriting is on the wall. The time of repentance has come. The time of a return to national faith has come. The time to turn to God has come. And if we don’t, the judgement that God predicts will fall upon us.” These chilling words preached 60 years ago by Billy Graham, an indisputable ambassador of God, cannot be easily dismissed.
The books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings tell the sad story of Israel’s decline into mediocrity, moral bankruptcy, and later captivity and destruction. The deterioration started when Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt (1 Kings 3) and ended with Israel being taken captive to Assyria (2 Kings 15) and Jerusalem falling to Babylon (2 Kings 24). I can’t help but see parallels between Israel’s digression and America’s gradual abandonment of God. Israel’s great start following God morphed over time into moral decay, and America’s rejection of Christian values is resulting in what Phil Robertson and others have termed “culture rot”.
There is hope, however, for both our nation and for us as individuals. In 1973 Billy Graham again preached the same message he’d preached 15 years earlier, asking the question “Is the handwriting on the wall, America?” As people streamed forward from all corners of St. Louis Arena, Graham concluded by looking directly into the TV camera and saying, “No, I don’t believe it’s too late for America to turn to God. I believe we could have healing in our country. I believe we could turn to God and find a whole new atmosphere if we did turn to him. But that can also happen in your life as an individual…it can start with you if you will say yes to Jesus Christ right now.”
If you want to learn more about how sin can hurt us, read my article, “The Deadliness of Sin”.