The late George W. Truett told the following story, "You will recall Victor Hugo's marvelous description of Waterloo. It is one of the masterpieces of all literature. In that description he asks, 'Was it possible for Napoleon to win at Waterloo? No. Because of Wellington? No. Because of Blucher? No. Because of rain? No. Then why was it impossible for Napoleon to win at Waterloo?' 'Because of God,' answered Hugo, and then he goes on with something of the touch of sacrilege, as he adds: 'Napoleon bothered God.' Woe betide to the nation that bothers God!"
In Proverbs 14:34, we read, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Jerry Falwell wrote, "In Biblical times, God gave Israel the king they deserved. When they forgot God and abandoned their commitment to God's laws, He gave them wicked leaders who oppressed them and embarrassed them. When they repented, He gave them godly and compassionate leadership. The leadership is always a reflection of the moral and spiritual condition of the people themselves."
Paul spoke of the "righteous judgment of God," thus, making it clear that the anger of God is unlike that of man. When God "renders to each one according to his deeds," it is based on His righteous judgment (Romans 2:5 and 6). Marv Rosenthal stated, "Sin will always be judged by God. Unnatural sin will always be judged more harshly. There is a time relationship between sowing and reaping. If a man sows tomato plants, he gets tomatoes in 70 or 80 days. If he sows olive trees, it will take about 20 years until the reaping of the fruit. If a man sows to the flesh (unrighteous sowing), he will reap from the flesh. If he sows to the spirit (righteous sowing), he will reap from the spirit."
The prophet Amos gave five corrective judgments of God. First, he spoke of "cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places," 4:6. This speaks of unemployment and the inability to provide. Second, he spoke of drought, 4:7. Third, in 4:9, he wrote of "blasting and mildew." This warns of the lack of funds for civic, state, and federal programs. Fourth, he tells of a destroying plague, in 4:10, meaning incurable diseases. Fifth, he warns of judgment like that on Sodom and Gomorrah, 4:11. He then admonishes, "Prepare to meet your God," 4:12. The Septuagint's translation renders this, "Prepare to call upon your God," meaning that we are not to close our eyes to these judgments, but to call on God for His mercy.
The fall of Carthage, in North Africa (146 BC), ended one of the classic struggles of history. In 147 BC, Scipio Africanus Minor, Rome's great general, was given command of the campaign. For three years, Carthage held out against Rome, and both sides lost thousands of troops. Finally, the city fell, and Scipio ordered it burned. On a hill high above flaming Carthage, Scipio watched in silence. No shout of victory rose from his lips. No fists were raised in triumph. Instead, tears flowed down his cheeks. Lifelong friend and historian Polybius was at his side, and recorded that Scipio said, "It is glorious, but I have a dread foreboding that sometime the same doom will be pronounced upon my own country."
"Never forget: judgment is in proportion, not to how many sins we have committed, but to how much light we have rejected" (Vance Havner).