Over the past few years many have been obsessed with the expression "God Bless America." However, if we expect God's blessing on our nation then He has the right to expect loving obedience from us. Will God bless America? Can God bless the United States of America when we seem to be repeating many of the sins of Old Testament Israel? Should God bless America when we have turned so far from His word? We read in Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance." If there are going to be blessings from God, then we must go back to the Bible. We read, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34) When peoples and nations continue to sin against the judgment of God they are soon brought to destruction. (Nehemiah 9:29) When a nation rebels against God they put themselves in a position where it is impossible for God to bless them. In Psalm 9:17 we read, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."


          God meant what He said to Israel and we would do well to listen also. God said, "But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations." (2 Chronicles 7:19-20) If you disobey God you will miss many of His blessings; this is true of an individual and of a nation. "But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels." (Psalm 81:11-12) God taught Joshua how to be blessed and the conditions of success have not changed. Blessings of God will flow upon us when we return to the law of God and live obediently to it. God told Joshua, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8) Hear again Psalm 81:13-16, "Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee."


          Anybody should be able to see the trouble. God asked Ezekiel if he was ready to recognize the sins of Israel and speak up against Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 22:1-2) He said Jerusalem was a murderous city that was filled with bloodshed and abominations. An average man should be able to open his eyes and see the problems of our sinful society. May God help us to be quick to recognize sin and bold enough to speak out against it. Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?


          The people spent their time committing murder and practicing false religion. The people of Jerusalem had murdered many of their own people and had turned to the worship of idols. (Ezekiel 22:3-6) Their punishment was near and other nations would laugh them to scorn. Murder is a common thing in our society and false religion is on almost every corner. God gave them time to do better but they refused. We are no different today than was Israel of old. In Romans 5:2 we read, "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." False teachers are also everywhere. They even preach error for money. "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2 Peter 2:3) Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?


          The sins of Israel were many. Among the sins of this nation that God had blessed were many grievous things.  (Ezekiel 22:7-12) They did not honor their parents. They were dishonest in business and cheated foreigners. Among their ugliest sins was the fact that they took advantage of orphans and widows. They had no respect for God’s sacred places or His sacred things. They did not respect His Sabbath. They told lies as false witnesses against others so they would be put to death. They ate meat sacrificed to idols. They did many vulgar things. They were guilty of adultery, fornication and incest. "Men have sex with their father's wife or with women who are having their monthly period or with someone else's wife. Some men even sleep with their own daughter-in-law or half sister." These people were guilty of murder for hire and of extortion. They had forgotten the Lord God and left Him out of life. Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?  


          What was God's response to their sins? God would beat His fist in anger at the violent crimes of Israel. (Ezekiel 22:13-16) God promised that when He got through with Israel their courage would be gone and they would be so weak that they would not be able to lift their hands. God promised this punishment and He would not change His mind. In order to stop the sinful ways of Israel God promised to scatter them among the nations of the earth. Israel would be humiliated in the eyes of other nations. The Jews would know that God is Lord. Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?  


          What did Israel's sins make them like? The sins of Israel made them like the impurities that were removed from silver or other metals. (Ezekiel 22:17-22) God would gather Israel and blow his fiery anger upon them. "For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God." (Deuteronomy 4:24) God said, "They will know that I, the LORD, have punished them in my anger." "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God." (Psalms 68:2) Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?  


          Israel's sins involved people from all levels of society. The land of Israel was full of sin. (Ezekiel 22:23-31) God would rain His indignation upon the land of Israel because every segment of society was involved in sin. The prophets took away God's spiritual things and had people put to death. The priests of Israel ignored God's Law. The priests made no difference between the holy and profane; they showed no difference between the unclean and the clean. They hid their eyes from God's Sabbaths. The princes in Israel ripped their victims apart. They made a dishonest living by injuring and killing people. The prophets in Israel cover up these sins by giving false visions. The prophets said, "Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken." The people themselves cheated and robbed; they abused the poor and took advantage of foreigners. God said, "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 22:30-31) Will the United States repeat the sins of Israel?  


          "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34) To become a Christian hear God's word (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized into Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27) After baptism lovingly obey God faithfully. “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA


God Bless America

by Irving Berlin


God Bless America,

Land that I love.

Stand beside her, and guide her

Thru the night with a light from above.

From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans, white with foam

God bless America, My home sweet home.