Times Square in Manhattan
“The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:7-9)
The Judgments of the Lord
Reading these verses while praying recently, I realized that they are directly connected to the theme of revival and to the opening of doors for which we have long prayed. We have been asking the Lord for revival in New York City, as well as in our nation. We are asking for revival, not just because it would be marvelous to see God move again with power from on high, but because we desperately need “times of refreshing… from the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
Our country is rapidly wandering away from its Judeo-Christian foundations, the chief source of the many blessings Americans have long enjoyed. Educators among others are rewriting American history as taught in schools and universities, and our children are deprived of a thorough and accurate knowledge of their roots. A nation in which most citizens were once familiar with the Bible is raising generations of children who are ignorant of the most influential book in the development of our society. From all too many professorial lecterns, the call goes out for freedom from religion in a land founded on freedom of religion.
Evils of every variety, including perversions and violence that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago are flooding into the culture, the media, and the daily life of our people. Many of us are deeply concerned that judgment cannot be far behind, and may actually have already begun. As Charles H. Spurgeon pointed out, the most fearful judgment of all is not when God sends forceful, visible punishments, but when He quietly slips away and people do not even realize that He is gone! “Then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple…,” and who in Israel realized that the Spirit had left? (Ezekiel 10:18)
We who belong to the Lord need to consider prayerfully these verses in Isaiah 26:7-9. We may think that, though our nation is slipping away, we believers are doing just fine. At least we will escape judgment! Like the survivors safely ensconced in the Titanic’s lifeboats, we are so happy to be dry and safe that we are unwilling to risk going back to rescue those who are still drowning in the icy Atlantic. Like godly King Hezekiah, we respond to God’s warning of coming judgment by consciously or unconsciously saying in our hearts, “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good…There will be peace and security in my lifetime.” (Isaiah 39:8)
Meanwhile, we forget that judgment is a dreadful thing, not to be wished on anyone, no matter how evil they are. When judgment comes, multitudes of souls are swept away without remedy into dark eternity, souls who might have been rescued had we really cared. Oh, that we had a heart like the good shepherd whom Jesus spoke of in Matthew’s gospel! He willingly left the ninety-nine sheep that were safe, and traversed wilderness and desert to rescue one lost, bedraggled animal. “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11, NKJV) Or as Peter said of our Lord, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)