One of my mentors often says he does not like armchair prophets. An armchair prophet is somebody who prophesies after the fact. What do I mean? It's too easy to say after a tragedy that it was judgment from God. You're far more credible if you prophesied before the tragedy that a judgement is coming if a certain country doesn't do X, Y or Z.
So it would be too easy right now to say God is judging America because of the hurricanes. On the other hand, when two of the most horrific hurricanes in history come one after another, a country must fall on its face and ask God, "Why?" Harvey is set to be the costliest natural disaster in American history. Irma slammed the Caribbean as the strongest hurricane ever coming from the Atlantic Ocean. We must ask the Lord, "Why?"
Is that not what they did in the Bible when judgment suddenly came—they asked the Lord, "Why?" Joshua did this when they lost the battle to Ai and 36 Israelite fighters died?
"Then Joshua ripped his clothes. He and the Israelite elders fell on their faces to the ground in front of the ark of the Lord until evening and threw dirt upon their heads. Joshua said, 'O Lord God, why did You bring this people across the Jordan to give us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan!'" (Josh. 7:6-7).
The people of God are to be God's voice to the world. We should be asking God, "Why is this happening? Is it just weather? Or something more?"
Confusion in the White House
So let me share with you an experience I had a few weeks ago. It was just after Charlottesville, when the president made several comments regarding the protests there over a period of several days. One of the final comments, and maybe the most confusing and controversial, was when he said, there were "very fine people on both sides" protesting.
There were no fine people marching with the Nazis. Even if you showed up there to protest the removal of Confederate statues, you left the minute you saw people on your team with Nazi flags, making Nazi gestures and chanting Nazi slogans. The minute you realized that you were hanging out with white supremacist racists, you got out of there.
In fact, it seemed that all hell was breaking loose against the Trump administration. Massive leaks, firings, resignations, exposing of secret meetings, infighting, the Scaramocci tape, angry tweets, attacks coming from every side and miss steps on every side. I've never seen anything like it and I was not buying that it was only because of the media. (I understand the media is no friend of the president.)
I Sensed From the Lord
One Wednesday, Aug. 16, a day after the contentious news conference, I felt the news cycle sucking me back in to waste another two hours or so. I pulled away to seek the Lord. Burdened for America, I simply asked, "God, what is going on with the Trump administration?"
Instantly I sensed God impress something on my heart. I say I sensed and impressed because I want to submit it to you. The spoken voice of God is subjective (unlike the written Word of God). It is often like seeing through a glass darkly, to quote Paul. When the Lord speaks to me, it is rarely in sentences, but sudden bursts of knowledge. I simply know something I didn't before.
And I sensed that he said something close to this, "I gave Donald Trump the opportunity for a slam dunk in Israel. I set him up for blessing. All he had to do was recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and announce the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem during his visit in May, marking 50 years of her reunification." Trump was set up for blessing, but instead he chose two other things:
- To make a massive arms deal with ultra-Islamic Saudi Arabia
- To send his son-in-law to restart the forever failed and flawed and frankly unbiblical peace process (not that God does not want peace, but He doesn't want us compromising with terrorists)
Neither of those things would have happened if he had recognized Jerusalem and moved the embassy. Many prophetic voices have said that Trump was called to be a Cyrus, but, as I stated in a recent blog, Cyrus' foremost achievement in regard to his calling, was to bless Israel.
What God Did Not Tell Me
Here is what God did not tell me. He didn't tell me that hurricanes were coming. At the most, I sensed there was a spirit of confusion released on Trump's team because he backtracked on Jerusalem. But you have to understand that if God set you up for blessing and you refuse, the opposite is a curse.
Does God Judge?
The fact is, judgement upon nations happened quite frequently in the Bible for the actions of their leaders (see Isaiah 10:5-34 about Assyria). Is the U.S. any different? If there is an earthquake in Damascus, 100 prophecy wonks don't hesitate to call it judgment, but can God judge America?
God calls Israel the apple of his eye (Zech. 2:8) and has blessed America greatly for favoring her, but inthe same passage, He prophesies judgement on those who touch Israel. What if God called President Trump to do two specific things—things he passionately promised before he was elected—and he disobeys?
A Broken Heart
I recognize that when judgment does come on a nation or any other tragedy that people are hurt and lives are ruined. That should break our hearts. We should do everything to help them. But we must also recognize that the God of the Bible does at times bring judgment on nations.
At the very least, the people of God should be crying out for mercy, repenting of anything we can think of and asking God to hold back his hand. We should appeal to God like the prophets of the Old Testament did. Jeremiah wept and wept, begging God to refrain from judging Israel:
"Oh, that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" (Jer. 9:1).
But in the end, Israel's sin was too great and God had to judge. There is no place for a theology where God never judges nations. But at the same time, the greatest form of intercession is like Moses, when he said, "Yet now, if You will, forgive their sin, but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written" (Ex. 32:32).
There is no joy in judgment. Any prophet who is more excited that he prophesied correctly, than he is devastated over the judgement, does not have the heart of God. If God is judging America—and let's be honest, weather doesn't escape His eyes—then we must fall on our face and repent. If it is connected to President Trump's backtracking on his Jerusalem promises, then we must pray he changes course.
Katrina and Gaza
Hurricane Katrina formed the very day that Israel, under pressure from President Bush (from his Roadmap to Peace), finished forcibly evacuating thousands of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip in 2005. Even as these Jews were evacuated from their homes in their own country, thousands of Americans in the south also were evacuated from their cities and towns. President Bush's mishandling of the event hunts him to this day.
Interestingly, meteorologists claimed that Katrina was small and insignificant. All the models predicted she would stay in the ocean. The aftermath was devastating.
Arafat and Tornados
In March of 1997, Elana and I were at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, DC. It was a gift from a couple I married. We noticed many, many Arabs. I asked what was going on and they said that President Clinton was rolling out the red carpet for Yasser Arafat that weekend. Our president welcomed a man to the White House with not only Israeli, but American, blood on his hands. That same weekend tornadoes ripped through the President's home state of Arkansas, killing 25 people. It should be noted that Clinton criticized Israel for building in East Jerusalem during his time with Arafat.
I could go on.
And even now, as I am writing in my Tel Aviv rental, I just stopped and heard this in the background on the news. The emir of Kuwait is standing next to President Trump saying:
With respect to the Palestinian question, we have praised the recent U.S. efforts to move the peaceful process, and we affirm the need to join efforts in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution to this problem on the basis of a two-state solution and in accordance with the international (inaudible) resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
To be clear, the Arab Peace Initiative, means Israel returning to a 8-mile width and suicidal borders, giving East Jerusalem to Palestinians and Hamas terrorists. It is unbiblical. The President responded saying that he would give the "peace process" his best effort.
I humbly submit this to you and am praying for God to send Irma back into the ocean and spare America. Please pray with me.
P.S. Whether or not these storms are judgment, we as believers need to express the love of God to those affected by them, through giving, praying and serving. We are Jesus on earth.