North Korea: Do We Really Want a Return to Normal?

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When a nation is in rebellion to God, God is that nation’s worst enemy. History is replete with mighty nations who have experienced the judgment of God because of their rebellion. According to Leviticus chapter 18, God judged mighty nations in the land of Canaan because of their adultery, homosexuality, and the practice of infanticide. For these sins, they were cast out of their land by the invading forces of the Israelites. This should be deeply troubling given that our nation practices these same sins. In fact, not only do we as a nation condone these practices, we celebrate and flaunt them.

Fortunately, we have a patient God who seeks to turn people’s hearts before exacting judgment. Sometimes this is accomplished by lifting His hand of protection and blessing to alert a nation of its need to repent (Amos 4:6–10). In allowing trouble to come upon a nation, God endeavors to draw people out of their complacency and compel them to evaluate why they are suffering. God’s goal is that they repent and submit themselves to His ways and commandments.

Those nations who ignore this corrective judgment and persist in their rebellion risk experiencing a severe form of judgment intended to shake a nation at its core (Amos 4:2–3). This shaking is designed to compel the people to let go of the idols to which they cling. Those nations who repent experience healing, while those nations who do not are often destroyed by their rebellion.

It could be argued that America has long been experiencing a corrective form of judgment from God. Events such as the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, the economic crisis of 2008, mass shootings, and escalating racial conflicts are likely a result of God having lifted His hand of blessing and protection. However, we as a nation have not been alerted to our need for God and the extent of our rebellion. Instead, we appear to have doubled-down in our rebellion with Supreme Court decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriages, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which struck down parts of a Texas law that could have drastically reduced the number of abortion clinics in the state.[1][2]

All indications point to America as a nation that is ripe for judgment. As such, crises such as this escalating conflict with North Korea could be blessings in disguise as they interrupt our ordinary lifestyle and compel us as a nation to ask bigger questions. While songs such as “God Bless America” may be popular at times like this, we as a nation ought to ask, “Why should God want to protect and bless America? How would God’s greater purposes be furthered by blessing America in this conflict?”

Likely, most Americans are less interested in how this crisis is resolved as they are in how quickly they will be able to resume their ordinary lifestyles. As Christians, we should protect ourselves from such thinking. Often our national lifestyle is one of rebellion to God. Should we as Christians truly desire to return to a sense of normality? Difficult as it may be, we should honestly ask ourselves, “Do we really want things to go back to normal?”

In 2 Chronicles 15:1–7, we read that God troubled Israel with every kind of distress, even allowing other nations to crush them so that they would repent and call upon the Lord. Perhaps we as Christians ought to pray that God would continue to disrupt our ordinary way of life so as to compel us as a nation to face the reality of our relationship with God. Perhaps we should thank God for providing us with a fantastic opportunity to challenge the thinking of our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Perhaps we should be less focused on the efforts of our national leaders to resolve the North Korean crisis and be more focused on our own efforts to use this issue to initiate difficult conversations with our loved ones.

Introspective conversations are best had at times of crisis. As Christians, we should view this conflict with North Korea as a prime opportunity to have these difficult discussions. However, this must begin with our determining that what we most desire for our country is that God’s purposes be accomplished … even if it means major disruptions to our current way of life. Normalcy is a path which is leading our nation toward destruction. Where do our hearts rest? Are we as Christians willing to sacrifice our normal and comfortable lifestyles in pursuit of seeing our nation reach a point of repentance?

This article is excerpted from the paper “Evaluating the North Korean Crisis.”

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide.” The New York Times, June 26, 2015. Accessed August 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/27/us/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage.html.

2. Liptak, Adam. “Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Abortion Restrictions.” The New York Times, June 27, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/28/us/supreme-court-texas-abortion.html.