When we think of God judging a nation or the entire world, we often feel troubled in our spirits. And in part, this response is good and right. The Scriptures teach that we should tremble at His Word and at what may come upon any wayward, rebellious nation (Isa. 66:1-2; Jer. 18:7-10).
In America alone there are 325 million people—that’s a lot of people who would be affected if God shook our nation! And how many of those people are spiritually ready to face the living God? These thoughts should trouble us.
But is this the whole story? Is God after something in addition to confronting the global population, or specific nations, with a day of reckoning? I believe the answer is yes.
The Bible teaches that God is always righteous in His judgments (Psa. 9:3-8). In other words, we don’t have to ponder whether the sentences He passes down are right or wrong. They are always right, and I believe that He has a number of redemptive purposes in mind when He shakes the nations of the world.
You might be asking, what are these redemptive purposes?
First, it is through national and global shakings that multitudes of people learn the ways of God. Isaiah said, “At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; for when the earth experiences judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (Isa. 26:9, NASB).
That’s right. Through national and global judgments, multitudes of people will come to faith and learn to walk with God. Rather than fearing the negative consequences, Isaiah longed for God to display His judgments for this very purpose.
This is good news!
Second, with the idea in mind that God accomplishes certain outcomes more effectively during seasons of adversity, Peter taught that judgment begins in the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Is this because the Lord despises His people and desires to punish us? Absolutely not.
Sin weakens individuals, churches, communities, and ultimately nations. When God shakes the church and exposes sin to give people the opportunity to turn back to Him, the result for those hearing what the Spirit is saying is deeper humility and repentance. This in turn engenders the power and presence of the risen Christ to be displayed with greater glory—both within the church and to a lost world.
Again, this is good news!
Third, I have identified twenty passages that teach that God will cause a massive migration of Jews to Israel before Jesus’ second coming. Some of these passages teach that He will orchestrate just the right circumstances to motivate them to make such a journey.
Today there are over six million Jews in North America. Many of them are part of successful banking enterprises and other businesses, and they have no reason to leave their current homes. Life is too good! But when God awakens the multitudes to who He is through a shaking of the nations, this will likely provide just the motivation needed for Jews to make their way back to Israel.
In a striking passage in Jeremiah, the Lord reveals that in the future He will “fish” the Jews back to Israel (Jer. 16:14–16). In other words, He will entice them to return through favorable circumstances. I believe this has taken place since the late nineteenth century, and in earnest since Israel became a sovereign nation for the first time in over 2,400 years in 1948.
Jeremiah goes on to say that after a period of time fishing the Jews back to Israel, God will “hunt” them back. There is a dramatic difference between fishing and hunting, and it is my belief that the fishing season will give way to the hunting season in the days and years ahead.
If God shakes the nations to bring the Jews back to Israel to prepare the world for Jesus’ second coming, this too is a redemptive purpose in God’s judgment of the nations.
This is good news!
Fourth, lawlessness among the people and corruption within the government will be dealt a devastating blow. For the most part, behavior that God sees as an abomination will not have the opportunity to proliferate. Indeed, in the absence of the prosperity of the wicked, righteousness and humility will spring forth.
This lesson is taught in Psalm 96 and again in Psalm 98. Ironically, these are the passages we quote that tell us to “sing to the Lord a new song,” yet one of the reasons given in these psalms to praise the Lord is that the Lord is coming to judge the earth. He is coming to make things right. Evil and corruption will no longer be the order of the day.
Again, this is good news!
I’ve attempted to bring additional perspective to a topic that is often viewed through an exclusively dark, “all is lost” lens. As we view our nation and the world through the lens of a divinely orchestrated shaking, God is not only coming to judge sin and evil, He is also coming to carry out His redemptive purposes!
Before closing, I need to remind us that the final day of judgment will not only be BAD NEWS for the lost, rebellious, and wicked, it will be the worst, most terrifying day imaginable (Matt. 21:31–46; 2 Thess. 1:5–10).
Billy Graham’s daughter, Ann Graham Lotz, stated a couple of years ago, “What is on the heart of God today is intense judgment AND intense salvation.” I believe she nailed it. As we look ahead, let’s understand the serious days in which we find ourselves, and let’s keep an eternal perspective on the Lord’s redemptive purposes.