With us, or against us...
In the beginning of the book of Joshua, we have an interesting example of the commander of the Jewish army (Joshua) coming into contact with an Angel of God. He sees an unidentified man with his sword drawn, a position much like in our day, of a man with his pistol in hand ready for action.. Joshua asks the man what side he is on, his or with his adversaries, and the angel has an interesting answer:
Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
This man, who is captain of the Lord's host says "No", he is neither with them or against them, even though later on in the chapter we see the angel is fighting for Israel to win their battle. Why would the angel of the Lord indicate he was not with them, when he was sent to fight for them? We usually consider people who are fighting for us, as fighting on our side, and those who fight against us as fighting on the side of our enemies.
Every nation believes God is on their side
People in general believe that God supports their nation, no matter which nation they live in. Whether their leaders be Monarchs, Presidents, Prime Ministers or Dictators for life, they proclaim that God loves them and supports them. It doesn't matter if the nation is Socialist, Communist, a Kingdom or a Democracy, all believe that God loves their nation and will support and defend it no matter what their actions, intentions or conduct. This belief is encapsulated in the common sayings "My country, right or wrong" and "God and Country".
In wars and in peace, the religious clergy of all these nations will bless weapons of war, soldiers, weapons of mass destruction and other armament asking God to protect them and help them conquer their enemies. An example of this is in this picture and a google image search of "Priest bless bomb" will bring up many such images. During World War II, priests of the same denomination were actually photographed with both Allied and Axis armies blessing the bombs of the two opposing combatants.
Photographs like this lead to the question of "What nation does God Support"? Why does he support them, and will he always support them? The answer to this question should encourage a nation to live in ways that would guarantee them the blessings of God, and helps us individually to better understand our relationship to God and how we can hope for God's protection and care.
God's Relationship to the Nations of this World - He rules over them.
In the book of the Prophet Daniel chapter 2, Daniel was called before Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, to explain a dream that God had given to Nebuchadnezzar. This country and this king were the most powerful nation on earth at this time. No nation could resist the power of Babylon, and Babylon was ruled with total authority by Nebuchadnezzar.
The prophet Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:17
Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
What Daniel was telling the king, was that God ruled the world, not him. This was a very foreign concept to a vain king who thought all the glory of his kingdom was the result of his prowess, genius and industriousness. And yet today, all the leaders of the world make the same mistake. They think the prosperity of their kingdoms is the result of their wisdom and administrative skills, rather than a blessing from God.
The rest of the dream that Daniel interpreted made it clear that God would have a progression of kingdoms over time until his son's kingdom was established, and that all nations then would be destroyed to make way for this one, world-wide kingdom:
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
God is not an equal to any nation of this world, now or ever before. He would never align himself with a nation, just like our nations nowadays similarly would never align themselves with a dust mite. A dust mite is of no consequence to a man, and likewise all nations individually and collectively are of no consequence to God. God's relationship with the nations of the world could be compared more to a chess master moving witless pieces on the chessboard. All the nations of the world are to him easily controllable and are as insignificant as a drop of water in the bucket:
Isaiah 40:15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
This is not the only place where God makes it clear he controls the kingdoms of men, prospering some and destroying others based upon his will:
Dan 2:21 He removeth kings and setteth up kings
Daniel 5:18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: 21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,...whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Rom 13:1-5 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God
2 Chronicles 20:6 ...art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen...none is able to withstand thee?
John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above:
Why does God help some nations and destroy others?
To understand why God allows some kingdoms to prosper and others to collapse requires some study of the bible. A good general starting rule is that God does not allow sinful nations to continue forever. At some point they are judged for their sins.
Amos 9:8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.
2 Chronicles 15:5 ..there was no peace..but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.
Sin is not a relative concept to God. It is very black and white and highly defined by the bible. Nations that have obeyed the commands of God and recognized him have always had the protection of God. Economically they prospered and their enemies held at bay as long as they remained righteous. For those who decided to not be righteous, history books are littered with the stories of the nations that God destroyed, though they never knew it at the time.
On other occasions, God has prospered one country (like Babylon for example), to punish and destroy another wicked kingdom (the children of Israel who had forsaken God). This would have appeared a very natural progression of events to those alive at the time. God always works in natural ways so that unbelieving men do not see his hand working amongst the nations. Those who have faith see prophecies being fulfilled and recognize God's power. Those who have no knowledge of God, his ways and prophecy, ignorantly believe that economic progress is the result of their brillance, and economic turmoil the result of the other political party they contend with.
How does this relate to me?
Man has a natural tendency to believe that God loves him no matter how he lives or conducts himself. This is not true.
Just as God requires obedience to his commands and righteousness of a nation for protection, he requires the same for people.
The truth is that God judges all men by how they live their lives, and we must all strive to avoid sin and follow his commandments, or we will face rejection into eternal life, the great hope offered by God in his coming kingdom.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Proverbs 24:12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
2 Corinthians 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Galatians 6:7-8 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Colossians 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
The hope of salvation for mankind is based upon the following general principles:
To learn more about the truth of the bible, please read The Key to Understanding the bible