Evangelical preacher John MacArthur spoke at the 2011 Resolved Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., Saturday evening, saying America’s sins were akin to that of Israel’s and the nation was under divine judgment.
Materialism, drunkard pleasure seeking, arrogant conceit, defiant sinfulness, moral perversion, and corrupt leadership… Do you not see [them] in America?” MacArthur asked a roughly 3,000-strong Christian audience at the four-day conference which began June 24.
The head pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., MacArthur identified Israel’s six sins leading to six curses on that nation from Isaiah 5, saying those misdeeds were not isolated to Israel.
Author of more than 150 books, the evangelical leader said, “I look at America… people say what is wrong with this country. That is what’s wrong with this country. Right there. They have rejected the Word, the law of the Lord, the Holy One Himself.”
Talking about the sin of arrogant conceit, he said America was guilty, too. It is “when a society does not want to hear from God, but wants to be its own authority where every man does that which is right in his own eyes and feels that he is the ultimate authority, he is the ultimate source of truth,” he explained.
MacArthur added that America had corrupt leaders, too. The Hebrew words for “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,” as mentioned in Isaiah 5:22, referred to leaders, he said. “What do we have here? We have here, folks, Anthony Weiner type people…corrupt leaders. Is there ever any end to this corruption…who literally prostitute their position and justify wicked people for a bribe and take away the rights of the innocent people…politicians and leaders who can be bought.”
The speaker reminded, “We are not a covenant people in America, but we have been a privileged people.” He said while America did not have a “divine promise as a unique nation called out,” it had been given “exposure to the divine promises of the Gospel in Jesus Christ.”
“No other nation has literally been born out of a desire to be faithful and obedient to the living and abiding Word of God. America is the first nation that separated Church and State.”
MacArthur stressed that because God was patient with Israel, America should not expect Him to be patient with it. “As somebody said a few years ago, if God doesn’t destroy America pretty soon, He’s gonna have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
The 72-year-old pastor encouraged the listeners to ponder on what they could do “in a nation in crisis in divine judgment.” “How do you fit, how do you make an impact?”
MacArthur was speaking on the pursuit of godly life.
“There were some things that settled into my heart very early into my life and ministry... The two most dominant realities that captivated my heart very early in my Christian experience were the authority of Scripture and the necessity of holiness… How do I get deeper than I am, far deeper than I am. I asked the Lord to show me,” he said in the beginning of the sermon. He added that initially he read books by mystics to find out if there was a secret to living a Godly life, but he was soon directed to the Scriptures.
MacArthur said Isaiah’s song in Chapter 5 was the setting for Chapter 6, which talks about holiness of God. He said the word holy “has to do with being separate from sinners.”
The song is about the vineyard of Isaiah’s well beloved, “a melancholic song…a kind of funeral song…Isaiah’s requiem for a nation,” MacArthur said. Isaiah’s well beloved dug it all around, removed its stones and planted it with the choicest wine. He built a watchtower in the middle and cut out a winepress. Then he expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones. “You can call it a parable, an analogy, an illustration.”
The vineyard is the house of Israel and the delightful plant is the home of Judah, MacArthur explained. God did everything for Israel, but He got “sour berries.” That’s why the history of Israel and that of Judah “is a history of holocausts, one after another and another.” “They sit on the brink of another holocaust as the Arab world gathers around with the objective of the extermination of the Jewish people,” he said.
“Is this God’s fault? What else God could give them?” he asked. He quoted Isaiah 5:5-7, “Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” That’s “divine punishment,” he warned.