The Judicial Hand of God in the Wars of Nations

Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it…My four sore judgments…the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): National judgments are always the consequence of national sins.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): God has a variety of sore judgments wherewith to punish sinful nations, and He has them all at His command and inflicts which He pleases.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): War is one of God’s judgments.

MATTHEW HENRY: God often chastises sinful nations by bringing a sword upon them, the sword of a foreign enemy, and He gives it its commission and orders what execution it shall do.

WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): It is God that calls out the sword, and causeth it to come; When I bring the sword upon a land, Ezekiel 33:2. He is the Lord of hosts, and commissions armies to make invasions where He please.

GEORGE LAWSON (1749-1820): Does God punish nations for their wickedness under the Christian dispensation as He did during Old Testament times?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I repeat again what I have often said, that I regard the two World Wars which we have experienced in [the 20th] century as God’s punishment of the apostasy of the last century. I see no other adequate explanation.

EDWARD PAYSON: It is indispensably necessary to the perfection of God’s moral government that it should extend to nations and communities, as well as to individuals. This, I conceive, is too evident to require proof; for how could God be considered as the moral Governor of the world, if nations and communities were exempt from His government? Again, if God is to exercise a moral government over nations and communities, by rewarding or punishing them according to their works, the rewards and punishments must evidently be dispensed in this world; for nations and communities will not exist, as such, in the world to come.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): There cannot be an eternal damnation of nations as nations, the destruction of men at last will be that of individuals, and at the bar of God each man must be tried for himself. The punishment, therefore, of nations, is national. The guilt they incur must receive its awful recompense in this present time state.

JAMES HERVEY (1713-1758): How can the justice of God, with regard to a wicked nations, be shown, but by executing His vengeance upon them, in temporal calamities? Consider, Sirs, the very essence of political communities is temporal, purely temporal. It has no existence but in this world…How then shall He that is Ruler among the nations, maintain the dignity of His government over the kingdoms of the earth, but by inflicting national punishments for national provocations?

GEORGE LAWSON: If He did not, we should have to discontinue the use of many of the Psalms in the praise of God. David often speaks of the righteousness of God’s judgment against the nations, and if it were a glorious expression of the Divine justice in the days of old to punish guilty nations, why is it to be thought that He is now weary of exhibiting such specimens of the excellency of His administration?

JOHN CALVIN: He is not negligent of human affairs, and, as He watches for the salvation of the faithful, so He is intent on observing the wickedness of the ungodly. He does not so repose in heaven, as to cease to be the Judge of the world; nor will He be unmindful of the execution of His office, in due time.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): God is as faithful in His menaces as in His promises.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Proverbs 14:34. There I read that “righteousness exalteth a nation, and that sin is the reproach,” and if persisted in, the ruin of any people.

C. H. SPURGEON: For nations there is a weighing time. National sins demand national punishments. The whole history of God’s dealings with mankind proves that though a nation may go on in wickedness; it may multiply its oppressions; it may abound in bloodshed, tyranny, and war; but an hour of retribution draweth nigh. When it shall have filled up its measure of iniquity, then shall the angel of vengeance execute its doom.

JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): The justice of God is such, that He will not pour forth His extreme vengeance upon the wicked, until such time as their iniquity is so manifest, that their very flatterers cannot excuse it.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth, Psalm 9:16. His judgments bear the impression of His wisdom and justice, so as the sin may be read written on the rod.

WILLIAM GREENHILL: Eminent wickedness brings eminent judgments…Wars come not upon any people casually, but by the providence of God.

GEORGE LAWSON: Remember, the sword of war is the sword of the Lord: He musters the hosts of battle—that when mighty conquerors go forth they are the instruments of His Providence for accomplishing those overturnings which for wise ends He determined before any of us were born.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen.

GEORGE LAWSON: With the same disposition we should read or hear the accounts which we receive daily of those events which are now happening in the world. Let us not forget that all men and their actions are under the superintendence of One who never errs. “I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things,” Isaiah 45:7. If we hear of awful events we ought to admire that Providence which will bring order out of confusion and make darkness light to those who love Him.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): God’s government will never fail in any part of the world, in any event of life, or in any tumult of the nations.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Sinners may oppose God’s ways, but not His wrath.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Therefore, let us stay our faith here, that our Lord is still working in all these confusions. And when matters are turned upside down to human appearance, our blessed Lord is not nonplussed and at a stand when we are; He knows well what He is doing, and will make all things most certainly, infallibly, and infrustably to work for His own glory, and for the good of His people.



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