Upon re-reading Patrick Gillespie’s Rulers Sins: The Causes of National Judgments, or a Sermon Preached at the Fast, Upon the 26th Day of December, 1650 (pdf), I am not given much hope for the future of my country.
Gillespie argues that even if a nation presently has a godly ruler, there comes a time when a nation’s allotted cup of sins is full and God brings a final judgment, a ruining wrath, upon it (2 Kings 23:26, Ezekiel 14:14, Jeremiah 15:1, Jeremiah 8:7, Hosea 7:9, Matthew 16:3, Genesis 15:16, Matthew 23:32, Zechariah 6, Ezekiel 21:25; see also Acts 17:26).
Gillespie then gives 4 main evidences one can look to in order to know that a nation’s cup of sin is full. I fear that such evidences abound in my country. They are:
- The nation overflows and abounds with sin (Genesis 6:5,6,12);
- Folks sin proudly and incorrigibly (2 Chronicles 36:16, Isaiah 3:9);
- Those with power and authority in the nation are ringleaders in sin and sinful courses (Isaiah 3:12, Jeremiah 5:5); and
- God has sent lesser and smaller judgments upon the people, but the people do not repent (Ezekiel 24:13).
Regarding #2, Gillespie describes what this looks like:
- The people, even after judgments, sin still, and sin more, and wax worse and worse (Psalm 78:32);
- The Lord takes away the righteous with the wicked (Isaiah 57:1, Ezekiel 21:4); and
- The judgments begin in the best and most religious parts of the land (Luke 23:31; cf also 1 Peter 4:17).
Regarding #3, Gillespie notes that God holds a people accountable for their leaders’ sins (2 Chronicles 28:19, Jeremiah 15:4,6, 2 Kings 21:5-10) when:
- They condone or connive at their sins and do not oppose and resist them (2 Chronicles 26:18);
- They do not mourn for their leaders’ sins (Ezekiel 9); and
- They imitate their leaders’ sins (2 Chronicles 33:9,10).
The main sins of rulers that God draws attention to are:
- Opposing God’s covenant and work and corrupting His worship; and
- Shedding innocent blood.
Gillespie argues that Scotland in his day was well deserving of God’s ruining wrath upon it. He also underscores a very important point:
God may grant a ruler and some people in a kingdom repentance, and may even cause there to be an outward reformation in the kingdom, and yet God’s fierce wrath may continue and ultimately still not be turned away.
So what can a believer do in such times? Gillespie gives some advice:
- Walk humbly; and
- Mourn and wrestle with the Lord this day, and afterward, that at least if wrath shall not be turned from the land, but the overflowing scourge go through from the South to the North, wrath may be turned from the men and women that repent, and they may find mercy, and be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.
Please join me in praying for Canada and for the nations of the world that are rushing headlong to their destruction.