Does God or will God still punish an entire nation as a unit for their sins as he did his chosen people the Israelites?
Excellent question. I hope I get close to your question but it raises the broader questions of how God had dealt with the nations in the past and how He deals with them today. Maybe by answering these, your answer will be presented also.
1. God has always ruled the nations.
In the Old Testament, we are made aware that God is the ruler of the nations. Daniel 4:16-17. And, He exercised judgments upon nations depending on how unrighteous they were in their behavior. Prov. 14:34.
When a nation became so rotten that God viewed them as beyond repair, He brought either partial or total destruction upon them. However, He was always aware of those who were righteous in the midst of wickedness and provided a way of escape for them. Gen. 18:21-33, Ch. 19. For examples of some of His judgments, see the following.
1. Destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the plains. Gen. 18-19.
2. Destruction of the Canaanite nations by Israel. Gen. 15:16, Deut. 9:4-6, Joshua.
3. Destruction of Israel (Northern Kingdom) by Assyria. 2 Kings 17, Isaiah 10.
4. Destruction of Assyria by Babylon. Nahum
5. Destruction of Judah by Babylon. Habakkuk, 2 King 24-25.
6. Destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Isaiah 13, 44:28-45:7, Daniel 5.
7. Destruction of Medes and Persians by the Greeks (Alexander the Great). Daniel 8:22-27.
Through these examples, we learn God uses various wicked nations to punish other wicked nations and when His instruments for judgment reach a certain level of wickedness, then they are punished also.
But, does God still punish the nations today?
2. God, through Jesus, rules the nations today.
It was prophesied that Jesus, the Messiah, would rule the nations. Psalm 2, 45, 110, Isaiah 11. And, when He was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven where He received all authority over Heaven and earth from the Father, these were fulfilled. Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:29-38, 4:25-30, Heb. 1:7-9, 1 Cor. 15:23-28, Rom. 15:7-12.
Jesus Himself foretold He would judge the rebellious Jewish nation for their unrighteousness. Matthew 23:37-39, 24:25-35. And, john saw Him as ruler of the nations. Rev. 1:5, 12:1-5, 17:14, 19:11-16, Isaiah 63:1-6.
3. How should we behave in light of this?
Since Jesus now rules the nations, we should make it our goal to live a righteous, obedient, prayerful life seeking to please Him above all and to submit to our government as long as we are not called on to disobey God. Acts 2:36-38, Acts 22:16, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Tim. 2:1-8, 2 Thes. 3:1-5, Rom. 13:1-7, 1 Pet. 2:13-17, Acts 5:27-32. If we are serving Him, then no matter what happens to our nation, we will eventually be with Him for eternity. For more on how to be saved, please see the section on What Must We Do To Be Saved.
By Gary Hunt