Read Proverbs 14
Let’s examine ourselves as a nation in the context of one of Solomon’s proverbs.
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.
It’s easy to look at somebody else, but sometimes we need to look at ourselves.
Let’s start with money. I will jump ahead to chapter 22 and note that the borrower is slave to the lender. If we adhere to this tenant of wisdom, our nation is indebted—enslaved—to those who hold the note. Some would say this is China and China does hold a lot of our debt, but not as much as advertised.
Still, we are a nation in debt. We crave things that we can’t afford but pay for them anyway with money we don’t have. We practice neither prudence nor discipline.
I’m thinking that we get an F- on handling money. We are slaves to our lenders.
What about our language? Our culture is full of foul language. Our literature and entertainment are full of profanity. We defame the name of God. I’m going with a D- here. It could be worse but not by much.
What about valuing life? We printed tens of millions of tee shirts that said, Black Lives Matter but got upset when someone said All Lives Matter. We continued to ignore life in the womb proclaiming a woman’s right to kill as more valuable.
We were slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry on this topic and others, but I think we get another F- here. We don’t value life.
Sure, we see individual examples all the time where one person risks his life to save another, but as a nation we are failing.
I may be—certainly am—preaching to those who do value life, are master over their money, and do not profane the name of God, but our nation stands condemned on these matters.
No number of extra assignments can bring our grade up. Only wholesale repentance can help.
I like the meme that says I am proud of my country but ashamed of my government. It has an attraction to it, but it’s no excuse for us.
Consider when God’s people asked for a king. Samuel argued against it but petitioned God nonetheless. Listen to God’s reply through Samuel.
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
The people thought about all that this would cost them and said, “Yeah, ok, we’ll take a king.”
Now consider the atmosphere of 1775. The colonists in America were tired of the abuses of the King of England and began forming armies, then declaring their independence the next year.
A decade after this war of independence, the people adopted a constitution. It was to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. It was based in the principle that the power of governments emanated from the people.
It was a noble concept, often called the Grand Experiment. In the context of this proverb, it tells us that we have no excuse. Our representatives may be doing terrible things, but we put them there and we are keeping them there.
They are us. Ouch. Sin condemns any people.
Now we are blessed to live in a land where self-determination is woven into the fabric of who we are, but we must acknowledge that we have no excuse as a nation. We must confess to Holy God that we who are a participating part of this nation have sinned against him.
Are we protected by the blood of Jesus? Yes.
Is our nation protected? Only by its own righteousness and I would say that we are getting a failing grade. No nation is perfect. No nation can be completely righteous, but a nation full of believers should be doing a much better job than we are.
The people wanted a king. God told them the cost. The people said they wanted one anyway.
Do you know the first time the letters lol were used? When people wanted to govern themselves as one nation under God.
We wanted self-government—at least a republic—a representative government. The cost is that we cannot blame the sins of our nation on those who represent us. They are us.
First-century Christians lived under a godless regime. The Romans had plenty of gods but profaned the one true god. Christians persevered.
The difference today is that we have claimed the right to govern ourselves. Perseverance is not enough. As the governors of this nation, we must also consider the counsel to kings and rulers.
Our charge is to bring this nation back to right standing with God.
I don’t know that we can do this at the ballot box or not. I don’t know if there will ever be a valid election in this nation again. I don’t know.
What I do know is that the righteousness of this nation can be won person by person, family by family, community by community that will come to God through Christ Jesus.
I would love to proclaim to the world that we are a godly nation. I can’t do that today. I can proclaim that this body seeks God and his kingdom and his righteousness and his wisdom, but we must also seek to bring others to right standing with God through Jesus.
I would love to be able to vote this nation into right-standing with God, but the course most likely to succeed is to pray and evangelize our way to being a godly nation.
Pray and evangelize.
Pray and evangelize.
Let’s pray and evangelize until we are exalted before God as a righteous nation. Amen.