Righteousness for Survival
Because these are days in which we are thinking more deeply about the life of our nation, in fact about the life of all civilization, we ought to think about what makes it possible for a nation to indeed exist, to be, in the first place. I’m sure that each of has taken the time to read with some diligence the account of history and we have paid fair attention to the developments of the world in our present time.
As a result of this, we have seen the reality of the fact that nations come and nations go. Some of the great empires of the past have now disappeared and their influence has expired in history.
These days, I have been taking the time to read a little bit more about ancient Rome. It seems that every other page of the history of this fantastic empire is the story of another war being fought, eight initiated by Rome against an enemy or, indeed, a braze, ambitious enemy leader hoping that he might attack the citadels of Rome, itself. Finally, these attacks succeeded and Rome dropped into virtual historical nothingness. The grandeur that was Rome—its marble palaces, its aqueducts, its amazing public works—were knocked to pieces and to this very day, this astonishing empire has not recovered. The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome are now virtually gone, except in the fascinating pages in which we can, if we take the time, read about them with great interest.
These and other accounts lead us to ask the question, “What is it that makes it possible for a nation to continue?” We can think about this in many ways, but I have a statement for you which gives the answer to this question in its final form.
That statement is found, as you may well guess, in the Bible. It’s a statement that has to do with the nation of Israel and by extension, with every nation of the world. It was stated by king Solomon in the 14th Chapter of Proverbs. In verse 34, he said, “Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people.” What, then, is it that exalts a nation? It is clever speeches, accommodating leadership, interesting economic theories, armies or wealth or geography? In its final form, none of these enviable assets will save a nation from destruction. Babylon had all of these, but it is now gone. The Macedonian empire had all of these, but it, too, has disappeared. Persia once virtually ruled the world, but now it cannot protect its own borders. Rome had all of these, but its people were still cut to pieces by the hundreds of thousands by invading barbarians.
It, therefore, is a demonstrable proposition that the great quality which these nations and empires lacked was the quality which the Bible calls “righteousness.”
What is righteousness? Righteousness is to operate in a manner consistent with the personality of the wise and all-powerful Being who made the world and the universe in the first place. The call to righteousness is simply the call to be like the One who made us. God made men and God made nations to accomplish a sublime purpose, the fulfillment of His will in time and space. If they refuse to live for that sublime and righteous purpose, it is inevitable that they will drop into impotence and finally destruction. The same is true, of course, about everyone’s individual life. If we neglect or refuse to live for the purpose for which we were made, then our lives will become irrelevant and ultimately, we’ll die in obscurity or disgrace, our years on earth having been wasted.
Just like you should not use an expensive watch to drive a nail into the wall, even so you should not use life to accomplish the purpose of mere indulgence. In the same manner, the rulers of a nation must not use their power to exploit people to their own advantage, to be mere masters of human beings as if they were running an animal farm.
Nations, themselves, must not live for mere pleasure, indulgence, dissipation, no matter what fine words are used by clever leaders to justify these unworthy ambitions. A nation must ask itself the question, “What is the will of God, the sublime purpose for which we were brought to pass?” Even though that question may sound ridiculous, it is really the one that matters in life.
It is a provable proposition that America has been wonderfully used of God. We have been the fountainhead of world missions, we have really been like a city set on a hill in may ways. Surely, this is the ultimate reason why we have known the riches, the prosperity, the favor which has come to us from God. America, as a government, has opened the door to Christian, Godly activity within this nation and to the outreach of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This attitude, plus our respect and support for the nation of Israel, are the reasons, in our opinion, that we have known the blessing of God. We have been a center pole of support, a rock of strength for Judeo-Christian civilization, for those divine religious values that make it possible for life to be carried on in the first place.
Therefore, we need to express to those who lead us into ourselves the constant call to national righteousness. We must have voices continually raised that call our nation to return to the path that was ordained for nations in the first place, national righteouness.
Would you like your nation to continue, to prosper, indeed to be exalted in days to come? Would you like it to avoid reproach, shame, dissolution and destruction? Then the principle always to keep in mind and never to forget is the one that should tower over the plans that any nation makes for the future. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
We submit, therefore, the inexorable argument that it is time for American to return to the god of its fathers. There are already evidences of profound decay with the life and plans of this nation. If these continue, they will produce for us a most unhappy future. If, however, we see a resurgence of righteousness within America, the possibilities could be magnificient, indeed.