As the endless war of morality rages on in the hearts of nations, the active battle grounds periodically shift to new issues.
Today, those battle grounds include issues such as abortion, so-called "gay rights," increased general acceptance of secularistic ideas with a decreasing religious population, capital punishment and prison overcrowding, environmental protection and "climate change," police violence, terrorism response and violent organizations like ISIS, government oversight and religious freedoms.
Unfortunately, all signs point to a continuing general decreased reliance upon the Scriptures to guide decision-making—both individually and at the government level.
This is not unprecedented and it probably won't be the last time such a regression occurs.
Thankfully, we have the advantage of history which stands as a monument warning us of the consequences of turning a blind eye to the Scriptures.
Those warnings grow more ominous as immorality increases.
Because, while people can ignore and governments can outlaw the message, no one can outrun the consequences.
GOD reigns sovereign over all nations.
He is intimately involved with their prosperity.
He raises up and establishes leaders and removes them.
Paul explained it this way to the pagan Greek philosophers in Athens:
24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
(Acts 17:24-28 NIV)
In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul wrote:
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Rom. 13:1 NIV)
Humans depend upon GOD's guidance to make consistently wise choices.
If there is any lesson history has taught us, it's that what seems like a good idea at the time often isn't.
Even the most carefully-thought-out choices sometimes end in disaster.
We simply lack the ability to foresee the consequences of our own choices.
The prophet Jeremiah expressed it this way:
23 I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself,
Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
(Jer. 10:23 NASB)
Wisdom is only given by GOD.
The wisest human, Solomon, instructs us, saying:
1 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.
(Prov. 2:1-11 NIV)
Have you ever seen something, such as a law or governmental decision gets approved when it seems so obviously a poor decision?
For example, a government official who appears utterly and completely incompetent or immoral gets reelected or remains in power.
Yeah, me too.
The Scriptures indicate that when a society rejects or ignores GOD's principles and instructions, He gives them over to a form of illogical thinking, resulting in decisions which do not lead to prosperity.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
(Rom. 1:28 NKJV)
GOD uses progressive discipline upon those He loves.
In Hebrews, the writer warns those Christians, saying:
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
(Heb. 12:5-7 NIV)
Similarly, Moses warned the brand new nation of Israel what would happen if and when they forgot GOD.
Here's a taste:
15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:
16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.
17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed.
18 The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
19 You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
20 The Lord will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. 21 The Lord will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. 22 The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. 23 The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. 24 The Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed.
25 The Lord will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth. 26 Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 27 The Lord will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. 28 The Lord will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind.
(Deut. 28:15-28 NIV)
And lest we say, "Well, this was GOD's special people in Israel. He doesn't do this for all nations, especially not today," consider the numerous rebukes found in the prophets regarding other nations.
1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
see, it descends in judgment on Edom,
the people I have totally destroyed.
(Isa. 34:1-5 NIV)
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
the nations cannot endure his wrath.
(Jer. 10:10 NIV)
14 Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, 15 and I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they went too far with the punishment.’
(Zech. 1:14-15 NIV)
And we should never forget how GOD destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, including rampant homosexuality.
20 Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”
(Gen. 18:20-21 NIV)
24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, destroying all those living in the cities—and also the vegetation in the land.
(Gen. 19:24-25 NIV)
Even in Revelation, we see GOD still executing judgment over the nations who sold themselves to do evil in His sight.
So GOD's sovereignty and supremacy over the nations is a timeless truth.
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
(Rev. 19:19-21 NIV)
One of the consequences of sin is more sin.
As people refuse to learn, accept and obey GOD's instructions, their choices will lead to more problems.
Families break down.
People turn to external sources being deceived by the empty promise of a cure for their soul's desires. This creates more violence and addictions and brokenness. More violence requires more protection for the "innocent."
That means more cops, military, judges, prisons and taxes.
All of this is a downward spiral that has only one cure: repentance.
Jesus is the solution, but in order to heal our problems, we must submit to His terms, which are complete and total surrender of our hearts and wills.
GOD wants what is best for us.
His commands are for our good.
We can resist this and suffer the consequences, but the best thing would be to stop digging our hole of immorality deeper, to turn away from our ways and to fall down and ask Him to heal us, and then get up and start seeking Him so He might take away our blinders and replace them with wisdom.
That's the only way forward.
And so we each have a choice. Individually, we can stop up our ears at the message of Scripture, labeling its preachers as "haters," "homophobics," "Bible thumpers," "right-wing radicals," or whatever other term we wish.
As a nation, we can believe that humans are the only source of solutions for humanity's problems and that ancient wisdom of Scripture is nothing more than myths or fairy tales irrelevant for modern times.
We can pass laws that restrict so-called "hate speech" which warns people of the dangers of not fearing GOD.
Yes, we can do all these things, but we'll never outrun the consequences if we try.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Prov. 1:7 NIV)