Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 16, 1968
NUMBER 3, PAGE 6b-7a

"Righteousness Exalteth A Nation"

Leslie Diestelkamp

The text from which our title comes is Proverbs 14:34 and it must certainly challenge us today. "Sin", Solomon said, "is a reproach to any people." Then we, the people of this great land, must be terribly reproached — reproached before God and reproached before men.

In the previous century one observing visitor to our country said, "America is great because America is good." But no one would dare to say that today. Indeed, today America has a reputation everywhere as a land of lawlessness. The world hears of our arson and looting, of robbery and rape, of graft and murder. The honor, the dignity, the praise that formerly was attributed to our country has been replaced by suspicion of our motives, fear of our policies and scorn at our principles.

What Can Christians Do?

When God's people constitute a very, very small minority, what can we do? When we observe rampaging lawlessness, how may we respond? The single bullet of a mad assassins vengeful crime releases the pent-up fury of an oppressed people who really have been taught only one law — the law of survival. Misery and meagerness exist right beside prosperity and plenty. Multitudes of innocent people suffer needlessly because of the greed, the bigotry, the hatred in the hearts of a few.

Well, there are some things that Christians can do. We can start by putting hatred out of our hearts. We can demonstrate genuine love for all. And we can put away the works of the flesh (Gal. 5: 19-21) and demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in our hearts and lives. And then, when we have put our own house in order, we can pray for others, accompanying our prayers with righteousness, and fully expecting that God will hear and answer our plea for our land.

God Can Heal This Land Too

Long, long ago God offered a prescription for national healing. And he placed the whole burden upon his own people, not upon strangers. He said, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land" (II Chron. 7:14).

Indeed, even as we survey the history of all humanity, we find that really wicked nations have always fallen if they did not reform. I do not believe that God performs miracles regarding the nations of the world today, but his timeless, changeless, endless law still stands: as ye sow, so shall ye reap! When we sow hatred, we must reap violence. When we sow lust, we must reap corruption. But if we sow love and compassion, purity and devotion, goodness and mercy, then we shall reap joy and peace, and security and satisfaction.

So, Christians must not despair, If ten righteous people could have been found there, Sodom would have been spared, even though it was literally filled with wickedness. If a comparable part of our citizenship are truly righteous, we can then expect the nation to be spared even though wickedness still abounds. The influence of holiness radiating from the lives of Christians must permeate our whole society. Ours cannot be a truly great society unless we are a truly moral people. The elimination of poverty and the establishment of justice for all are great national goals, but the pursuit of godliness is much more important, even politically. We need a year of mourning in sack-cloth and ashes much worse than we need (a) national day of prayer, for we pray in vain unless we first repent.

Then let us not forget that Christians must do two things for the national good, and indeed for the benefit of humanity: (1) We must teach and preach true moral principles with zeal and fidelity even in the face of opposition and rejection. John preached repentance to the people in view of the kingdom that was coming. Jesus reminded the people of the punishment of God upon other people, and he said, "Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish," And while we teach of the true church, of baptism, of worship, etc., we must not fail to preach repentance. (2) We must live in such a manner that our examples will lead others. And this kind of behavior by Christians will not only influence people for good, but it will avail at God's throne for humanity's benefit, bringing his blessings upon the land.

Indeed, "Righteousness exalteth a nation."

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