Skip to content

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

April 23, 2015

“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

In the 19th century research surfaced on the moral conditions that preceded the fall of some of the world’s greatest empires. Though some question can be raised about the research methodology, one conclusion seems undeniable. A strong correlation exists between a country’s morals and it’s continued strength. When a country reaches a certain point of immorality its downfall as a world power appears to be inevitable.

The weakening of the moral structure of a nation weakens its entire sociopolitical foundation. Morals matter for national security. The Bible says righteousness exalts a nation. When a nation’s leadership upholds decency and morality, that is good for the entire nation. When the rulers of a land act morally towards the people, that is good for the entire nation. When the people of the land are moral, upright people, that is good for the entire nation. Righteousness is in the nations best interest. On the flip side, sin brings shame to any people. Notice Proverbs 14:34 does not just say sin is a reproach to Israel, or to Christian countries. Proverbs says sin is a reproach to any people. Any nation is shamed by sin. And the nation does not get to define what it believes to be sin. The nation doesn’t get to hold a vote and declare certain behavior a sin and other behavior not a sin. God determines what is sin and what is not sin. God has declared in His Word what those sins are. When any nation begins to promote behavior that God forbids, that nation is bringing shame upon itself. That nation is doing the opposite of that which will raise it up. That nation is undercutting it’s own foundations.

Greed provides a clear and present illustration of why sin is a reproach. Greed is often easy to justify and explain away. Unless one is discussing someone like Scrooge or Bernie Madoff, greed isn’t seen to be that big a deal. What happens when a nations citizens live greedy lives, interested only in their own personal gain? What happens when a persons prime motivation is his own gain and his own happiness? Instead of a nation of hard working, fair minded people seeking to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, such a people become a nation of self serving narcissists who are only motivated by their immediate pleasure and interests. The nation becomes filled with people who only do that which can be shown to bring them some immediate gain. Instead of an honorable people, the nation becomes one of cut throats, sharks, con artists and thieves. The inevitable result is that man living on an income that does not provide for an acceptable number of his pleasures considers himself a wage slave. He protests the actions of his employers, cuts corners at work, slows down production and disregards quality controls. He and his fellow wage slaves reduce the profitability of the company and then at the end of the year demand a significant pay increase. Because the company has also been doing all it can to make as much money as possible for the top few, it cuts wages to as low as it can. The company buys cheaper, low quality materials and begins producing an inferior product. The customers notice the change and begin buying from other companies, further decreasing the first company’s profits. However, since the other companies are also bent on maximum gain for themselves regardless of the cost to anyone else, they all enter into a vicious cycle in which workers are paid the lowest the employer can get away, the product is of the lowest quality the company feels it can market and everyone, even those at the very top, find their greed is not satisfied. In this simple and often practiced, illustration we can see a glimpse of how sin undermines a nation. The greed of a people leaves many in financial straits, many more angry and discontented, destroys work ethic, devalues the product and ultimately leaves everyone clamoring for more. What nation can stand with that kind of workforce?

A few years ago the US Army adopted the advertising slogan, “An army of one.” That campaign didn’t last long and didn’t seem to work out very well. Someone in the Army forgot that being a soldier isn’t all about yourself. I know I would not want to be anywhere near battle with a squad mate who thinks it’s all about him, what he’s getting, how he’s feeling and his own well being. That narcissist is going to get a lot of people killed. An army of one is an army destined to defeat. In contrast, the Marines advertising emphasized being a part of a corps, honor, courage and fighting for something greater. One slogan (in my opinion the best one) read “A commitment to something greater than themselves.” That’s the kind of corps I would want to be a part of. That is a group of men who are going to work together, sacrifice for one another, and in the end do great things for their country. A corps, community or country based on selfish individualism will never be strong or healthy. A nation that promotes sin promotes selfish individualism. Every sin is rooted in human pride and selfishness. Every sin is committed because the individual wants to be number one. Why would any nation want to promote extreme selfishness and self-centeredness? When a nation promotes sinful behavior, it is promoting a nation of one. That nation is supporting and furthering selfishness. In the end, that nation’s citizens will become a rabble and a mob bent only on their personal interests no matter what it costs others nor what it costs themselves in the end. A selfish, self-centered population has no stability, no strength and will not stand for long. Sin always brings shame on a people, because sin is selfishness and pride. Sin is contrary to the mindset necessary for a group of people to live together in a strong community.

Righteousness is good for our country, because the social and economic structure of a nation is weakened when it promotes evil. When the pride and selfishness of the human heart is allowed to go unchecked citizens, workers, employers and politicians will all begin to act for their own good and not the common good. The selfish interests of the individual will become more important than the promotion of benefit for all. The nation will become a hollow tree. It may look good on the outside but it is rotten and dead inside. Destruction is inevitable.


Comments are closed.