5/14/13 - PTC_Proverbs 14 - "A Righteous America"
Priority Time Challenge 2013
To view the instructions for our journey through the Proverbs and the daily schedule, click here.
"Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people."
Who? The focus of this passage is a "nation." I'm grateful that God does not allow us to simply think about self. My tendency is to give most of my thought to me and mine and not always see myself as part of a nation. This being the case, most of those reading this post are part of the good ol' USA. "We the people" have a lot to consider when we think about this nation.
What? Solomon, who is writing here, is drawing a contrast (a staple move for the Proverbs). The contrast is between "righteousness" and "sin" and the corresponding effect on a people or nation. This is about where this post gets uncomfortable. Let me say that I am firmly on the side of keeping a "redemptive view" of our nation. I spend very little time and see very little value in spouting off about the "problems in our nation." However, there is a difference in being judgmental, condemning and unloving and recognizing where we as a people are sinful and opposed to the ways of God.
This is the essential problem in all people, sin. I know there are many that shy away from the old fashioned term, but sin is still alive and well in our world and remains the reason why Jesus came to give His love to us and His life for us. We are sinful. As a people we are sinful. The reality is this - "righteousness exalts a nation." God has ordered the universe to thrive when righteousness is present.
I think the word "righteousness" has been so over-used as a negative term, as in, "self-righteousness." Righteousness is NOT negative. I'd like to propose a new way to look at righteousness…righteousness is when we are most human. We tend to describe being human as being flawed, "I'm only human!" However, when sin entered into the human race, it robbed humanity of some of its beauty and splendor. We became sub-human. Sin caused us to "miss the mark" of God's standard. We are less than human when we sin. And this is why this text is such a pertinent reminder. Our nation has been ravaged by sin. I say than not with disdain in my voice but with with heartbreak because we are missing so much of what God would want for us. When we look around this country we see a downward spiral of sin driving us further and further away from true humanity. We are showing signs of our lack of humanity. I see three sins that are condemning our nation right now.
- Sex. We are in a sex-obsessed nation that celebrates sex any way you want it which means there is no longer a sense of righteous sex. Our nation prefers sinful sex. The result: we don't treat people like people of value, we see one another as a means to a pleasurable end. And in the wake are countless people who are wounded and broken because they know this is not how things should be.
- Convenience. We are in a convenience society that demands individual preference is the greatest good. This is largely what drives the abortion industry. With the discovery of an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy, we ensure that we will not be inconvenienced and we take the life of an unborn child. Again, I am very conscience that there are many who felt trapped and even pressured to have an abortion and now they live with the unbearable pain of silent regret. When we make self the center of the universe, the actual universe does NOT agree and we will feel the pain of those choices at some point. This goes for divorce as well. We can't stand the idea of living something that isn't what we expected. So, we get out because we can. We fail to see that God may do more good in our lives through perseverance than our flawed attempts to make life work.
- Greed. We are consumed with consuming. We cannot get enough. We are not content and we strive for the next best thing in hopes that we will one day be happy. Christians are not exempt here. We all squirm a little when we hear the latest sermon on giving. We avoid ways to be generous and yet we know that our love and respect and gratitude for generous people is greater than all others. We hate greedy people. But we are greedy. God help us.
Why? Why would anyone choose to swim upstream in this nation and choose a life of righteousness? Because we believe "Love Works." Those of us who claim to be Christians must love the Lord Jesus enough and our great nation enough and choose to be righteous. When we live righteously, we give this nation a chance for redemption. We bring the favor of God back into play and we exalt our nation. It saddens me that among those three sin arenas I listed, Christians are equally as guilty. This is to our shame. We have every reason to live differently. Our nation is losing its difference because we are.
How? We need to start with our own lives. It starts with a personal decision to surrender to Christ and live in daily submission to God. Next is prayer. We need to pray for our nation. We should pray for other believers. We will not see revival in our nation emerge from a downward spiral of sin. Revival will emerge from a movement of people swimming upstream.
Personal Application: I need to be more diligent to pray for our nation. I need to pray for our president. I need to pray that the political leaders that build careers on sin would be found out and displaced from leadership. I need to remember that the simple, private and unnoticed decisions to choose righteousness is never wasted.
Interactive prayer: God, I do pray for our nation, our leaders and for President Obama. God, help me not get into the "he said, she said" of current events but instead remember that the real battle for the good of our nation is won in prayer and personal responsibility. I do pray that you allow sin to be exposed in a way that creates a path to redemption. I pray that many political leaders will have visions and dreams about Jesus and repent of their sin and surrender to Christ. God, we have been praying for revival…please allow it to come in our lifetime. I pray that we will do our part at Highpoint to equip the next generation to be righteous and bring your exaltation to our nation. God, I pray for a righteous America.
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