Summary: Idea: No God. No gratitude. No accountability. No moral consensus regarding right and wrong. Law replaces national conscience.
Idea: No God. No gratitude. No accountability. No moral consensus regarding right and wrong. Law replaces national conscience.
* For these two weeks, I'm putting on my prophet's hat.
* Several of the issues we face as a nation intersect with biblical principles.
* So, I decided we should talk about it.
* The current debate continues to be framed as rich vs. not so rich, capitalism vs. socialism, big government vs. big business, and Republican vs. Democrat.
* But there is another contrast that would better frame our current national debate--one that if taken seriously might restore our national conscience.
* Namely those who recognize God as the ultimate source of our provision and those who do not.
* Those who are not ashamed to say, "In God we trust" and those who say, "In government and American ingenuity we trust. In 'we,' we trust."
It's 'grateful and accountable' vs. 'ungrateful and unaccountable.'
If you are uncomfortable with connecting spirituality and state, that's understandable . . . especially as we watch the Middle East.
But if you remove religion--divine accountability and conscience--you have to replace it with law. As a culture becomes more secular, it requires law that is more complex and the culture becomes more litigious. At that point, right and wrong is not determined by law, but by judges and jurors. If a court finds you not guilty, you are not guilty. CASH replaces CONSCIENCE. The person with the most money wins.
Law without God means "I'm not guilty until I'm caught."
In China: The mountain is high and the Emperor is far away.
How many laws are there in a healthy marriage? Home? Company? Few.
1. Several weeks ago, President Obama appealed to the conscience of AIG employees who received big bonuses. He said, "You ought to give those back."
Based on what? Law? Nope. Fairness? Common decency? What is that based on? What makes something the 'right' thing to do if there is no law? He shamed them . . . the public sense of right and wrong that went beyond law.
2. Our national conscience was shaped by a sense of personal accountability to God--the God of the New and Old Testaments.
3. So much so that our current national motto is: "In God We Trust." [In 1956, the 84th Congress passed a joint resolution to replace the existing motto with "In God We Trust." President Eisenhower signed the resolution into law on July 30, 1956.]
I. Accountability to God and God-talk has fallen and is falling out of favor.
A. We don't want to make people uncomfortable.
B. By eliminating God from our national conversation, we eliminate our ability to publically recognize the source of our prosperity.
C. If we can't give God the credit, we will take the credit.
II. Prosperity without gratitude makes us arrogant.
A. This is the number one complaint leveled against Americans by the rest of the world.
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?'" (Proverbs 30)
B. Increasingly, we are a nation that is saying: "Who is the Lord?"
III. Just before Israel entered their new home, Moses gave them a little pep talk and warned them of this dynamic.
A. God would give them a system of civil laws, but that wasn't enough. If they were not committed to HIM, it wouldn't work.
B. In this system, there would be no KING. The authority would not rest in a person, but in law and conscience.
C. The hope was that God's law would shape their conscience. They were coming out of Egypt with slave law: Pharaoh was law.
The entire talk is found in Deuteronomy. I want to read part of Chapter 8.
6Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.
Notice the connection between law and God. To obey his law is to honor him.
7For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land--a land with . . .
Then he goes on to describe how rich the land is--water, springs, copper, bread, honey, barley.
. . . and you will lack for nothing.
10When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.
Recognition and gratitude were critical components. This is why it is so dangerous for us to continue to remove GOD from the national conversation. It keeps us from expressing THANKS. If we don't express thanks, what happens? We forget and take credit.
11Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.