Summary: Does Proverbs 14 forecast what lies ahead for us? Have we invited God’s blessing or wrath?
“ONE NATION UNDER GOD...”
INTRODUCTION: Today we celebrate America’s 228th birthday. As a nation we have enjoyed the manifold blessings of God. During the past two centuries the United States has become the world’s greatest economic, political, and cultural power. America has had the privilege of being used by God to carry the Gospel to the world. America has seen more new enterprise and invention, and has seen the people of this nation maintain a higher standard of living, better housing, more food, greater freedom in their civil, religious and personal lives than any other people in history have enjoyed. But the question today is will we continue to enjoy these blessings? Does Proverbs 14 forecast what lies ahead for us?
I. Righteousness exalts a nation
A. Righteousness lifts up or raises a nation to honor.
B. Righteousness--just principles and actions.
C. The word “righteous” goes back to a root word meaning “to move in a straight line.” Thus, “righteous” (rightwise) means “in the straight (or right) way.” Used with reference to morality, “righteous” means living or acting in the right way.
D. History confirms the principle, that a nation’s true greatness is not based on its numbers, its military, or its political structure. Nor is it a nation’s intellectualism, progress, or cultural greatness that determines its true greatness. What determines a nation’s greatness is its private, public, and international conduct. Whether a nation’s conducted is in accordance with the standards of God and according to His moral guidelines will determine the greatness of any nation. Righteousness elevates a nation to a place of prominence and excellence.
E. Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.
F. In the 1830’s Alexis de Tocqueville toured America. When his tour had been completed, he made this observation: "I have toured America, and I have seen most of what you offer. I’ve seen the richness of the fields and the wealth of your mines. I’ve seen your industrial might, the beauties of the rivers, the streams, the lakes, and the grandeur of the mountains. I’ve noticed the abundance of the forests and the marvelous climate with which you are blessed. In none of these things did I see the cause for the greatness of America. It wasn’t until I went into your churches that I saw the reason for America’s greatness. America is great because America is good; and as long as America is good, America will be great. If it ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great."
G. America had a very honorable history beginning on April 29, 1607, when it was born as travel-weary Englishmen landed at Cape Henry on the shores of Virginia, establishing its first foundations to be followed by the Pilgrims. In the Mayflower Compact of 1620, the Pilgrims reaffirmed the mission set forth by the original Virginia settlers. Later, the Puritans carried the Cape Henry legacy further. On the deck of the Arbella, halfway between England and Cape Cod, leader John Winthrop declared, "We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world." - Craig von Buseck, Why We Need Revival, The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc. © 2004
H. The godly foundations of our society are further buttressed by the words of many of our forefathers.
1. Patrick Henry – "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not be religionists but by Christians....not on religions but ton the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
2. James Madison, our 4th President – "We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
3. Daniel Webster – "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering, but it we neglect its instruction and authority, no man can tell how soon a catastrophe may overcome us, and bury all our glory in profound obscurity."
4. James Wilson, co-author of America’s first legal commentaries of the Constitution and original Justice on the Supreme Court – "Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other. The Divine law...forms an essential part of both."