Summary: lessons on the fallen nature of man and how it affected the creation of America
“The Deceitful Heart”
January 9, 2011
Jeremiah 17: 9-10
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
It had been over a century since courageous men and women packed up their belongings, picked up their families, left their homes and traveled to America to seek religious freedom. They could not tolerate their situation in England any longer. The government was a tyranny with a domineering King. The government would allow only one church – the Church of England. Some felt God calling them in another direction. Some could not agree with some of the beliefs of the state church. Some, like John Bunyan, could not agree to accepting a license to preach from the state. They felt it was agreeing that the state had authority over the church and God. So strong was Bunyan’s belief that he went to prison for over a decade simply because he refused to accept a license to preach in the Church of England. God led him to use that time to write the classic, “Pilgrims Progress”, but to get out of prison and back to his family - he simply had to accept a license to preach from the government. He wouldn’t do it. To do so, to him, meant you were saying God was not sovereign, the state was. It meant to him that to do so was saying that God was not the final authority, the government was. So he wouldn’t do it. He chose prison over their pulpit.
The people who first came to America were of that same spirit. They wanted to be free. They did not want a strong government ordering them around. They were probably much closer to anarchy than they were to tyranny. Those are the two extremes. EXAMPLE: Tyranny--------------------Anarchy
On one hand you have a tyranny; a dictatorship, a king, government control. On the other, you have no law. You have anarchy. The Bible tells us what happened when everyone “did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Since man is by nature, evil, they did some horrible things - murder, rape, stealing. When there is no law – people have a tendency to do whatever they think they can get away with. So tyranny is usually preferred over anarchy. That’s why people prefer a king – even a bad king is better than none. Now, if that king is good and righteous – it’s not a problem. Alexander Hamilton wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary."
But men are not angels. They are fallen creatures. Our hearts are bent toward sin and selfishness. So dictatorships always result in oppression for the people. Most would do as Pharaoh did in Egypt. Benjamin Franklin said,
“There is scare a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh – get first all the people’s money, then their lands, then make them and their children servants forever.”
The founding fathers hated tyranny – so when they formed the first government it was nearer to Anarchy then it was to Tyranny.
Before the drafting of the Constitution as we know it, we had the “Articles of Confederation”. Basically it said that the Federal Government would have no powers except those expressly authorized by the states. No executive, no judges, no taxing power, no enforcement power. It almost caused America’s defeat when Washington had no supplies for his men at Valley Forge.
What our Forefathers created in America was universally believed as a revelation from God. These men had been clearly led of God. God heard their prayers and intervened on their behalf time after time. Ours has been the best government in the history of the world. And the reason for it was because the patriarchs were such committed Christians and powerful pray-ers – and they believed the Bible. They believed man had a propensity to sin – and they had to create checks and balances to prevent it from become either a tyranny or an anarchy. Right in the middle was best. They called it people’s law. They believed in the power of the people. That is why in the preamble of the Constitution, in great big letters they began, “WE THE PEOPLE…” They wanted the power to remain with the people.
When our forefathers were creating this nation – the Bible was the greatest influence. But there were two philosophies of government they also considered. One was written by a man by the name of Jean-Jacque Rousseau. His was called the Feudal Ruler Model. It was like an inverted pyramid. At the tip was the individual, then families, then local government, then county government, then State government, and at the top was the Federal government. The Federal government had all the power. Rousseau saw man as a “malleable creature” to be molded by an enlightened government. Now this would be a good system if the Federal government was made up of angels or sanctified men. But it never is - so it winds up being a tyranny. This was the model used by Karl Marx, for communism. It was used for Fascism, and it was what created the blood bath of the French Revolution. It is, also, the model many of our Politian’s want to shape our country into. If you are at the top – there is a lot of power and wealth. Not so good for the common folk, tho.