Summary: 4th of July Patriotic Sermon
"WHEN A NATION’S GODLY LIGHT FLICKERS"
1 KINGS 22:51 - 2 KINGS 1:14
Some time ago I ran an experiment in my office. I retrieved a candle and matches and took both into my office and turned out the lights. My office has only one window and when the blinds are pulled it’s fairly dark. In this darkness I lit the candle and immediately there was a soft glow of light brightening up the room. It is always amazing to me just what the light of 1 candlepower is. Anyway, the next thing I did was to very gently blow against the flame, making the candle flicker. Some of you, as you picture this in your minds eye, are thinking, "I knew it, we’ve got a loon for a pastor!" But wait, I wanted to see just what happens when a candle flickers. I noticed two things: 1)The first, as most of you could expect, was that the light in the room was diminished. As the flame flickered the room grew darker. 2) As I watched the room in the flickering light I noticed things that were stationary in the steady light seemed to be moving in the flickering light. Dark shadows pranced about the room, contorting what was once familiar. It was kind of spooky.
I think things in this country of ours are more than "spooky." The moral decline in America is downright scary. Godly morals are like a flame that is flickering casting shifting norms and causing problems for our country and our families. Things have changed dramatically over the last several decades... and not for the better. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Take a look: VIDEO clip: Family Values 1:54
So, what can we do? Well, even if you don’t agree with everything in that video clip there’s one thing we can all agree on.. Things have changed... and those statistics tell us that the changes have not been for our good. And if the light of Godly morals continues to grow steadily dimmer then our country will be plunged into greater darkness and evil will prance about with glee. Psa 33:12- "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.." and Prov. 14:34: "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people."
So today, as we celebrate the 228th birthday of our independence as a country I want us to look at a time in the history of Israel that parallels where America is right now and where Israel was then. Israel began as a righteous nation. But gradually they drifted away from God and eventually she collapsed from moral decay. So, this morning, I want to look at some of the warning signs that were happening then and after seeing the warnings make some suggestions on how we can reverse the trend and begin bringing about the light of moral renewal.
I. A LEADERSHIP VOID DEVELOPS: 1 Kings 22:51 - 2 Kings 1:1
When Godly influence begins to diminish one of the things that starts to happen is that there is a leadership void that develops. Israel had drifted from God under the rule of King by the name of Ahab. Ahab had violated one moral principle after another. He had married a woman named Jezebel. Now, even if you do not know the biblical details of the story of Ahab & Jezebel you know she was one bad gal. Afterall, how many of you who have daughters said at one point.. “Hey, honey I know what to name our precious little girl: Jezebel!” Of coarse not. Just the name imparts evil. This woman had failed to listen to God and set up idol worship in the nation. Even after God had given an amazing demonstration of who He was in a place called Mt. Carmel, Ahab and Jezebel didn’t repent, in fact, she hired hit men to kill God’s prophet, Elijah. Ahab and Jezebel were incredibly evil and they died horrible deaths. Now, at the time of Israel in our text, Ahab’s son Ahaziah came to the throne. Vs:51- “Ahaziah son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years.” This would be an opportune time for national repentance for spiritual renewal. But Ahaziah picked up right where his wicked father had left off. That’s why we read in vss: 52-53 - “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he walked in the ways of his father and mother.. He served and worshiped Baal and provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger, just as his father had done. When Ahab died, there was a leadership void and for 2 years Ahaziah took the throne & made things worse.