Jehovah’s intent for ancient Israel was that they would be a glorious standard of wisdom to all the nations of the world as they upheld his righteous laws. He told them:
6Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Deuteronomy 4
As they would honor God’s laws, the nations of the world would honor them. The Lord Jesus once said “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more,” [Luke 12:48]. That is true of nations also. But God’s great expectations were eventually hamstrung by the rebellious, sinful ways of Israel, and they fell.
Fast forward several centuries to another nation very similar to Israel. It was a nation that also had to fight battles to establish itself as a free nation. It had its evils like slavery, but in spite of its faults, it upheld the standards of the Lord as found in the Bible and based its Constitution and laws on God’s eternal truths. And because of that, other nations looked up to it as a beacon of light. But like Israel, over time it prospered and began to forget the God of its forefathers and is now committing the same sins that led to ancient Israel’s fall. If you read Ezekiel 22, it sounds like he’s talking about the United States of America when he itemizes Jerusalem’s sins, which permeated their whole society, whether civil, social, or religious. Those sins were as follows:
- Violence & bloodshed, v. 2-4. The homicide & crime rate in the U.S. has been going down and we fare rather well compared to socialist, Islamic, and war-torn or drug-run nations. But when you factor in abortion nationwide and euthanasia of the Pacific Northwest, our rate of shedding blood shoots right back up.
- Idolatry, v. 3-4. This includes all false religion, i.e. anything that isn’t true Christianity. It’s because we have embraced & promoted these while despising Christianity that God is beginning to make us “a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.”
- Disrespect for parents, v. 7. This is in cases where parents deserve respect.
- Oppressing foreigners, the poor, the fatherless, and widows, v. 7, 29. We’re still doing okay on this front, but these groups all too often fall prey to scam artists and Latino foreigners are often targeted by racists.
- Disrespect for what God considers sacred, v. 8. Banning public prayer, banning sharing the gospel in public, not allowing the teaching of creationism, people burning and attacking churches, etc.
- Gossip & slander to harm people, v. 9. The latest tool being social networking sites used to ruin reputations.
- Lewdness, v. 9. Porn, sexting, LGBT pride parades, etc.
- Adultery & incest, v. 10-11.
- Conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, & excessive interest, v. 12. Excessive interest on credit card debt was a contributing factor to our latest recession and payday loan check cashing establishments have skyrocketed.
- Prophets for profit, v. 25, 28. All we have to do is turn on certain televangelists telling us Christians shouldn’t be poor or sick or that they will pray for our healing for an offering or that buying their latest book or DVD will revolutionize our lives. They’ll even throw in a “prophetic” (pathetic) word how God will exalt you immensely if you stroke their ego in some way. Others will just tickle your ears and act holy while they steal from the treasury when no one is looking.
- Profane priests, v. 26. Religious leaders and other believers who want to be “loving” and “non-judgmental” by not calling sin what it is and who promote or make excuses for their own sin.
- Predatory princes (government officials), v. 27. They will destroy whoever they have to, say whatever they need to, legislate however they wish to and slip through every legal loophole they can–all for dishonest gain.
Our saving grace
But unlike Israel (at least so far), we have a saving grace. There are people in our nation that are still on fire for God that are standing in the gap for righteousness and holding people accountable in spite of the darkness taking over our country. Israel wasn’t so fortunate (Ezekiel 22: 30-31). And we should thank God we aren’t that far gone yet.
–Harry A. Gaylord–