2 CHRONICLES 6:21-31, 36-39 MARCH 15, 2015
“THE SINS OF A NATION”
We are living in the age of the individual. We most often look at the world only in how it affects us individually. We seldom look at events from a group perspective. This is not surprising as by birth we are self-centered. We know mentally that events affect groups and even nations. But instinctively we will judge an event in how we will be affected as individuals. When taxes are raised we first think how it will have an effect on our personal finances and then secondly how it will affect our community. When we consider the problem of sin we usually begin with our own sinfulness. Today, I want us to reflect on what happens when a nation is judged for what it has done or not done.
Wednesday night I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the significant rise in births born to unwed mothers living with a partner. “More than a quarter of births to women of childbearing age in the past five years were to cohabiting couples, the highest on record and nearly double the rate from a decade earlier, according to new data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for 2011 to 2013. In all, 40% of the 3.93 million births in 2013 were to unmarried women.” Scripture has always been clear that all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sin. The article went on to document the significant difficulties children will suffer as a consequence.
In the United States abortion remains a curse on our country. At last count there have been over 50 million babies killed since abortion was legalized in 1973. Here are some facts I gleaned from Operation Rescue.
- There are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year.
- By age 45, one third of American women will have had at least one abortion.
- The U.S. has the highest abortion rate (19.4 per 1,000) of any western industrialized nation.
The sole bit of good news is that abortions have been declining in our country since 1980.
In our country gay marriage will most likely be approved by the Supreme Court this summer. Marriage is being redefined in this country as a union between two people instead of the biblical definition of a union between a man and a woman. Many denominations have followed the culture and have redefined marriage as well as approving homosexuality as being permissible.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (9.3 percent of persons aged 12 or older). Of these, only 2.6 million—11.2 percent of those who needed treatment—received it at a specialty facility. Americans are destroying themselves and hurting others with their addictions.
Political corruption and mismanagement is driving this country into an ever increasing debt load. The federal deficit is now over 18 trillion dollars. Huge percentages of Americans no longer trust our government to do the right thing. The majority of our politicians no longer know how to tell the truth. Lying and deception has become their native language.
God judges nations as well as individuals. Jeremiah 9:5-9 (NIV) “5 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. 6 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD. 7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? 8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor, but in his heart he sets a trap for him. 9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the LORD. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?” Does this passage only refer to ancient Israel and this no longer relevant for us today?
God answered this question in another message to Jeremiah. Jeremiah 12:17 (NIV) “17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the LORD.” God also gave directions for leaders and rulers in Proverbs. Proverbs 16:12 (NIV) “12 Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.” If nations are established by doing what is right in God’s eyes then the reverse is also true. Nations are destroyed by their wickedness. Psalm 110:6 (NIV) “6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.” God judges all nations and each nation will reap what they have done. We as a nation have been rejecting more and more of God’s laws which he gave to govern the nations by providing a standard of behavior in which we might live at peace with one another and with God. One of the problems is like the frog in a kettle. A frog will jump out of a hot pot of water, but if the water is heated slowly the frog will not realize what is happening and will boil to death. As a nation we have grown accustomed to the slow degeneration of our morals along with the increase of wickedness.
King Solomon told the people when the Temple was dedicated what would happen if the people turned away from God. Solomon called on God to listen to the prayers of the people. Solomon then laid out a plan for the people when they should pray and ask for forgiveness. In each of the following we should pray:
- (v. 22) When we sin against other people.
- (v. 24) When the nation loses a battle.
- (v. 26) When there is no rain.
- (v. 28) When famine, plague, or any disaster occur.
- (v. 34) When a nation goes to war.
- (v. 36) When the people sin against God
In each of these occasions we are called upon to confess our sins and God will forgive us.
2 Chronicles 6:30-31 (NIV) “30 Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), 31 so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.”
2 Chronicles 6:36-39 (NIV) 36 “When they sin against you–for there is no one who does not sin–and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.”
Our country was founded on Godly principles and we committed ourselves as a nation to honor God. We, as a nation, have rejected the guidance of the scriptures and seek to separate God from everything we do. May we confess our own sins and God will forgive us. And as God’s people we are also aware of the sins of our nation. I call upon us to pray for revival so that our nation will repent of its sins and be forgiven by our gracious and merciful Father. I call upon us to stand up for the truth of God’s word. May we bear witness to the Light of the World, who is Jesus Christ our Lord.
I leave you with the promise from 2 Chronicles. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) “14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
May God have mercy on our nation and may he bring repentance and revival!
Let us pray.