July 21, 1992
In spite of the fact that the Bible is an all-time best-seller, there are over 400 million people in Western Europe that have never touched one. In fact, one of the first countries to print Bibles before the reformation now claims over 25% of its people are involved in the occult. Furthermore, the nation which produced the Bible authorized by King James (which held first place in book sales for over three centuries) has lost much of its influence as a world power through social breakdown and moral decline.
What happened to these nations that once held the Bible in high regard? Do attitudes towards God’s Word have any effect on general prosperity?
Christian historians would like to think so. Those nations founded on Biblical principles seem to enjoy certain blessings and a general prosperity that others do not — for example, contrast the United States with India.
To be fair, population, natural resources and other factors also influence prosperity. It would be more fair to compare Puerto Rico and Haiti. Puerto Rican statistics say about 20% of the population are evangelical Christians. Even though 80% are not, this figure indicates far more Puerto Ricans have a high view of Scripture than do the people of Haiti — where 85-90% are involved in varying degrees of Voodoo and witchcraft. Economically, Puerto Ricans also enjoy 10 times the prosperity of their Haitian neighbors plus a positive relationship with the United States. On the other hand, Haiti has been under economic sanctions because of ungodly government decisions.
Proverbs says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” and “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” While wicked individuals and ungodly groups often prosper for a time and righteous people may seem poor by the world’s standards, those who honor God are blessed. If in no other way, righteousness itself is a blessing.
When a nation wavers, what can only one, two or even five percent of its population do to prevent or reverse moral and spiritual decline? The small voice of those standing for Biblical values can seem lost in the loud demands of other groups who are sometimes just as small but are somehow given more attention. How can Christians be heard?
Although certain social activities may be helpful, the answer may not necessarily be in petitions, flag-waving and public outcry. If our voices go unheeded, could it be because we lift them in the wrong direction? Should we instead ask ourselves who do we want to hear us? And do governments and social agencies really know what changes are needed? Do they have the ability to make those changes? Or does the real power belongs to God?
The Lord did say to Israel, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land.” In context, the people had turned from God to follow the idolatrous practices of the nations around them and, as God said would happen, they lost the blessing of living under His favor. This conditional promise told them how to be restored — not by education, politics, or social intervention but by humility, prayer, repentance and obedience.
The Bible is a written revelation, recorded by holy men as they were moved by the Spirit of God. It explains how God works in and with mankind, how people have thought and acted in response to Him and the consequences of their actions. Not merely an ancient book of rules, this book discloses the mind of God. Through it we can know Him and how He sovereignly determines principles that affect our lives as individuals and as nations. We need His wisdom, His guidance and His enablement, not only in countries like India and Haiti but right here in Canada.