November 9, 1993
Sometimes the way nations try to govern themselves remind me of trying to fall up a tree, or out of a well. Could communist Russia put water in a pan on a hot stove and produce ice cubes? Could atheist Yugoslavia boil water and make it increase in volume, not evaporate?
Scientific laws are more reliable than that. The sun will rise tomorrow. (To be more correct, the earth should keep turning so our part of it faces the sun sometime in the next 24 hours.) Certain birds will fly south for the winter. Snow will melt in the spring. The force of gravity holds things to the earth. We can even expect mixtures of specific chemicals to explode when heated, or turn into a tasty cake, depending on the combinations.
Our world operates on scientific laws, yet other laws are necessary to our well-being, even to our survival. These are laws related to life-principles and moral values. They are as critical for human life as the law of gravity.
Some examples might include: lazy hands make a man poor; wisdom is found in those who take advice; failure to love others makes a person lonely.
Some people do try to bend them or operate without them. A lazy man may even win a lottery or inherit a fortune, and those who ignore wise advice might succeed for a little while. Even selfish, unloving people could have loyal friends, but for the most part, certain life principles are directly connected to quality of life. They make a difference.
It is the same with morals. The person who insists on an immoral lifestyle eventually finds themselves facing some kind of negative consequences. That is, the thief eventually gets caught (or lives looking over his shoulder). The murderer may lose his own life, or carry the guilt of his crime to his grave. The person who commits adultery, while he or she may not be aware of it, has lost something of their ability to properly relate to their own spouse. Anyone who gossips usually finds themselves either a victim of gossip or the recipient of a negative label.
These moral and life principles are not merely for individuals. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”
In this verse, righteousness is talking about a principle far beyond morals or common sense axioms. Biblically, righteousness includes a right-relationship with God (gained through faith) plus a life that is lived in righteousness or in obedience to Him. Therefore, a nation whose people (in the majority) honor God, trust Him, and obey Him, is exalted. They can expect some kind of recognition and success.
However the opposite is usually more obvious: a nation characterized by sin, by rebellion against God, by lack of faith, by absence of God in the lives of their people, is seldom exalted, at least for long. Disgrace will eventually come.
Some nations receive veneration because they are founded on biblical principles and certain results can be expected. Righteousness does foster peace, happiness and productivity.
On the other hand, some nations have ignored God and godly principles. Their people fight among themselves, are unhappy (thus alcoholism, etc. is a great problem), and there is not enough of the basics like food and clothing to go around. For them, trying to be exalted without godliness is like trying to make the sun rise in the west or expecting rivers run uphill.