The Decline

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Three Things

Rev. Sudha Mehta©

For years now I have taught my students that there are three things that will determine the direction of human society.

1 Religion/Faith.

2 Politics

3 Culture.

Among the three, that which is on top determines how the other two will work, and how functional and healthy society will be. Law and order follow when these work in harmony whereas  lawlessness and disorder prevail when these three are not in harmony with each other.

I am of the strong belief that God has set things in order. He set His Word on high so that we on Earth can have peace and satisfaction in our daily lives. Understand that in the Bible, Religion and Politics intertwine all through, and Cultural norms are derived from this intertwining. When God has preeminence, and His way is followed life flows smoothly.

There are those who believe Religion should be left out of Politics. Many of them even call themselves Christians. These are sadly and gravely mistaken in their thinking that the two are mutually exclusive. God who gave the Temple and Religion, is the same God who also gave the Law (Torah) to live by. 

If a Christian is to live in society, and to participate in it, he cannot separate his faith from  his functioning in society, nor must he. If I have faith in God, I serve Him and carry Him in my heart no matter where I go. To be asked to leave my faith out of my everyday life, my workplace, or anywhere else, makes it impossible for me to be productive in society. My faith determines my actions towards others.  How I live, act and behave cannot be separated from my faith and hence from the One in whom my faith rests.

jesus in the synagogue 2 nazareth photo from freebibleimages

photo from freebible images

Read the following exchange:

Mark 12: 28  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

32And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.(ESV)

Notice Jesus didn’t speak of all the commandments from the Old Testament. He didn’t say “thou shalt not steal.” or “thou shalt not lie” etc. He summed up all the Law given in the Old Testament in these two. These two Commandments expanded would include all of the ten commandments, wouldn’t they? Think about it!

jesus at synagogue in nazareth photo by freebibleimages

Photo from Freebibleimages

When God sets the order for us to follow, we not only love and serve Him, we also extend that same love and  service to man. You cannot say “I love God but am free to rob my neighbor, or defraud my friend.” You cannot love God and then lie, manipulate and cheat your way ahead in your career or position. you cannot love God and serve Him, and turn around to covet your neighbor’s wife, or anything that belongs to the neighbor. How could you love and serve God, and commit adultery or fornication? Would your conscience permit it? Indeed, if you can do anything that God has forbidden and not have your conscience bothered, you have no love for God! If you say you love God and serve Him, how would you be able to commit murder? In truth, Your love for God and your service to Him transforms you from within to love your neighbor as well, and do him no harm, but only good.

Now in the Bible while the office of the priests was totally distinct from the kings, and they were to be kept separate, they nonetheless could not function without each other.

The political side was handled by the kings, and they handled the application of law and order with the counselors/wisemen and the military, but since the law was given by God to begin with, the inclusion and blessing of the priestly class was imperitive. Additionally God had the prophets to bring His Word directly to the rulers.

As long as these branches worked well together, there was peace in the land. Culture, defined as the customary beliefs, social norms, shared values, communication systems and group practices of a society, flowed out of their shared faith, and laws set by the God they followed, presented by the priests,  and enforced by the kings.

A breakdown at any level in these groups fractured the harmony God intended and eventually led to a breakdown of society.

For example the Bible says when the land is governed by righteous leadership, people are happy, but when the wicked are in charge, the people are oppressed.

Proverbs 29: 2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan.(ESV)

To the tyrannical government God says:

Isaiah 10: 1Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and issue oppressive decrees, 2to deprive the poor of fair treatment and withhold justice from the oppressed of My people, to make widows their prey and orphans their plunder.(BSB)

Now to bring it to the present: I mourn as I see my Nation decline. Never did I imagine that a Nation could fall like this, or this fast away from God. Yes, I speak of my Country, the USA.  The Country I have loved as my own with pride and joy for more than half a century.

I came as a young immigrant, (legally, lawfully) and fell in love with it.

I fell in love with the natural beauty. I fell in love with the people, the culture and every thing I saw. Small town living was a refreshing experience. I was young, and at that time politics was not on my horizon of interests. Even the things of God didn’t interest me much then . . . except, I had been taught well by my parents of right and wrong, truth and lies, conscience and character. I owe them eternal gratitude for that. They taught me well to guard my heart, my honor and my integrity.

Today, decades later, while I still enjoy small town living and a very friendly community, I see change coming swiftly. This change is not for the better, change driven by forces that do not serve God.  This change started many deacdes ago, even before I arrived, but God sheltered me in the small town. 

When Israel in the Old Testament turned from God, and chose to leave Him out of their political and cultural decisions, apostasy followed. Everytime they turned their backs to God, they ended up serving other gods and their culture devolved. The kings made terrible political decisions guided by personal ego and false prophets and ended up in calamitous situations resulting in war with other nations and dissensions within. Oppression was the inevitable result. People ended up in exile and slavery. What started as serving other gods, and living lives of immoral behavior led to losing their homes and lands, and forced labor in servitude to other kings in foreign lands.

It all started with losing the one thing they needed most: the reverent fear of God their Creator.

Proverbs 1: 7The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and discipline.(BSB)

This same backsliding started enmasse in my Country decades ago. Several decades ago the political realm decided to remove God and His Word from the classroom. They decided God had no place, prayer was too binding and enslaving, and His Word too out-of-date for the modern, enlightened society. They did it because of pressure from the elite few in the culture, who determined they knew the will of the people. The Church sat silent until it was too late.

So, Culture determined which way society had to move, and Politics said to Religion “Stay out! Keep God out of our educational systems.”

Little by little societal norms began to erode. Church attendence began to slide, over time clergy began to lose the respect of people. Children were not trained in school or in church to pray or to revere God the way they were before. Parents began to slide in their faith as well. Over time, those children that grew up in schools where God, His Word and prayer was forbidden, went on to colleges and workplaces without the training in righteousness that they should have had.  This gave way to more and more godless behavior. Colleges only fueled the fire by making that genaration even more godless.  The next step was a natural flow into a lifestyle of godlessness, sex outside of marriage, divorce rates mounting, cohabitation without marriage, children born to people out of wedlock and so much more. Drunkenness, illicit drugs, violence, crime . . .  you name it, we had it in larger numbers than ever before.

Out of these same godless educational systems arose those who now had degrees and could join the faculties of the very same colleges that trained them. They became lawyers and judges and joined the military rising to high ranks, and yes, they became politicians, congressmen and women, senators and yes,  even occupied the highest office in the land . . . the presidency. 

One decision: to leave God, forbid prayer and the teaching of His word in the classroom changed the make up of a Nation in the span of one generation. Godlessness has spread from preschool to the President’s office.

Over 60 million babies have been killed as a result, or should I say offered up to our version of the Old Testament god Baal who required child sacrifice. How is it different? 60 million lives that could have been assets to a Nation. 60 million that could have made a Nation strong. 60 million possibilities of lawyers, doctors, scientists, astronauts, mothers, fathers, soldiers, workers at any level, senators, even a few presidents, and so much more.

Everyone is “free” to follow their own way much like it was in the Book of Judges in the Bible.

Judges 17: 6b everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (BSB)

Trouble is when you abandon God, He has no choice but to let you learn some lessons the hard way. He has no choice but to remove His protection and favor and that, my friends, leads to slavery. Slavery to sin, slavery to tyrants, slavery to other nations.   

Today more than ever before this applies to us:

Isaiah 5: 20Woe to those who call evil good

and good evil,

who turn darkness to light

and light to darkness,

who replace bitter with sweet

and sweet with bitter.

21Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes

and clever in their own sight.(BSB)

To the leadership of a nation that has left God and chosen to walk in the way of lawlessness, making their own laws at will, God places a question:

Isaiah 10: 3What will you do on the day of reckoning

when devastation comes from afar?

To whom will you flee for help?

Where will you leave your wealth?

4Nothing will remain but to crouch among the captives

or fall among the slain.(BSB)

Fifty plus years later, I find my Country changing so rapidly for the negative, I am left stunned and mourning.

It is not that there are no righteous, indeed there are millions of them. I know half the Country believes as I do.  I have determined to pray for my Nation, and to walk with my God, no matter what. Those that believe as I, need also to pray and work to stop the decline.

What I see in my Country may well be happening in your land as well. I see it in the news from all around the World.  Know that the Bible says: 

Hebrews 10:38But My righteous one will live by faith;

and if he shrinks back,

I will take no pleasure in him.”(BSB)

You have a choice, all of us do. You can set your lot with the wicked, and join them in their downfall, it will come for sure . . . or you can set your eyes on God who loves you and who alone can set you on the path to peace, love and joy.

Matthew 7: 13Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. (BSB)

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Stay blessed.

One Comment Add yours

  1. akn71 says:

    very good post.

    Liked by 1 person

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