I want to dovetail on this statement by Tozer, whose writing and preaching I love.
I've heard it said over the past few days, truly, that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34.
I've heard it said that for the sake of the nation, we need to be "more righteous". This troubles me and I'm submitting my thoughts for correction.
It seems to me that Proverbs 14:34 is a contrast (like most of everything from Proverbs 10-25), almost mutually exclusive virtues and vices. It also seems to me that, nationally, the US has never been "righteous" and that, indeed, it really cannot be without everyone in it essentially living fully for Jesus Christ. It also seems self-serving to suggest that we can become more righteous by moral actions, and thus more exalted. It also seems to me that our belief that we CAN do that is a form of pride which, ironically also VISIBLY/APPARENTLY exalts a nation.
What do I mean?
My mind is drawn this morning to Isaiah 14:1-23 and Ezekiel 14:1-19. Now, I know these passages are believed by many to refer to Satan. I'm not going to dispute that here. But, read these broadly and you get this unmistakable lesson: a nation of wealth and power lifts itself up in pride and is then destroyed.
And, the upshot is that what we may ascribe to "righteousness that exalts" may be "sin that reproaches" so long as we are looking to the fruit of the nation as proof of the tree. It underscores, in my mind anyway, that Proverbs 14:34 righteousness, if at all, as exclusive of any sin; in other words, if sin is also present and we see an exalted, prosperous nation lifted through it, we must conclude that the nation is exalted by pride, prosperous through pride and sin, and not by righteousness.
I'm deeply troubled that as we move forward Christians in America may wrongly read economic prosperity (and, I'm unconvinced for the moment that economic collapse or prolonged economic woe is imminent) as a "sign" that God has heard the prayers of Christians as we repent. I'm concerned that we will stop short of full repentance and holiness and revival only to be lulled back into a sense of "red, white and blue" and "God and country", etc.
My heart remains heavy but confident in our God. I don't have that confidence in the sense of those who profess Jesus because professions are cheap in our day.
Thoughts? (Or, am I just muddying it up really bad? :) )