Proverbs 29:1-2 – When liars, lawbreakers and the immoral lead a nation—that nation is in decline.

proverbs_t_nv4A brief word of introduction: Today’s blog is my 88th devotional thought from the book of Proverbs this calendar year. Those who have been reading a chapter in Proverbs a day and following the devotionals are nearing their third full reading of this wonderful book.  It is my prayer you are challenged and enriched by my labor to make these devotionals both practical and simple. I regret that I lack the time to respond to individual posts or inquiries; however, should you have suggestions I would love to hear from you at pastorsmith@hillsdalebaptist.org.

The format I am following in our study of Proverbs is one I use in my weekly sermon preparation. Before I begin writing a sermon, I do an individual word study of the passage.  Words have meaning and with a little effort we can mine the full meaning of what God’s Spirit was imparting to not only the writers of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:19-21), but also to you and me as we study God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). I have made it a practice to bracket my clarification of the text and trust it has enlightened your personal study.

Our study today consists of two proverbs that stand alone in their subject matter.

Proverbs 29:1“He, that being often reproved [rebuked; corrected] hardeneth [stiffen; rebellious resistance] his neck, shall suddenly [quickly; unexpectedly;] be destroyed [breakdown; crush], and that without remedy [cure; deliverance].”rom 6.23

The nature of sin and rebellion is that it emboldens, enslaves and eventually destroys the sinner. I am not sure who originated the following statement, but it is a good summary for today’s proverb:

“Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay.”

The nature of sin is that it is a destroyer.  Writing to Christians living in Rome, Paul stated:For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).  What a tragedy to follow the path of sin, death and destruction when the grace and mercy of God through Christ’s sacrifice for our sins is readily available to all who repent of their sin and receive Christ as Savior (Acts 16:30-31)!

Our second parable takes a political turn as it addresses a nation and the character of its leaders.

RighteousnessProverbs 29:2“When the righteous [just; lawful] are in authority [lit. grow great; are many; increase], the people [nation] rejoice [joyful; cheers; happy]: but when the wicked [immoral; ungodly; lawbreakers] beareth rule [have dominion; govern; reign], the people mourn [sighs; groans; sorrows].”

Take a few minutes and consider the state of our nation and the character of those who are leading our city, county, state and nation.

Are we a happy, cheerful nation?

Are Americans optimistic about the future?

Are we confident in where and how our leaders are guiding this country?

My opinion is the answer to the questions I put forward is—No!  No, we are not a rejoicing nation!  No, we are not optimistic about the future!  No, we are not confident in where and how our leaders are guiding the ship of State!America_in_Decline_xlarge

Why?  Where has pride and patriotism gone?  Why are we so pessimistic about the course of our nation and its future?

Answer—Look at the character of our leaders! America is declining on every front. When liars, lawbreakers and the immoral lead a nation—that nation is in decline. America is decaying spiritually, morally and financially.

There is no hope for America until we desire leaders who are good, honest and upright men and women.