Seven Characteristics of a Dying Nation

Today I am republishing a blog I first authored November 2013.  President Obama announced on November 20, 2014 that he is in effect, usurping the role of Congress and exercising a plan of action on illegal immigrants that is an overreach of his sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and Laws of the United States.  It behooves me to remind all who read this blog that we are facing more than a Constitutional crisis; a dying nation is inevitably a lawless nation whose leaders exercise authority unchecked by law and moral duty.

decaying DetriotOur world is continually changing.  The innovations of mankind in the 20th century were transforming and who would dare argue that inventions like the automobile, plane, phone, television, computer and internet have not had a profound impact on life?  Technology has revolutionized the world; however, one thing is undeniably consistent and unchanged about our world…the nature of man.  What man has been, he is today.  Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the heart of man is corrupt and the world of man is cyclical and predictable.  There is nothing new about man; he is today what he has always been—profoundly sinful (Romans 3:10, 23).

King Solomon, discerning the nature of man observed, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

In his book, Reason in Common Sense (1905), philosopher, essayist and novelist George Santayana made the observation, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”  Santayana’s quote has been modified by various public figures in the last century, among the most famous British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

The pages of history give testimony to the cyclical reality of the rise and fall of tattered flagnations.  As a student of the Bible and history, I find the scriptures are a rich repository of Truth for both statute and principle.  In our quest to understand the present condition of our nation and the reality of America’s moral decay, we look to the Bible and find a parallel decline with Israel and Judah when God’s people rebelled against His Law and turned to their own devices.

America is following ancient Israel’s movement from faith and prosperity to apostasy and decay.  We are no longer a nation that fears God.  We have rejected God and removed His Word as the moral basis of our laws and government.  Like Israel of old, we are a nation that calls “evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).  We have become a reprobate nation, legislating the slaughter of over 55 million unborn children.  We have elected lawless leaders who champion gross immorality and applaud the sins God condemns.  As a people, we have chosen a path of spiritual, moral and fiscal decay.

The prophet Jeremiah gives us a spiritual portrait of a nation on the brink of death in Jeremiah 5:22-31.  Seven characteristics of a dying nation are noted: The first characteristic of a dying nation is Spiritual Indifference (Jeremiah 5:22-23). God asked, “Do you not fear me?”  A dying nation has no fear of God’s judgment. The rebellious heart of the nation is exposed in these words, “this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.” 

The second characteristic of a dying nation is Ingratitude (Jeremiah 5:24).  Not only does a dying nation not fear God, the people are not thankful for God’s provision–the rain and the harvest.  A third characteristic of a dying nation is fergueson on fireSpiritual Insensitivity—an absence of spiritual discernment (Jeremiah 5:25).  A dying nation does not comprehend that its sins have sacrificed God’s blessings and invited His judgment.

The exploitation of the working poor and weak by the rich and powerful (Jeremiah 5:26-27) is the fourth characteristic of a dying nation.   Those in positions of power and wealth misuse the trust of the people, and ensnare them with lies and deceptions.   The fifth characteristic of a dying nation is Injustice…the people are denied justice when they appear before judges who turn a blind eye to “the deeds of the wicked” and fail to extend fairness and justice to the weak and needy (Jeremiah 5:28).

The sixth characteristic of a dying nation is that those in positions of moral and spiritual authority [prophets and priests] are liars and corrupt (Jeremiah 5:31a).  The prophets, the watchmen of ancient Israel, spoke lies and deceived the people.  Like political leaders of our day, the priests and leaders of ancient Israel were enamored with power, position and possessions and failed to serve as God’s representatives before the people.

Finally, in spite of the nation’s moral decay and its leaders’ dereliction of duty, we read, “my people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31b).  wolves in sheep's skin

It seems unconscionable that a nation on the brink of destruction would be populated by a citizenry who “love to have it so.”  However, history gives ample examples of nations who have followed that path of spiritual and moral decay.   Spiritual indifference bred ingratitude, contributing to spiritual insensitivity.   The working poor were exploited by the rich and powerful, denied justice, ruled by leaders who deceived them, but affirmed by a people who fawned over them in spite of their lack of character, integrity and righteousness.

The prophet Jeremiah was tasked with prophesying to a nation that had gone too far…the people would not repent of their sin and were past saving from God’s wrath and destruction.   God asked, “Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:29).

“Is it too late America?”   I fear our leaders have gone too far and the “people love to have it so.”  Every characteristic of a decaying, dying nation is true of America.  We have become a nation that is spiritually indifferent, thankless, lacking in spiritual discernment, exploited by the rich and powerful, denied justice, electing leaders who lie, scheme and deceive…with citizens who “love to have it so.”  The only hope for America is that we would repent of our sin as a nation and turn back to God.

repent“If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them…10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jeremiah 18:8,10)

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith