DECLINE CONTINUES WITH NATIONAL LEADERSHIP
This multi-part series looks at the principles found in the Book of Hosea, reflects on the conditions of today, and ultimately calls us to a decision point of how will we choose to respond to God.
The Book of Hosea, found in the Old Testament of the Bible, is a passionate picture of God’s continual pursuit of a people who have a continual disposition to reject Him. The northern nation of Israel (as separated from Judah to the south) was at a low point in its existence as a nation. Its culture had either totally rejected God’s guidelines or they had corrupted and perverted His standards with worldly thoughts and other religions to render them useless. Hosea was sent by God to declare final warning to return to God or there would be painful national consequences to their actions and behavior.
Within Hosea are four chapters that show the order of cultural rejection of God and establishes clear need for a healthy and engaged church in culture and society. Chapter 4 established the Lord’s case against Israel starting with the church and pastors (read Part 1 here). Chapter 5 continues by pointing out the failings of national leaders. Chapter 6 reiterates God’s grace and love that if people would repent (renounce their sinful behavior) God would forgive and heal. Chapter 7 summarizes that the culture had fallen too far and judgment against the nation was forthcoming. Please read Hosea Chapters 4 – 7.
DECLINE CONTINUES WITH NATIONAL LEADERSHIP
While continuing to call out the pastors, God broadens his accusations to include the behavior and actions of the leaders of the nation. His accusations against leaders include: they loved shame more than honor (4:18); they led the people into sinful behavior by setting conditions and circumstances (5:1); they had become like thieves (5:10); and they failed to seek God even when they knew something was wrong (5:13).
Love shame more than honor: The principle found in Hosea 4:18 is a condition where leaders would indulge in self-gratifying behavior and would then immediately turn to find more damaging behavior. The continual rejection of God continually led leaders farther from God. This is readily apparent today.
The arena of politics is a protected realm designed to protect those who are in office and who live according to various unwritten rules and norms of that realm. Those who do not conform are ostracized; this is particularly true where partisan (two party) politics reside. Godly standards are typically not part of these rules. Doing whatever it takes to stay in power is the norm. Power, much like any habit, is an addiction that leads to continual temptation. Unfortunately, honor (principle) is the casualty.
Legislation increasingly encourages sinful behavior: The conditions and standards that lead and guide moral and immoral behavior are set through legislation and policy. In the past, laws and policies were passed to encourage a moral nation. Today many laws and policies are increasingly designed to encourage an immoral nation.
We can see this in action:
- Law, policies, and regulations are put in place designed specifically to discourage a God-designed family structure through homosexual marriage laws and encouragement of single parent homes through welfare rules and regulations.
- Regulations and restrictions make it more difficult for the Church to exercise and extend God’s love to people unless it has government approval and does it in the way the government deems right.
- Since people won’t stop doing illegal drugs law makers are now legalizing (and taxing) marijuana and providing “safe” heroin injection sites.
- All homeless persons are looked upon as victims and provided blanket provision of free housing, food, care, and more. There is no differentiation between those truly in need and those who are homeless because of irresponsible behavior or simply by choice.
- Sexual perversion is celebrated and given special class protections (enhanced rights that supersede others rights).
- Government oversteps its proper place and acts the role of thief as they take in the form of taxes from some to redistribute to others.
- There is continual pressure to lessen the jail population through lowering the bar of what is considered worthy of jail time.
- Corporate greed is often encouraged through any number of protections (tax breaks, etc.)
At this point I often hear the declaration “you cannot legislate morality.” This may be true in a sense; people often fail to live up to moral standards. Past legislation and policy at least encouraged the concept of personal responsibility and accountability. Today, policy and legislation discussion often focuses on the idea of “protected immorally”. The thinking goes this way: 1) since people cannot live up to standards, 2) failure to live up to standards may make people feel bad about themselves (which only makes them do more bad things); 3) let’s remove any moral standards, 4) government then provides programs to help and protect people get through the consequences of poor decisions. This is not hyperbole, I have literally heard these conversations time and again.
This thought process is a far cry from God’s call that “We should help others do what is right and build them up… (Rom 15:2).” God’s design “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended (Rom 13:3)” has been turned upside down. Christians increasingly have more to fear from our rulers and criminals have increasingly less to fear. Leaders are to set conditions to help people live up to good standards; instead many leaders are systemically destroying and redefining “good” to be “bad”. It appears we have chosen to legislate immorality.
Every ill begotten law, policy, and regulation stem from leaders who are disconnected from God, unknowledgeable of God’s designs, not held to account by the church or Christians, and have thus chosen to create their false religion that will devour them along with the wealth (4:7).
Leaders look to all the wrong places for guidance: We know…and our leaders know…that our nation is headed in the wrong direction. But rather than seek God, our leaders seek help from all the wrong places. Hosea 5:13 describes “When Israel and Judah saw how sick they were, Israel turn to Assyria…”. Israel turned to worldly power and wisdom. They failed to turn to God who could save and restore their nation.
Discussions at all levels of government are devoid of any reference to God or His standards as solutions. Discussions around every issue look to the following wrong places 1) spend more money on the problem, 2) personal empowerment so people can try to fix themselves, 3) educate people at godless educational institutions, 4) partner with community organizations (so long as they will never hear the word “Jesus” spoken), and/or 5) or worst of all, the government declares itself the solution and grows itself. We can see, time and again, these solutions do not work. 2 Corinthians 4:4 reminds us “Satan who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” Every solution with God present is a solution where the “god of this world is present.” How can we expect turning to the 1) god of money, 2) the god of self, 3) the god of education, 4) the god of works, or 5) the god of government to solve the problems that they themselves created? Only by seeking the one true God can solutions come.
In America, the people are directly responsible for the quality of their leaders: Unlike Biblical times, we live in a nation where we directly choose the people who represent us and our values. The responsibility for changing the direction of our nation and the culture will only happen when we change the quality and content of the leaders we elect into office. The responsibility of poor character leaders lies with us. The good news is the selection of high character leaders also lies with us!
The Church plays a vital role in reestablishing righteous national leadership. The Church needs to teach, train, and equip people not just to live right lives at home, at the job, and in school; but also, to enthusiastically encourage, support, train, and educate those called to elected office. Just as Pastors and church leaders are constantly looking out for the next worship leader, youth pastor, children’s ministry leader so too should they be looking out for the next generation of national leaders. Once identified they should invest and do all they can to equip them for their call.
Christians must engage in political parties. As unfortunate as it is, the current set-up in America requires engagement and participation in political parties. Political parties serve to 1) vet and filter potential elected officials, and 2) set the platform of beliefs elected officials are encouraged to support. The Church can raise up thousands of well-equipped leaders but if those leaders don’t get on the ballot the effort is mute. Secondly, if the platform of stated values and beliefs are devoid of godly standards the effort is also mute. Biblical-worldview Christians are desperately needed in all political parties.
Christians active in party politics must step up their voices and act in faith. The focus of choosing candidates for office based upon the concept “they can win” or “they can hold onto the seat” is short-sighted and completely devoid of an active faith that God will bless those efforts that honor Him. Believers must stand united and require candidates who will act upon biblical sound precepts. In the face of worldly push back, we must stand firm to know that God will honor those who seek to what is right.
The quality of national leadership will only change through Christian engagement in the vetting, selecting, and voting for political leaders at all levels of government. This engagement is required by individual Christians and The Church.
Christian civic engagement is vital: Our representatives put policies and legislation in place that they believe will get them reelected. They do this based upon the people who engage them on the issues. Biblically minded Christians are far too absent in the lives of elected officials. If they hear directly from the church, it often comes from liberal theology denominations who do not subscribe to sound biblical standards.
How can conservative, Biblical worldview Christians and Churches stay silent? If our God is the One True God, and if His Word is righteous and true, and if Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life, how can we remain politely silent!?! Is it not extremely unloving to allow our nation and society to blissfully continue its moral decline. Is it not the height of irresponsibility to not engage in discussions that set the cultural and national direction. The “good is now bad and bad is now good” trend will only be reversed when Biblical Christians become passionate about policies, legislation, and regulations—the Enemy is. Christians must re-engage. You must re-engage.