Robert McDonald, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, misrepresented his military record in a recent TV appearance by falsely stating that he was in an elite special operations division. McDonald was a West Point graduate who served with the 82nd Airborne Division but never served in Special Forces. McDonald apologized for his statement and acknowledged his claim was “inaccurate”. Simply put, it was a false statement.
There is much power in our words. Solomon wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits,” Proverbs 18:21. Men in authority are not always held accountable for the words they speak. Concerning Secretary McDonald, the White House has accepted his apology and said, “that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.” However, God will hold each one of us accountable for the words we speak. “For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned,” Mathew 12:37.
We expect the words spoken by those leading our country to be words we can trust. Far to many of our political leaders do not hold themselves accountable to God for their words and their actions. Many speak with secular views on leadership and morality. More and more of them insist on a separation of state and religion. They would demote religion to a gathering of believers on Sunday mornings in a nice church building. They would give religion no place in “normal” everyday life.
Things were much different in the early days of our country. Our early leaders were men who did hold themselves accountable to the God of heaven. Consequently they often brought God and His will into their public speeches and into their writings. Our early Presidents and leaders sought to please God by their words and by their actions.
Our first President, George Washington, often spoke of God and the necessity to acknowledge Him and His will. He said, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” Concerning moral behavior Washington said, “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Sadly, the leadership of our nation today thinks morality can be legislated by human wisdom and laws. The courts of our land have no authority to legislate moral behavior that is forbidden by the laws that are found in the Bible. Doing so will only bring God’s wrath upon us all. President Washington also said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible”. Amen, President Washington!
In Ezekiel 16:48-51 God condemned Judah for being more wicked than the northern Nation of Israel. He compared them to Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 28:22-33) who were destroyed by fire and brimstone because of their immoral lifestyle (along with other sins). However, from Ezekiel we learn more details about the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Indeed, they were the sins of Judah also. Perhaps they are the sins of America too. What were the sins of the heart that caused these people to bear such a grievous punishment from God?
THE SINS RECORDED IN EZEKIEL 16:49-51
- Pride: The Hebrew word means: “rising excellency”. It is to think too highly of oneself. “Pride goes before destruction”, Proverbs 16:18.
- Excess of food: It is not a sin to be prosperous. However it is a sin to hoard up our treasures for our own selves. Read about the prosperous farmer in Luke 12:13-21 for confirmation of this truth.
- Prosperous ease: This sin speaks of an abundance of idleness. That is, having too much time on our hands. While rest and recreation are important, serving the Lord is far more important. Read Amos 6:1-7 to see how God viewed the people of Judah when they spent too much time at ease in Zion.
- Failure to help the poor and needy: God has always expected his people to help the needy. We should not expect the government provide for all of the needs of the poor. Christians are expected to participate in helping the poor and needy, James 1:26-27; Galatians 6:10.
- Haughty: means “to be high”. This is the person who believes he is better than anyone else. Jesus spoke of just such a person when He told the parable of the publican and the sinner, Luke 18:9-14. One was haughty – thought he was better than others. The other was humble – considered himself unworthy of God’s blessings. Read the text and see which of the two men God blessed.
- Committed abominations: The usual definition of this word is “detestable”. It would include various kinds of sin. In the Old Testament, idolatry is called an abomination more than any other sin (Deuteronomy 7:25-26) Wickedness is also an abomination (Proverbs 7:26). Following after omens, sorcerers, wizards and other magical arts is also an abomination to the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:11-12). Such behavior does not please the Lord our God.
- Sexual sins: From Genesis 18 (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) we learn that, in addition to the things listed above, those people practiced sexual immorality. The people of those cities tried to indulge in sexual sins even after the Angel of God struck them blind. The Bible contains a definite moral code concerning sexual behavior that needs to be followed by everyone. Those who disobey this moral code will not be allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:19-21).
Ezekiel was expressly speaking of Judah, the people through whom Christ came. The Lord promised they must bear their disgrace through punishment. Afterwards the Lord would bless them once again. Just remember: spiritual blessings are only given in response to faithfulness. People cannot continue in sin and expect God to bless them (Romans 6:1). As a general rule, sins of the heart are shown by our words and by our actions. O Lord, help us to have a pure heart so others can see the light of your word by the words and the deeds of your people.