Regarding Scripture: Deuteronomy 5.1-21
The United States is now in her third century of existence, and she has just celebrated her 231st birthday. Our country has seen many marvelous social and technological progresses. Our country no longer promotes the institution of human slavery, and men and women are truly more equal today than at the country’s founding. Because of advancements in technology, we are now able to transverse the continent in hours instead of months, and we now communicate in seconds instead of days. But our nation is in the midst of a change that previous American generations have not known. In many ways it seems that our nation no longer believes in a common rule, or that a common rule might come from (in my belief it does come from) outside ourselves. Instead our country promotes the idea and encourages people to judge rightness from within themselves and to accept that what is right for one person may not, and most likely cannot be, what is right for someone else. In many ways, the people of our nation do what they do because they believe it right from their perspective1 and believe within themselves that they have the ability to understand what is morally and socially right.2
Our culture is truly blessed. In many ways our culture is majestic. And our culture is wonderful. But we, as a society, have failed to pass the beliefs on that our founding fathers and mothers believed. In some ways, this has been a blessing because some things they believed were not righteous and changing from those types of actions and beliefs is beneficial. But a societal discarding of the belief that an Almighty Creator is the giver of our laws and precepts, and the provider of our country’s blessings has been detrimental. This, as difficult as it is to accept, is a failing point of our progenerates. They were not able to successfully pass their belief in an Almighty God to their children, and failed to sustain a country governed by those precepts. In many ways, as long as our founding generation lived, and the generation that grew up under them lived, the United States was a different country. The United States, even with its late 17th and early 18th century failings, attempted to espouse righteousness and the justness, mightiness, and providence of Jehovah. Is that situation all that different than the closing verses of Joshua?
As time has marched forward, history has arrived at a different point. Our national history is something that produces mixed feelings. There are those who have a fondness of our country when examining her history, others have disdain, and yet others apathy. But what is certain, in our uncertain times, is that Jehovah has not changed.3 While there are those who have willfully chosen to not believe in the Almighty God, the Giver of blessings to the United States, I am one who believes in Him. If we, as 21st believers, want to be influential to our society, we cannot metaphysically or physically force anyone to believe in God. But we need to have the strength, and the courage to not be afraid or dismayed by of those who do not believe in God.4 Just as Moses had to speak the old principles to a new generation, we need to teach the old principles to a new generation. Parents must teach their children5 but as a society we need to reclaim the boldness to stand up for what is right. The Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy 5 is the boldness to stand up for what is right, to proclaim to a new generation what is expected. As we conclude, allow me to end with one question: who should be more bold and courageous, those who believe in God, or those who do not?
1 Judges 17.6; 21.25
2 Jeremiah 10.23
3 Malachi 3.6
4 Joshua 1.6-9
5 Deuteronomy 6.7