Allegheny Valley Church Of God
Fullness Of Bread
Fullness of Bread
The Sins of America
Many have lamented the fate of our nation. We see violence tearing our cities apart. We see our schools equipped with metal detectors. We read of mothers who are willing to sell their children for a fix and men who have abused their own children for sexual satisfaction. We live in a nation whose people elect government officials of questionable moral character in the name of economic growth. We live in a nation where the murder of unborn humans is considered a right and prayer in schools is unconstitutional. We live in a nation where every sin is looked upon as a source of income and righteousness is scorned. We live in a nation that is now endorsing homosexual relationship as a natural way of life. What has this nation come to?
Many would look back over the last few decades and point at this or that as being the reason for the decline and decay of morality in America. Some might point to that infamous day in 1963 when the Supreme Court of our nation determined that public prayer was unconstitutional. And, if one observes the statistics, that would seem to be a watershed moment in the life of our nation. Others might point to the discord and division caused by our involvement in Viet Nam, while other government scandals, such as Watergate, might be hailed as the reason for our downfall.
While all of these things and many others certainly contributed to the state in which we find ourselves, I maintain that they are only symptoms of the real problem. When a civilization decays, it doesn't happen over a period of a few decades. The things we are forced to live with now are merely the fruit of perhaps a century or more of a much more insidious evil. There was an ancient nation who was engulfed in the same kind of sin. To find out about it, we must turn to the writings of the prophet Ezekiel.
During his time, his nation was also undergoing a moral decline. In fact, the judgment of God had already begun to fall upon Judah. After literally centuries of trying to get their attention through the prophets, God finally had to get drastic in order to achieve His ultimate goal, the correcting of His people.
They had fallen into the grossest kind of idolatry. They were sacrificing their children to the gods of the heathen who lived around them. Even the priests and the leaders had fallen into worship of animals and creeping things and all sorts of abominable things. The people of Jerusalem had almost totally embraced the religion of the heathen, and rejected the word of Yahweh.
In the 16th chapter of the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord likens Judah to an abandoned new-born female infant who was left to die in her own afterbirth. He picked up the infant, and cleaned her up. He dressed her in fine clothes, gave her precious jewels for her beauty. He took pride in her and loved her. But she was unfaithful, and like an adulterous woman, she sought after other lovers and played the prostitute.
The Lord compared her to her "sisters", Samaria and Sodom. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom, the 10 tribes who rebelled after the secession of Rehoboam to the throne of Solomon. They had almost instantly fallen into idolatry, and never had a time in their existence when they had a good, godly king. Sodom, of course, was the city of the plain that was seemingly destroyed because, like our nation, the people had fallen into a life of violence and perverted sexuality. I say "seemingly" because the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality. That was merely a symptom of the true problem.
In Ezekiel 16:49, God says this:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
There are three sins which are listed here. It might do us well to examine them.
As with the city of Sodom, the United States has been a productive, powerful nation. It has been the fountainhead for industry, economic growth, military might, and even artistic endeavors. While that sounds good, it might not be a good as it sounds.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a young woman from Scotland who was visiting our nation. I asked her what she thought about America. Her response was mixed. One of the things she related was that there were actually some people she had spoken with who thought that Scotland was so backward, that they didn't even have TV. This might envoke a smile, but I think it portrays an attitude that is prevalent throughout our nation.
It is an attitude of national pride and arrogance. I am not saying that we shouldn't be patriotic, and pray for and support our nation. I am saying that many Americans think the rest of the world is just so much of a mindless huddled mass, and we are the only nation whose people have the comforts of modern living and the intellegence and endeavour to progress into the next century.
There is reason for that attitude. We are a nation unlike any other. Our roots are planted in the soil of independence and freedom and have been watered by the blood of countless thousands of men and women who have fought for the freedoms we possess. We are the most powerful nation, militarily and economically, on earth at this time. We enjoy freedoms and luxuries on a greater scale than any other nation on the earth. Our freedom of thought has fostered advances in science and industry unmatched in the history of the world. We have fought in a number of wars in which we have been victorious. For years the free world has looked up to us as a champion of liberty.
Because of these facets of our history, many have taken pride in being an American. Again, I say that no sin lies in that. The sin comes in, however, when we allow pride in our national heritage to become overinflated and when we begin to look down on other nations and peoples who are not like us. This obsession with national pride has prompted our people to become arrogant in regards to the welfare of others.
Evidence of this lies in the many black spots which taint our nation's history. The shameful treatment of the Native Americans; the needless bloodshed of an economically induced police action which cost the lives, not to mention the physical and emotional well being, of thousands of Americans; the exploitation of foriegn slave labor; and the greed of industrialists and unionists alike. All of these are indications of a populace which has forsaken the God given vision of the founding fathers of this nation and has followed after mammon. The result is an emphasis on the welfare of the self instead of the needs of others.
So, like Sodom, our sense of pride has manifested itself in arrogance, which has spawned the disease of immorality and rebellion. This leads us to the second sin.
Fulness of Bread
America, the breadbasket of the world. It is said that we produce enough food in this land of ours to feed the world and have some left over. That being the case, it would seem an impossibility to think that there would be anyone hungry on these shores, wouldn't it?
But the opposite is true. We certainly don't have the starvation problem of other nations, but we do have a problem with a growing community of people who just don't have enough to live on. One might say that even the most downcast in America have it better than those of other nations, and that statement might be true. But when you consider the abundant wealth in our nation, and how few people really possess it, you wonder why there are any homeless or destitute at all.
Of course, many of those who live in poverty are there simply because they don't desire to work. But there is a growing population of poor in our nation. It might be small now, but it is growing. It seems as though the middle class American is a dying breed. The dividing lines are getting wider and, in the process, the have's seem to be less and less concerned about the have-nots. It's "All for me" and "too bad for you."
Has our great abundance of blessing been turned into a curse by our overindulgence? Remember the Hebrews in the wilderness. Early in their wilderness wondering, they desired meat, and God sent them quail (Ex. 16). Later (Num. 11), when they lamented over the manna God had provided them, He sent quail once again. But this time those who lusted after the food died. They were not content with what God had provided, and were consumed by their own lust for the tasty food of Egypt.
A nd therein lies the consequence of the sin of "fulness of bread." It seems that we Americans have been conditioned to believe that enough is never enough. We always desire more. We are bombarded daily by commercials telling us we deserve better. We are constantly being exhorted to make more money, buy bigger houses and cars, even though what we have is enough, and sometimes more than enough. Instead of limiting our spending and living within our means, we are enticed to spend more that we don't have and can't afford, then, when the bills overwhelm us, we declare bankruptcy and start over again.
A close examination of our economy will reveal the ravages of this sin. We have a national debt that is greater than the total economies of most nations, and it's growing daily. We have an electorate who are willing to elect individuals to government, regardless of their moral standing, who vainly promise financial prosperity, even at the cost of freedom and liberty. The almighty dollar has taken it's position amongst the gods of this world, even though it's value is eroding daily.
This sin of having too much material is closely associated with the third sin.
Abundance of Idleness
Leisure time. We all want more of it. But what do we do with it. It seems that the more time we have on our hands, the more trouble we can get into. The old saying goes "An idle mind is the devil's plaything." And indeed, when we are not preoccupied with earning a living or doing something constructive, we usually end up filling ourselves with mindless entertainment or amusement.
We are living in and are part of a generation of people who think the world owes them everything, and expect to get it without working for it. We deserve to have the best. We deserve to live in luxury and ease. The mindset of our nation is similar to that of the Northern Kingdom during the time of the prophet Amos. They were prosperous, and the wealthy just sat around all day on couches of ivory and lived at total ease while the poor were exploited.
The more leisure time, the more comfortable we get. The more comfortable, the lazier. The lazier we get, the fatter we get, and on and on. We are now the most obese nation on this earth. While there are people starving in this world, Americans are obsessed with being able to eat all they want and not gain weight. Or they are given to lives of dieting and struggling against the health risks of being overweight. We have become a nation of compulsive overeaters because that is the easiest kind of self gratification.
What is the result of these things? We have ignored the poor and needy. We have allowed our nation to fall into the abyss of arrogance and selfishness. We have turned our backs to our Creator and His laws, and have accepted the evolutionary law of the survival of the fittest. The principles and precepts that were once the foundation of our nation have been forsaken for the concepts of satanism, "Pleasure at any cost." We are willing to sacrifice the unborn at the altar of sexual promiscuity and convienience.
The consequences of these sins are not a mystery. Throughout the history of the Hebrews, God again and again sent correction to them in the form of captivity and catastrophe. And He is about to do it again to us. It has already started. Unusual and devestating weather patterns, violence in the streets, all the things that are plaguing our nation. And it's only the beginning.
Repent, America. The time is short. God has withheld His judgment on us now, but the cup of His wrath is overflowing.
Repent, America, before it is too late, and the world will look upon us, and all those who were able to profit from our immorality and arrogance will weep and wail at the destruction of this modern day Babylon.
"And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Revelation 18:21-24 AV)