On January 19, the President of the United States gave his annual State of the Union Address. He proclaimed that the nation is strong and prosperous. Indeed, some in the religious community expressed strong enthusiasm for the speech!
Yet, in all the rhetoric celebrating economic expansion and optimism for the future, there were two glaring omissions in the Address: First, the state of morality in our society; and Second, any major acknowledgment of the Source of our blessings along with our concomitant responsibilities to that Source!
Can a nation survive whose leaders and people increasingly practice immorality? David Boldt reported in the Houston Chronicle that 87 percent of Americans "fear there is something fundamentally wrong with the United States' moral state." Boldt goes on to say "Daniel Yankelovich, an icon of U.S. public opinion polling, said many Americans have for some time believed that the nation is in a long-term moral decline.'"
My friends, if we as a nation ignore the state of our national character, we will reap what we sow in penalties of national disaster. The Roman Empire was not invincible. Its immorality contributed to its decline and fall! Families fragmented. Divorce was rife. In the first century A.D. the philosopher Seneca wrote, "They divorce in order to remarry. They marry in order to divorce." In our modern society, some couples don't even bother to marry in the first place!
Even the President of the U.S. has publicly begged the nation's forgiveness for his indiscretions!
But did the President propose an individual and national return to morality as a foundation stone for bringing us into the 21st Century? No, he did not! The State of the Union Address overlooked the obvious! We cannot be a strong nation if our morals are bankrupt!
The second glaring omission from the State of the Union Address was its lack of recognition of the Source of our true strength and blessings! And that Source is Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ! Oh yes, the President did suggest that we should be "asking God's blessing on our endeavors and our beloved country." Certainly we should do this! But we must not be a hypocritical nation that gives lip service to God on occasion without the committed willingness to obey our Creator! If we really acknowledge God, we will acknowledge that any national blessings and prosperity come from Him, not from our own goodness and our own effort!
Notice this warning that God gave ancient Israel in Deuteronomy 8:10, "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest; when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God...(v.19) Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God."
This warning by our Creator will ring in the ears of our peoples in an unbelievable decline and disaster, if we don't heed God's wake-up call for us! God has blessed America, but we will decline and fall just as the great nations and empires of the past have fallen, unless we acknowledge Him, seek Him, be thankful to Him, and obey Him!
Any CANDID State of the UNION Address, must acknowledge the WEAKNESS of that union! We have a spiritual cancer, a moral sickness leading to national death! The prescription for the illness is to seek the Lord while He may be found and to repent of our immorality.
Any proper State of the Union Address should acknowledge our dependence on our Creator and give Him the credit and the thanksgiving for any blessings we enjoy, be it economic, political, or spiritual! We must also commit ourselves to obedience to our Creator's way of Life and His ten commandments. Without that commitment, we overlook the obvious.
No great nation or empire will last if its leaders and its peoples continue to practice immorality and transgress the laws of its Creator and its Provider. In spite of physical prosperity, the nation is spiritually ill. The state of our Union is in peril! It is time to repent and change our ways. The State of the Union Address overlooked the obvious: Our moral weakness — and our lack of commitment to the One who gives us prosperity and blessings!!
I'm Richard Ames for the Living Church of God.