Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.Proverbs 14:34
Wisdom literature speaks to how God’s people are to live in the real world. Although written for the people of Israel nearly 3000 years ago, the language reaches out through the ages to our front door.
Notice that the subjects of both parts of the sentence are “righteousness” and “sin.” The former means right actions toward God, and the latter means behavior against God.
The subject of the verbs are words that speak to all people. “Nations” is the Hebrew word “goyim” which is the same word used when Abraham receives that all nations will be blessed through his descendants. (Genesis 12:2) The Hebrew “leom” is modified to mean “any peoples.”
In our modern context, there is no chosen earthly nation like Israel was. But Christians live everywhere, and the argument could be made in scripture that these words apply to us as Christians. Scripture calls Christianity (the Body of Christ) the New Jerusalem. (Luke 22:29-30, Ephesians 2:19, Hebrews 12:22, Philippians 3:20, Revelation 21, 22). Therefore, Christians have their citizenship resting within the Kingdom of God, for which Jesus is King.
We have a sacred call to live covenantally no matter what our various contexts are. We need to live out our love for God and neighbor wherever we find ourselves so others can find “42.”
But it is not just about any one individual; it is about the community of Christ. The church must cling to the righteousness of Jesus Christ as it lives amongst an unbelieving world. It must be unified in its purpose, reflect and repent of its sin, and not continue to drag itself down. We are to live in covenant with God and neighbor. Ironically, this should make us good citizens within our earthly communities.
So on this weekend, as you celebrate the founding of the 244 year old earthly nation, love your neighbors as you point to the One who gives you Life, the Universe, and Everything!
From this Hitchhiker who gained his true freedom from a Sovereign LORD, to you who are precious in His sight, have a good holiday and…