When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
A 2020 Barna survey revealed that only 51% of Americans believe in a traditional, biblical view of God as “all powerful, all knowing, perfect and just Creator.” This is down from 73% in 1991. The same survey showed that 56% of Americans believe in Satan as a “real spiritual being who influences people’s lives.”
In an interview, George Barna stated that during the early stage of the pandemic, surveys showed that most Christians were fearful and looking to government for leadership. For most people, God didn’t enter into the equation when making decisions.
While fewer people believe in God, a 2021 Pew Research study reveals that more people believe in UFO’s than in God.
Does this sound like the righteous are increasing?
When the Wicked Rule
As a conservative, evangelical Christian, I must admit that when I read Proverbs 29:2, my mind focuses first on the wicked ruler as the reason America groans under division, strife, loss of freedom and economic uncertainty. For those paying attention, Leftists have made their agenda clear: they seek to destroy our nation and replace it with their godless dystopian vision.
But if I ignore the first half of Proverbs 29:2, I won’t understand why God has allowed this to happen. If I ignore the first half of this verse, I see the wicked rulers (or their ideology) as the sole problem, and my solution will be to elect different rulers. When I seek only a political solution, my prayers for our nation reflect my human concerns but not the concerns of God.
When the Righteous Don’t Increase
I once heard a preacher say that a nation gets the leaders it deserves. If this be true, and it must be because our just God removes kings and sets up kings (Daniel 2:21), then efforts to turn America around will fail if we don’t meet God’s standard: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
Our human concerns—wanting our children to grow up in a free society and not in a totalitarian nightmare, for example—are legitimate concerns. But God also tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. If we want the best future for our children, we have to get our priorities straight. Whether we like it or not, it may be too late for America, it may have an incurable wound. The America we love may soon be relegated to the dustbin of history because of its idolatry. My first choice would be that my children grow up to live righteous lives in a free, God-fearing nation. But if not given that option, it is better to have righteous children whom God favors (Daniel 1:9) while captive in Babylon than to have free children who participate in Babylon’s sins and incur God’s judgment (Revelation 18:4).
American Christianity At a Crossroads
I believe our nation is already under judgment and has been for some time. How else could its wickedness have increased so dramatically in such a short time unless God has given us over to our desires (Romans 1). Too many evangelical churches have become indistinguishable from the culture. Too many Christians have placed their lamp under a basket and the current state of our nation proves the American Church exhibits a lukewarm faith that is “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
When God judges a nation by abandoning it to its sin, it should become obvious to God’s people that this world, apart from God, is not a good place. Our idols won’t save us. Our government leaders won’t, our money won’t, our military won’t, our Constitution won’t. When Jesus evaluates the churches in Revelation he tells them, “I know your deeds.” Pray that “In God We Trust” be more than a motto in our land.
American Christianity is at a crossroads. God will eventually destroy all of earth’s idols. The Church must reject them now. The world system offers us many idols. As long as we accept them, Babylon will leave us alone to languish in apostasy and mediocrity and idolatry. If we reject the world’s idols, Babylon will persecute us. The good news, attested to throughout history, is that Christianity flourishes under persecution. Through reproof and discipline, Jesus implores us to be zealous and repent and invites us to dine with him and overcome the world (Revelation 3:19-21).
Did you like this article? Explore the Christian’s place in the Divine Economy in my book, The Narrow Road: Loving God In a World Devoted to Money, on Amazon.