Rush Limbaugh has a commercial parody done by Paul Shanklin called â€œDueling Bozosâ€ where James Carville and Ernest Hollings are going on and the Hollings voice says, â€œThereâ€™s too much corruption goinâ€™ on â€˜round here!â€ Itâ€™s a very funny parody mainly because itâ€™s not too far from the truth. That and the fact that a corrupt politician would be talking about corruption.
Political corruption is only possible with an abuse of power. Thatâ€™s going to be the topic of this weekâ€™s The Truth Newsletter, for which you all should sign up. But this devotional and the newsletter are not going to lament and hand wring over the corrupt Obama Administration, of which its corruption knows no bounds. I want us to get to the cause of the corruption and as always I intend to simplify the all too often over-complicated issue.
The issue is sin. The Bible is replete with examples of corrupt government officials motivated by sin. King David had no doubt seen much corruption and asked God to protect him from its evils and its temptations:
â€œExamine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart… Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.â€ (Psalm 26:2; 9-10)
David knew that he was capable of corruption and as you read all of Psalm 26 (and do read it today), you see a man aware of his weaknesses and desire to walk in integrity. Would to God more of our elected officials read Psalm 26 every day!
Senator John McCain co-sponsored the infamous and unconstitutional McCain-Feingold campaign finance law because he said money was corrupting the political process. Thatâ€™s like saying your television is evil. Money is an instrument and in and of itself it is neither good nor evil. It can be used for good or evil, but for it to be used for evil, evil people must be involved. King Solomon clearly understood this obvious fact:
â€œA wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of justice.â€ (Proverbs 17:23)
Men take bribes to get around the law; any questions?
Our nation, like Israelâ€™s rebellious past, has become corrupt. Our nationâ€™s capital, like Jerusalem of Judah, is filled with perfidious politicians looking for any means to increase their power and wealth:
â€œHow the faithful city has become a harlot! It was full of justice; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them.â€ (Isaiah 1:21-23)
Referring to this passage in Isaiah, Matthew Henry writes:
â€œNeither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to their trust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine like silver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have the color of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for; who do not help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much by outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the influences of His Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the worst captivity, the worst slavery.â€
In other words, we can pass all the laws we want but if the men and women we elect to office do not have the moral compass of Christianity to keep them pure, then corruption will still have its way. And if WE the People continue to elect godless men and women to office, can we really expect a different outcome or should we not expect to receive the government we deserve?
The great 19th Century revivalist Charles G. Finney wrote an outstanding article titled â€œThe Decay of Conscience.â€ It could have been written yesterday but it was published on December 4, 1873, nearly 140 years ago. Finney finishes up the article this way:
â€œBrethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.â€
Finney lays the blames of our nationâ€™s woes at the feet of the pulpit.
More on that next time.
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers