Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34
When shifting through the oratory of political campaigns one occasionally comes across a worthwhile statement - like finding a kernel of truth in a bushel of chaff. One candidate for the United States presidency said, "The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life - the children; those who are in the twilight of life - the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life - the sick, the needy, and the handicapped." One wishes the speaker had referred also to the government's concern for human beings in the pre-dawn of life - the unborn infants.
Generally speaking, the moral tone of government reflects that of the citizens. If in private life people don't care about one another, they need not be surprised if the government is likewise indifferent. The men and women who represent us in government are an image of ourselves.
It has been said, "A rising tide raises all boats," not only the yachts of the rich but also the crafts of the poor. The proper place for righteousness to become a rising tide is where the people live, move, and have their being - in their homes and local communities. Righteousness exalts a nation when its people want good local schools, improved opportunities of honest work, and an atmosphere in which legitimate business can flourish. Also exalted will be the righteousness of government at all levels, in keeping with the God-given role of rulers: to be "God's servant to do you good," as Saint Paul writes in Romans 13:4.
Jesus looked for righteousness in a country's citizens when He said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21). This refers not only to paying taxes but to fulfilling all of one's civic duties.
Christians are rightly motivated to be a righteous people. The love of God is at work in them - the love that came to its highest expression when God's own dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, gave His life for the salvation of us all.
PRAYER: Lord God, guide the citizens of our nation to seek Your righteousness, and begin with me. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)