Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1019 MP3 Audio File Video File

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

(Jeremiah 22:1-9)

Delivered 07/05/20

Yesterday our country celebrated its 244th birthday. It is my opinion that this is the greatest country in the world. I thank God for it. Right now our Country is going through some very turbulent times. The political and moral climate in America is in turmoil. Our way of life is under attack and it’s hard to not be a little anxious about the condition of our nation. I’m convinced that everything that we see happening now is a result of the Deep State fighting for its life. I think it will get worse right up to the election in November. Once Trump wins, they are all going down.

But despite what is happening in this election year, it is still a tremendous blessing to be a citizen of the United States of America. But as great a blessing being a citizen of the US of America is, it is a far greater blessing to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God. As an American Christian, I am doubly blessed because I have dual citizenship.

you …  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, Colossians 1:12-13 ESV

I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. It trumps every earthly kingdom. I’m a Christian first, an American second. Earthly kingdoms come and go, but God's kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Even when God's kingdom appears to be obscured, it remains forceful, mighty, and unruffled by the kingdoms of this world.

What is the Kingdom of God? The kingdom of God is synonymous with the church. The two words are used as synonyms in Matthew:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:18-19 ESV

Here Yeshua discusses the kingdom and the Church almost in the same breath. Yeshua tells Peter, "The confession you just made will be the foundation of My Church, and I'm going to give you authority in the kingdom."

If you accept the concept that the Church and the kingdom are one, then lights should begin turning on. We could say that when a person enters into a Covenant relationship with God by faith in Yeshua and becomes a member of his church that he also gains citizenship in Christ's Kingdom.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, Hebrews 12:28 ESV

This "kingdom that cannot be shaken" is the church of Yeshua the Christ. It is the New Covenant, it is Mount Zion, it is the heavenly Jerusalem. The kingdom of heaven or kingdom of God is the rule or reign of God. The Kingdom of God is a spiritual and not a geographic kingdom. God reigns in the hearts of His people! What do you need to have a kingdom? Only two necessary components: a king and subjects. You don't need a geographic realm. And all Christians are kingdom citizens.

Even though we are kingdom citizens, we all also live in an earthly kingdom until our physical death. And that earthly kingdom greatly affects our quality of life. We hear every Sunday about believers around the world who are suffering and even being put to death in the earthly kingdoms in which they live. But something that is very important for us to understand is that our earthly kingdom is being ruled from Heaven.

As a believer, whether you like President Trump or not, you have to admit that he is our president because Yahweh put him in power and he will remain there until Yahweh removes him. The Scriptures are clear on this. As I watch presidents come and go, I am reminded that the Lord God Almighty sets up kings and the Lord takes them down. And this is a truth that I want all of us to be reminded of. The outcome of Presidential elections is in God's hands.

He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; Daniel 2:21 ESV

The outcome of every election is not the result of chance. It is a matter of divine appointment. God is sovereign over the governments of men. This truth is taught throughout Scripture so that it is clear that He sets up and removes rulers.

The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ Daniel 4:17 ESV

Listen to this verse in the translation called God's Word:

The guardians have announced this decision. The holy ones have announced this so that every living creature will know that the Most High has power over human kingdoms. He gives them to whomever he wishes. He can place the lowest of people in charge of them.'" Daniel 4:17 GWT

This verse reveals the major theme of the book—the sovereignty of God. In the face of the might and splendor of the Babylonian empire, which had swallowed up Palestine and dwarfed Israel by every standard of human calculation, the book, as a whole, forms a dramatic reminder that the God of Israel is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and that God's hand is on history at every point. That history is indeed no more than His Story.

…till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. Daniel 4:25 ESV
…all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" Daniel 4:35 ESV
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 ESV
For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. Psalms 75:6-7 ESV

Believers, nothing takes place unless God causes it to happen. Look at Pilate’s conversation with Yeshua:

So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" John 19:10 ESV

Pilate is issuing a threat, and Yeshua's response informs Pilate that his threat is an empty one.

Yeshua answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin." John 19:11 ESV

Yeshua claims that all authority comes from God. Since Yeshua is Yahweh, (He and the Father are one), He also is claiming that Pilate's authority is from Him. Yeshua is telling Pilate that he is a prefect of Judea simply because God in heaven has determined that he should be. That could be said of President Trump and it could have been said of Obama and Clinton.

Just so we understand that God raises up all rulers, both good and bad, let's remember that he put Pharaoh in power:

But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16 ESV

Our founding fathers understood this truth of God's sovereign control over the nations. It was the summer of 1787, and the Constitutional Convention debate had dragged on for days over the issue of how the States would be represented in Congress. At this point, aged Dr. Benjamin Franklin rose and addressed himself to General Washington in the Chair: "In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?"

He went on to remind the Convention that at the beginning of the war with England, the Continental Congress had, in that very room, prayed for divine protection, and their prayers were answered. He continued: "I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground unseen by him, is it possible that an empire could arise without his aid?"

He stated that it was his firm belief that without divine aid, the Convention would succeed in their political building no better than the builders of Babel but would find themselves so divided and split by local interests that they would become a reproach to future ages. He then concluded: "I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service."

The motion failed, largely due to the embarrassment of the Assembly at not having funds to pay for engaging a chaplain. But Franklin had soundly made his point. Nations do not rise or continue at the whim and desire of men. A higher Power must be reckoned with, for the ultimate destiny of nations lies in His hands.

The sovereignty of God is the ground of peace and confidence to all His people. They rejoice that the Lord God Omnipotent reigns. Neither necessity nor chance or the folly of man controls the sequence of events and all their issues.

If Benjamin Franklin's mature conviction is indeed true that "God governs in the affairs of men, allotting to each their due portion of world leadership and status, and permitting each to continue without overthrow only as long as they fulfill his purposes," it is certainly prudent for us to inquire about what values God seeks to achieve in bringing nations into existence and what wrongs He will no longer tolerate that mark their appointed end?

For centuries, Western statesmen have turned to the Bible for the answers to the questions formulated above. Someone once asked Napoleon whether God was on the side of France. His cynical answer was, "God is on the side of the heaviest artillery." Then came the battle of Waterloo, the loss of his empire, and finally, his exile to St. Helena. There, chastened and humbled, he said, "Man proposes; God disposes." What Franklin saw so clearly and Napoleon learned so painfully is that nations, like individuals, can lose their right to exist.

Yes, God sovereignly sets up governments and nations, but God also holds those nations responsible for their actions. When the leaders turn from God, God moves in judgment against them. One book of the Bible is especially given to us to trace how a nation moved away from God until it reached the point of overthrow and national death. It is the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet. He was sent to the nation of Judah to minister during its final forty years. He began his ministry in the days of the godly king Josiah and ended it four kings later in the days of Zedekiah, who was led captive to Babylon. There is an illuminating passage in the 27th chapter. It recounts how Jeremiah was sent by God to Zedekiah to say to him:

"It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes. Then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave. Jeremiah 27:5-7 ESV

Here is another biblical basis for Benjamin Franklin's statement: "God governs in the affairs of men." God called an idol-worshiping monarch "my servant" and stated that it was his God-given destiny to rule for a time over all the nations of earth but in the end to be judged and be subjected to the rule of other people. Jeremiah had been sent to King Zedekiah some years earlier to detail to him what God expects of governments:

Thus says the LORD: "Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates. Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:1-3 ESV

Note what the rulers of this land were expected to do. They were to "do justice and righteousness." This is a constant theme in Scripture:

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him." Genesis 18:19 ESV

The queen of Sheba said the following to Solomon:

Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness." 1 Kings 10:9 ESV
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD. Psalms 33:5 ESV
Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. Jeremiah 22:15 ESV

What is justice? Justice has two major aspects. First, it is the standard by which penalties are assigned for breaking the obligations of the society. Second, justice is the standard by which the advantages of social life are handed out, including material goods, rights of participation, opportunities, and liberties. It is the standard for both punishment and benefits. The most prominent human agent of justice is the ruler. The king receives God's justice and is a channel for it.

[Solomon] "Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!" Psalms 72:1-2 ESV

Is justice being done in our country?  Not by the ajority of our politicians because most of them are corrupt. Our justice system, weaponized by Obama, used the powers of the FBI against a duly elected president. Thankfully, President Trump is trying to correct this. He is following the rule of law that has been forsaken for so long.

President Trump continues to reshape the Federal judiciary at a record pace and is following through on his promise to appoint judges who will uphold the Constitution and rule of law. So far he has appointed two Supreme Court Justices, fifty Circuit Court judges, 133 District Court judges, and two Court of International Trade Judges.

The injustice in our nation is seen on many fronts. We now know that corrupt people knew that General Flynn had done nothing wrong, but they threatened to destroy his son if he didn’t confess to something. We see injustice in abortion. Is it just to murder babies before they ever have a chance to be born? The Democrats seem to hate justice. They are baby killers. Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, wants abortion on demand to be enshrined in the Virginia Constitution. Northam wants the state General Assembly to approve a constitutional amendment that would guarantee a "right" to abortion. Lawmakers in New York celebrated, and I mean celebrated, legislation allowing abortion up until delivery.

On the other hand, since his January 2017 inauguration, President Trump has worked to regulate and restrict abortion access using a series of rule changes that limit the way taxpayer funds flow to foreign and domestic organizations that perform or promote abortions. No one has done more to dismantle abortion protections or pave the way for a test of the landmark Supreme Court legal decision in Roe v. Wade than President Trump. He was the first sitting president to speak in person at the annual March for Life.

It should be obvious that life is not sacred to most politicians in America, unless it's the life of a criminal or an animal. The Dems are pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-transgender, pro-be whatever gender you want, pro-everything the Bible calls evil. And the Republicans for the most part aren’t much better. Our country is a mess as far as justice is concerned. A police officer has been charged with murder for defending his life, while a punk, who has been arrested over 100 times, was free to walk the streets of New York City. As he walked by a 92-year-old woman, he viciously punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground—for no reason.

What about righteousness? What is it? Is it being done? We understand righteousness to mean "uprightness" in the sense of "adherence or conformity to an established norm." In biblical usage, righteousness is rooted in covenants and relationships. For biblical authors, righteousness is the fulfillment of the terms of a covenant between God and humanity or between humans in the full range of human relationships. The one who in faith gives himself to the doing of God's will is righteous.

Would you say that our government is doing righteousness? For the most part, government officials seem to be promoting unrighteousness. Many of those in our government were involved in Epstein’s pedophile island and Pizza Gate. They are becoming millionaires as they destroy our country.

Since his election, President Trump has made it a priority to end human trafficking. He is cutting off their supply of adrenochrome and they are furious. He is trying to restore righteousness, and they are fighting him with all that they have. The Trump Administration provided funding to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged in ACTeam districts.

Our government-run and so-called "public" schools teach that homosexuality and transgenderism are alternative lifestyles. Many government officials are under the control of China. They are getting rich selling out their country. We must recognize that their failure introduces widespread dissension and evil into a land.

The end of Jeremiah 22:3 is really an expansion on what justice and righteousness are.

Thus says the LORD: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3 ESV

Governmental leaders were to "deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed." The task of government is to keep the courts honest and just so that the guilty can be found out and the innocent freed. The uncontrollable rise of crime and violence is an unerring indicator of the darkening of a nation's life and its decline toward obscurity.

Our text goes on to say "Do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow."  Concern for the poor and weak, politically, socially, and economically, is central among the king's responsibilities. "Nor shed innocent blood in this place." This is perhaps an allusion to the infants sacrificed in the Valley of Hinnom (7:30-32; 19:5, 6).

"For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the LORD. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. Jeremiah 7:30-31 ESV

Through legalized abortion, we have shed much innocent blood in this country. Our leaders have abandoned justice and righteousness.

God, through Jeremiah, promises blessing and warns of judgment in:

For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation. For thus says the LORD concerning the house of the king of Judah: "‘You are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon, yet surely I will make you a desert, an uninhabited city. I will prepare destroyers against you, each with his weapons, and they shall cut down your choicest cedars and cast them into the fire. Jeremiah 22:4-7 ESV

In 2 Kings 21:10-16, Manasseh, whose reign was known as one of unfaithfulness to Yahweh, is blamed for Judah's ultimate destruction and exile. Every human government is accountable to God and is accountable to maintain its affairs with justice and with righteousness. When the government is no longer acting justly and no longer protecting life—sanctioning abortions, for example—then it is the task of the church to be the prophetic voice, to call the state to task and tell the state to repent and do what God commands it to do.

As Kingdom citizens what responsibility do we have to the earthly kingdom that we live in?  John Calvin said it is the task of the church to make the invisible kingdom visible. We do that by living in such a way that we bear witness to the reality of the kingship of Christ in our jobs, our families, our schools, and even our checkbooks because God in Christ is King over every one of these spheres of life. The only way the kingdom of God is going to be manifest in this world is if we manifest it by the way we live as citizens of heaven and subjects of the King.

I see our first responsibility as Calvin has said to "make the invisible kingdom visible." We do this by living lives of justice and righteousness. A widespread myth exists in our day that the foundation of our freedoms lies in the great documents that launched our national history, documents such as The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But as important as these may be as instruments of freedom, they are not the foundation of it. Scripture reveals that the element which makes a nation great is righteousness. When righteousness pervades a nation, that people is strong; without righteousness, it begins to falter. God's word clearly reveals this.

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 ESV

When Hawaii became the 50th State of the Union, she brought with her to statehood the motto she had adopted as a territory, reflecting her missionary beginnings: "The life of the land is preserved in righteousness." It sounds like a pious platitude, but it is actually a profound truth which should be taught in every classroom in the land. Freedom rests on the moral righteousness of each individual member of the nation. When individual righteousness fails on a large scale, laws lose their force, judges fail in their powers, enforcement becomes impracticable, and the Constitution itself is soon changed to reflect the currently acceptable level of morality.

"The life of the land is preserved in righteousness"—that has been the fundamental secret of the strength of the United States. And that is why we are now faltering. The only hope for America is Yeshua. We are not only to call men to faith in Yeshua the Christ, but we are to teach them the truths of the Word of God. We are to teach them to walk in righteousness, and justice.

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:22-32 ESV

This is our calling and mission in life. The natural outcome of men living in righteousness will bring great blessing upon our nation.

As Kingdom citizens we have another responsibility: we are to Pray For Our Leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV

The Bible tells us that we are to pray for our leaders. We do not go before God’s throne enough on behalf of our leaders. Too many times we rely on our supposed political power instead of relying on the spiritual power that comes from our Heavenly Father.

Notice that the prayers are for the secular authorities to provide a rule of law so that there might be safety and security. In his research paper, "A Biblical Case for Limited Government," scholar J.P. Moreland wrote that this passage calls for prayers to "sustain stable social order in which people can live peacefully and quietly without fear of harm."

This is what I see President Trump doing. He is working feverishly to restore the rule of law, to make fair trade deals, to stop human trafficking, to end abortion, and to remove regulations so business can flourish. He is pulling the troops out of Afghanistan and he is ending the endless wars. Under the US peace deal with the Taliban, Afghanistan is lowering the troop level down to 8,600 by the middle of July.

We should also pray for our godless evil rulers; we should pray for their removal from office.

As Kingdom citizens I see another responsibility we have: The Right to Vote.

All Christians must exercise their citizen’s rights and attempt to influence this nation for Christ through the voting process. In America, decisions are not made by a majority of the people. Decisions are made by a majority of those who vote. What would America be like if every Christian prayed for God’s guidance and voted his conscience? It would have to have a positive effect. Besides praying for our leaders and our country, voting is the best way the Christian can influence the political climate of our nation.

The hope of America is the righteousness of her people. America's hope is found in the advice given in 2 Chronicles.

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV

The God who sovereignly established this country will hold his children responsible for its righteousness and justice. The hope of our nation lies not just in its next elected leader but in the personal godliness of its people. Do we "Fear God, and honor the king?" Do we, in the great words of Micah, "Do justly … love mercy, and… walk humbly with [our] God?" (Micah. 6:8).

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