"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people." Proverbs 14:34
Leading up to this week-end's 234th celebration of America's freedom, I am going to explore some of the things that has made the USA an exceptional place. And it IS an exceptional place!
In just a dozen words, Solomon, who knew about greatness, captures its essence. "Rigtheousness" is the key word.
I contend it is impossible to understand the greatness of America without comprehending the vital role righteousness plays.
So, what about righteousness? What it is you need to understand?
The first aspect of righteousness that is significant is justice. Notice, I said "justice" and not "fairness". God has no real interest in fairness but He is extremely interested in justice. Why?
Justice presumes a moral standard. Justice acknowledges that there is a right and there is a wrong according to an absolute standard. For the Founding Fathers that absolute moral standard was the Ten Commandments. Don't take my word for it:
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” - James Madison, 1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia
“ The Law given from Sinai [The Ten Commandments] was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code.” - John Quincy Adams. Letters to his son. p. 61
“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” - Noah Webster. History. p. 339
When you begin to grasp the thinking of these great men, when you get your mind around the concept of justice then you gain a better understanding of the importance of righteousness. Righteousness at its elementary level is "rightness". You can paraphrase this verse to say, "Rightness exalts a nation....."
America has been exalted as a nation because it has always valued "rightness" and has sought to reconcile unjust situations based on this absolute standard of "rightness".
America is great because America seeks to be right!