Rebuilding the walls – Part I
“Jamaica gone to the dogs!” Whenever we hear this, it’s suggesting our nation is declining. Author Kerby Anderson stated, “The decline of every other nation is due to spiritual factors. The political, economic, and social problems we encounter are the symptoms of the spiritual deterioration of a nation. Just as there are spiritual principles that influence the life of an individual, so there are political/spiritual principles that govern the life of a nation. And though we may feel that these are obscure and difficult to discern, in reality they are visible to anyone willing to look at the record of history.” And God confirms this in Proverbs 14:34 (NIV): “Righteousness (right standing with God and man) exalts a nation, but sin (sin against God and sin against each other) condemns any people.”
Historians and sociologists have identified three areas that are major contributors to national decline. So, let us examine them to see if Jamaica is really declining. The first one is:
THE DECLINE OF THE FAMILY
This occurs due to the decline in the moral and spiritual values in the family. Families are the foundation of a nation, so when parental authority decreases, ethical and moral standards disappear, creating internal weaknesses. Consequently, society falls apart.
When the family crumbles, the nation falls because nations are built upon family units. A nation will not be strong unless the family is strong – man and woman in committed matrimony. Just look around Jamaica. Research indicates that many of our nation’s challenges are born out of poor parenting and family consideration. The Bible defines for us what a family is and how a family should operate. We need to get back to biblical principles in our society. The stability and well-being of our nation depend on it. It is time for the Church to take its place as a strong, indispensable social partner in Jamaica’s restoration.
THE DECLINE OF VALUES
The power of false ideas is another potent but less visible destructive force. The foundation of biblical principles gave us a good moral compass and an understanding of truth. It taught us right from wrong. But we live in a world where biblical absolutes are being ignored and people are being taught that God and the Bible are no longer relevant. Our enlightenment has put us into a dark hole. This is what the Bible says: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV). These ‘wise’ ideas have devastating consequences, and false ideas can bring down a nation. Unless we return to biblical absolutes, our nation will continue its decline.
The decline and fall of nations ultimately occur due to moral and spiritual weaknesses within these societies. Historians have listed the stages in the spiritual decline of a nation, and these stages parallel the nation of Israel’s decline. Israel was at one time a booming economy with a stable social structure – all that a good society needed – but the patterns of decline set in:
1. The first stage is when people turn from God to idolatry – taking God out of the centre of their lives and installing something else instead.
2. The second stage is self determination – individuals start to determine what is right and wrong with no anchor.
3. The third stage is anarchy – rejection of God’s revelation, leading to moral and social anarchy. This is what happened in ancient Israel. Without God’s revelation and Word as a guide, the Israelites did things that were not proper. This resulted in their society disintegrating – people became untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Those sins resulted in blood in the street, killings, robbery, etc.
In Jamaica, we are not all Christian, but in the past, the nation had a strong Christian world view based on the Word of God. We respected each other, we respected the value of each other’s property, we valued the right every man had to life. We understood and lived by principles like ‘do onto other as you would have them do unto you’. Poverty was not an excuse for crime, and our moral compass was intact based on the Word of God. But today, the moral compass is being set aside, and people are becoming untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.
The same thing happened to Israel in Nehemiah’s day. God told them: “Obey Me, and you’ll live in the land for a long time. Disobey Me, and you’ll be carried off into captivity.” They disobeyed God and went into captivity.
Join us next week as we look at how to rebuild a declining nation using the template found in the book of Nehemiah.