Sin is a Reproach to Any People
1. Righteousness exalts…
2. It exalts a nation… a family… a business… a church… any group of people.
3. Righteousness results in wise decisions, and a good reputation, which in turn, exalt and lift up.
4. Solomon now states that the opposite is true too: sin is a reproach to any people.
1. Sin: seen here as the opposite of righteousness; that which is wrong, iniquity, i.e., that which is an offense against a standard;
2. Vice, immorality, alcohol, drugs, babies out of wedlock, gambling, selfish greed, corruption, theft, and violence… all of this works together to bring a nation or a people to ruin.
a. Have you any idea of how much sin COSTS our nation, economically?
• drugs; alcohol; smoking; theft; fraud; unwed mothers; laziness; cheating the welfare system; frivolous lawsuits based on raw greed; prisons; police forces; military.
• How many lives have been lost because of sin? (drunken drivers; drugs; alcohol; tobacco; murders; aids) And there is quite a cost to all that too.
• There is plenty of space on the planet; and there are plenty of natural resources for everybody… and we could all be extremely wealthy…
• BUT… men are sinners… and we steal; hoard; we waste; we lie; deceive; take back by fraud; etc… and ultimately, we pay the consequences!
• Sin is a reproach! Sin is the ruin of any people.
3. Rom. 13:3-4 – Human governments, nations given the sword to execute those who commit and promote evil in the land.
a. Thus, leaders should use their power to suppress sin, evil, and vice.
b. If they tolerate evil in the land or even worse sanction evil in the land, it is to the ruin of that people.
c. Sin is the destruction of any nation, therefore, God in His grace and mercy, instituted human governments to execute Divine wrath against such sin… to HINDER the reproach that sin brings.
1. Reproach defined:
a. It is usually translated “mercy” (kindness; lovingkindness).
b. However, it also had another (Aramaic?) meaning that is highlighted in several passages. It also means disgrace; reproach.
2. That is obviously how it is used in this passage… as well as couple of other verses in the Old Testament:
a. Lev. 20:17 – it speaks of that which is purely shameful… disgraceful… (It is translated a “wicked thing.”)
» Sin brings that which is shameful to a nation/people.
b. Prov. 25:10 – (a slightly different form of the same word)—it speaks of shame and disgrace, associated with infamy…
2. Solomon writes that sin brings SHAME and DISGRACE to a people. And that brings reproach… in the eyes of men and before God.
3. Sin brings reproach in the sight of God—and results in judgment. Consider some of the sins of OUR nation in recent years.
a. Immoral activities outlawed by the government are rampant:
» Violence and Murders
» Drug and alcohol abuse
» Political corruption—in both parties
» These activities are carried out with increasing frequency. But at least they are illegal, and are unacceptable by our society.
b. Immoral activities approved by the government are far worse for a nation:
» Legalized abortion
» Acceptance of homosexuality
» Changing God’s design for the family
» Gay Marriage
» Issues of medical ethics in our day
» Legal prescription of drugs and legal alcohol abuse
» State sponsored gambling
» God designed human governments to condemn such behavior, not to sponsor it… and certainly not to pay for it with tax dollars!
» This is far worse. This brings shame and reproach to any nation.
» And by the way, this is not just America… this kind of approval is world wide.
c. This kind of internal, moral corruption will be the demise of our great nation. It brings a reproach.
» God has every right to judge our nation for our sins.
» Jer. 5:25 – God has every right to withhold blessings because of sins.
d. It was this kind of internal moral corruption that led to the fall of the Gentile nations (Rom. 1:22-32).
• God gave them up…
• God left them alone… to reap the natural consequences of their evil behavior.
• Unbelief, idolatry, immorality, and sin go hand in hand.
• Sin is a reproach to any people. You reap what you sow.
4. Sin brings reproach in the sight of men—other nations.
a. It renders a nation despicable in the sight of other nations.
b. A nation’s sin brings on the ill-will of other nations.
• One of the reasons Europeans claim that they do not like Americans is because of our culture… especially the trash put out by Hollywood…
» But they sure do seem to watch it enough!
» And with all their claims of superiority, they are much farther to the left than the USA.
• One of the reasons the Muslims hate the west so is because of Western “decadence.”
» On that level—they have a point. Our sin is bringing upon ourselves the hatred of others.
» Of course, their hatred and claims of moral superiority are quite hypocritical…
» They are far worse for tolerating oppression; torture; suicide bombers; now offering their children as sacrifices in bombings; killing innocent men, women, and children, disdain for life and civility.
• Hab. 1:13 – God used the Babylonians to judge Israel.
» Remember Habakkuk’s concern: it seemed odd that God would use a nation WORSE than Israel morally to judge her… but He did.
» God can use ANY instrument He chooses to judge a nation for their sin… and He does.
• He could use the radical Muslims to bring reproach upon the West in the world.
» God could use people even more ungodly than us to judge us!
» We are told to PRAY for our leaders and for all in authority.
» Perhaps this expression of righteousness might EXALT our nation and deliver us from judgment.
5. Isa. 1:21 – When men follow God, righteousness is said to dwell in the city.
a. But when sin rules, it becomes a harlot.
b. But Jerusalem USED to be known for judgment and righteousness… but then it became known for its murder and crime.
c. When righteousness ruled, Jerusalem was like a faithful wife. When sin ruled, it was like a harlot.
d. Sin became a reproach to that city and nation… and to ANY city of nation… or family, or church!
6. A nation may APPEAR to get away with sin, but eventually, it will destroy them.
a. Be sure your sin will find you out!
b. Ecc. 8:11 – because God does not judge right away, men assume He will not. But men misread God’s patience and longsuffering.
c. Prov. 13:6 – eventually, sin will overthrow (over turns; ruins) the wicked. It will eventually overthrow a nation.
d. Therefore, it is the responsibility of governmental leaders to promote righteousness, and to suppress evil.
e. Prov. 29:12 – if the leader is evil and given to lies and deception… don’t expect much different from the rest of the government officials!
f. A fish begins to rot at the head… and eventually rots the whole body of the fish.
g. What a menace to a nation is an evil leader.
h. PRAY for our country. PRAY for our elections. PRAY for all that are in authority. And VOTE for righteousness. That is what will exalt our nation.
1. History is replete with illustrations of the truth in this proverb: nations are judged… nations rise and fall according to their works.
2. When sin, pride, corruption, immorality, greed, cruelty, and injustice prevail—eventually that nation falls… as Rome, which crumbled from within.
» Greece became proud of their science and art
» Rome became proud of its conquests
» Great Britain (an empire which once championed the cause of Christ in missionary endeavors around the world) has now turned its back on Christianity.
» The glory has departed.
» The USA is not exempt from this principle. Those great world powers became corrupt from within and declined in significance. Sin became a reproach to those nations.
» Can the USA be far behind?
3. Israel is God’s LIGHT to the world of this principle.
» When Israel followed God’s Law, they were exalted.
» When they departed from it, they were defeated and enslaved by enemies.
» Read the Old Testament, especially the book of Judges—this truth is repeated over and over again… as a constant object lesson to the nations.
» It is also a constant object lesson to us as a church… sin is the ruin of ANY people!