Much of the world has never experienced the blessing of the Ten Commandments.
That’s why India and many smaller nations are poor (according to Indian thinker Vishal Mangalwadi in The Book That Made Your World), and graft and bribery are widespread. When you don’t have a moral foundation that creates freedom, you are ripe for tyranny and its subsequent fruits of poverty, corruption, and a lack of human rights.
Western nations have enjoyed the blessings of the Ten Commandments and faith in Jesus Christ in varying degrees. But today, that foundation is crumbling.
What does a world look like without the Ten Commandments? If our current political leaders have their way, we are about to find out.
A World Without the Ten Commandments
For nearly three thousand years the Ten Commandments provided portions of the globe with a foundation for right and wrong. Through the Reformation in Northern Europe beginning in the 16th century, whole nations began to base their civil polity on the guiding principles of the Decalogue.
It was Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Presbyterian minister, who published Lex, Rex in 1644, who rightly argued that kings are subject to God’s laws (the Ten Commandments) rather than the other way around–the standard for most tyrants since the beginning of time.
No nation built its freedom more squarely on the Ten Commandments than the USA. As James Madison declared:
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.
Thus, the Ten Commandments are prominently displayed in the United States Supreme Court. Our laws were built upon their guiding wisdom.
But much of that is unraveling before our eyes.
In my lifetime, I remember an American culture whose laws generally followed the teaching of the Ten Commandments. We once believed “In God We Trust.” Swearing was dirty or looked down up. Most stores were closed on Sundays. Families stayed intact and parents were respected (Father Knows Best). Murder was rare and wrong. Adultery, frowned upon.
I remember being taught in kindergarten a cute jingle against lying: “Hon-es-ty. No matter what the consequences be. Is the very best pol-i-cy.”
We were also learned that envy and coveting destroy human relationships.
But now our country and many Western nations are rapidly turning away from the wisdom of the commandments. People’s rejection of God and the Bible has led to corrupt institutions and ungodly leaders who are pushing us off a moral cliff.
We are rapidly leaving the protection of God’s loving commands for social chaos.
In both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 we read about the giving of the Ten Commandments to the Hebrew nation. They were designed to bless the people, provide a balance of form and freedom in human life, teach the truth about reality (God, law, sin, mercy, and justice), and make them a light to the nations.
Here’s a look at each command and how we are destroying them in America. Then I will suggest how to make a revival of the Ten Commandments a priority in our lives.
Commandment One – No God but God.
Americans are turning away from God in record numbers, and during the pandemic, a great “pruning” of God’s Church has taken place. As God-consciousness recedes in our communities, tyranny grows on every hand through government mandates and gross manifestations of evil in many areas of life.
Commandment Two – Don’t make idols or any kind
Idols are anything that takes God’s place and cheapens our humanity. Most Americans now live for self-pleasure created by affluence (Francis Schaeffer’s phrase) and essentially “worship” money, sex, and entertainment. Going from big (God) to small (self) is destroying the nation’s soul.
Commandment Three – Don’t misuse (take in vain) God’s Name
Cussing and swearing have always been around, but the Internet now spews it everywhere. Social media is today’s equivalent of the Roman sewers. It stinks–and God’s glorious Name has become a common four-letter word–not just used by drunken sailors.
Commandment Four – Rest on the Sabbath Day
Whether you prefer Saturdays or Sundays, most Americans do not worship on either day or are committed to a day of meditative rest (for their good). It’s 24-7 business or pleasure and go to the beach instead of church. We rarely “rest in God,” but turn to alcohol and drugs as substitutes.
Commandment Five – Honor your parents
The breakdown of the family is one of the most egregious realities of American life. Parents are not esteemed in the home and even some family members are estranged. The nuclear family rarely eats together let alone worships and studies the Bible. Divorce is as common as a one-dollar bill (and as cheap).
Commandment Six – Do not murder
2020 saw a thirty percent rise in murders–highest since statistics have been kept. Previous high was 12.8% in 1968. That doesn’t count the largest holocaust in world history–abortion–which has taken over seventy million lives in the U.S. and one-to-two billion globally.
Commandment Seven – Do not commit adultery (or any other sexual sin).
Sex before marriage used to be rare, adultery uncommon, and brides getting married in white dresses (symbolizing chastity) once meant something. No more. We stand awash in sexual immorality and pornography as a society and even glorify it on television and in the movies.
Commandment Eight – Do not steal
The government practices theft through unjust taxation and give-away entitlement programs. Looters and vandals destroy businesses for sport and corrupt prosecutors don’t even charge them.
Commandment Nine – Do not lie.
For the first time in America, you can’t trust the news, the FBI, the CDC, or what many people in authority tell us. “Fake News” is the order of the day because many outlets have an agenda–and it isn’t finding the truth. We tolerate fibbing politicians because we citizens elect them.
Commandment Ten – Don’t covet other people’s possessions
Marxism/Socialism was invented to get a large portion of the population envious of the “rich” and then take everybody’s money away in the name of “equity.” When you see a dress called “Tax the Rich” you know you’re looking at a demonic message.
I once saw a cartoon showing a person with a large hammer hitting the Ten Commandments (as if to destroy them). In the next frame, the Ten Commandments hadn’t budged, but the little man with the mallet had broken himself into thousands of pieces.
You don’t break God’s principles. If you turn away from them, they end up breaking you. A world without the Ten Commandments is a hellish place–and we are rapidly entering it in America.
But there’s always hope in God.
Start with yourself. Do you know the Ten Commandments? Can you paraphrase them in order? That’s your assignment for today. Each of us needs a renewal of the love of God’s wise commands in our own heart and life.
Then live them and teach them to those around you.
In Matthew 5:19, 20, Jesus gives us his perspective on God’s wonderful laws for living:
Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom (The Message).
Let’s pray for a revival of the Ten Commandments (and faith) in every area of life.
The Second Civil War continues in America.
Here are some facts on which most people agree.
The police brutality murder of George Floyd spawned peaceful protests for justice that were hijacked by anarchists and looters who desire power, not peace. The one-two punch of the Covid-19 lock downs coupled with the Satanic Pentecost has left America fearful, poorer and on edge.
One positive trend has emerged from the chaos.
I submit that one form will bring revival and hope. The other, revolution and despair. Here’s the most sobering part:
Every knee will bow.
Every Knee Will Bow
I dedicate this blog to the “justice generation” whom I’ve served in Youth With A Mission for forty-six years and at Faith International University.
Bill O’Reilly says that, “True social justice is fairness. The use of power in order to treat everyone equally in the public arena. That means creating all access opportunities. It does not mean overlooking destructive behavior or a guarantee of life success. You have to work for that.”
The current turmoil reminds me of the 60’s and 70’s when long hairs tried to stop the Vietnam War and mainstream drugs and free sex. I joined another group of hippies known as the “Jesus Revolution.” We wanted change too–but with God’s view of justice.
None of us ever gets that perfectly right, but some get closer.
Another group of long hairs (with wigs) lived in the latter part of the 18th century. They pursued social justice by bloodshed, looting, and forcibly toppling the government. Google the French Revolution (1789-1799) and you can read all about it.
It was ugly.
The French social justice mob became the political parents of the Nazis and communists. They made people take a knee and then shot them in the head.
Other 18th century patriots dropped to their knees in America from 1734 to the 1770’s. We call it the “Great Awakening.” Their form of kneeling involved prayer and personal repentance. The movement began with a sermon by Jonathan Edwards in Northampton, Massachusetts in December 1734 which served as a primer on American social justice. It was called “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
Don’t be offended by the title. God hates sin more than you hate sex trafficking and racial oppression.
That generation eventually threw a “Tea Party” in Boston Harbor after years of restraint, appeals to justice, and enduring the invasion of an occupying army. They defeated the British in the American Revolution–which became the political fruit of bowing their knees to God.
They said, “We have only one King–Jesus.” That passion and bravery gave birth to the USA–the first nation in history (besides ancient Israel) founded on biblical principles of liberty and justice.
It wasn’t perfect. Slavery had been a normal part of human culture for thousands of years. I know that’s hard to believe today. Slavery originally began when poor people “sold” themselves to others because they couldn’t provide for their families and no government programs existed. They became economic servants or slaves. They had no other choice.
Then, for thousands of years when one tribe conquered another, the victors forced people to serve them. This was the unjust form of slavery that became normal for millenniums. By the time of the Roman Empire, slaves composed 50% of the population.
Eventually the faith of the followers of Jesus changed things. They served the sick during numerous plagues. They became lion food for devilish sport. Over many centuries, their sacrificial love changed the Roman world as nearly half became followers of Christ.
Slavery nearly died out because they lived and taught that “we are one in Christ Jesus.”
Muslim traders revived slavery during the Middle Ages. Corrupt, religious Europe followed suit to keep up economically with Islam. A Renaissance and Reformation brought renewal of human rights, but slavery was still the accepted norm.
Many of our founding fathers owned slaves because that’s all they knew. Our Declaration of Independence thundered the truth of human equality, but it would take the first Civil War to end it in America.
Then, for nearly one hundred years, Americans’ struggled to attain equality in society. It took the courageous actions of Dr. Marin Luther King in the 1960’s to end racial segregation and lay the foundation for “equal justice under law.”
Today, despite the current struggles, America remains the largest inter-racial nation in world history where a poor African American youth named Barack Obama could become president of the nation by popular vote–twice. Couldn’t happen in China, Russia, or a European country.
But we have a long way to go.
Your justice quest in the 21st century must start by understanding that God is the standard of justice. He is perfectly righteous in all his ways (Deuteronomy 32:4).
You can’t out “justice” God.
You must study His Word carefully to understand true right from wrong. Read Genesis through Deuteronomy with a special emphasis on Exodus and Leviticus. One of the greatest expressions of justice is the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Disobeying any of them is unjust and hurts people–from God’s point of view.
The Ten Commandments remain the foundation of Western Civilization–which is why we possess more freedom than other nations. Go to one of the fifty majority-Muslim nations in the world. Will you find liberty for most people? Will you see justice for women? Travel to China, North Korea, or even Venezuela. Will you find human rights a top priority?
Back to America.
We still have a non-level playing field in portions of our country—especially inner cities. That’s due to many reasons including the breakdown of the African American family, 70% of kids born outside marriage (no fault of government) and the poverty it brings. More African Americans fear cops because they commit a higher percentage of crimes (no fault of police).
Police shootings are rare and usually justified. There were nine unarmed blacks shot by police in 2019 (out of 44 million African Americans). Nineteen whites suffered the same fate.
George Floyd’s was unjust—as were at least two of the white killings in 2019.
Yet, the greatest injustice in America in God’s sight is the brutality of abortion–our largest form of murder. Since 1972, we have killed 65 million babies—of which 20 million were African American.
That’s three thousand a day for forty-eight years.
On the day that George Floyd was killed, 3000 kids-in-the-womb were butchered. And every day since.
That’s insanely unjust.
People kill babies for the same reason they enslaved African Americans. Slavery was built on the “choice” (of slave owners) and the lie that African Americans weren’t “fully human.” We say the same today about children in the womb.
We were wrong then and are wrong now. Where’s your protest of the greatest human holocaust in history? (One-to-two billion worldwide.)
Yes, it’s time to kneel. Colin Kaepernick did it for revolution. The Democratic leaders posed for cameras. And many followers of Christ are doing it and bringing salvation to the streets.
In some ways it’s more respectful to kneel than to stand. Others can protest and we can pray. They want revolution. We crave renewal.
This fall when NFL and soccer players go to their knees, I think we should join them. This is a practice run. One day we will all appear before the God of justice and answer for what we’ve thought, said and done. At that awesome moment, God will be just by judging us (justice and judgment are the same word in the Bible).
It’s time to get ready for Judgment Day while seeking “liberty and justice” on earth.
Because one day, every knee will bow. And only the repentant will be forgiven.
(Please join the Call2Fall on Sunday, June 28 to join thousands in kneeling before God for reconciliation and revival.)