Moving The Landmarks

Bible Book: Proverbs  23 : 10-11
Subject: Morality; America; Backsliding

After working on today’s message Sunday evening, Monday morning, and then all day Tuesday, I sensed God changing my direction. Before this, I sensed the timing was right to go back to Romans, pick up our study with chapter 9 and continue our verse-by-verse study of that letter. However, as I was using the internet for some research, I received a couple of emails which God used to speak to my heart about perhaps the most pressing issues facing us today. A lifelong friend (Carolyn Byrd) wrote and said, “I don't think I have ever prayed this hard about an election.” Another email quoted Dr. Ed Young saying, to his 10,000 member congregation in Houston, “The Bible is the best voter’s guide you can find.”

Dear folks, we are 48 hours in front of the most significant election in the history of the USA. While I don’t care to be political, I certainly need to be Biblical and there are some principles from the Bible which we need to consider if our country is to survive. Turn with me to Proverbs 23.

It never ceases to amaze me at the “looks” I receive when I say, “If we are not careful, and this could well be the last time we get to elect a president.” Why do I say this? Because every time I find and read an article with the words “Without Firing a Shot”I see the characteristics stated in these articles abounding and growing in this culture. And with the wrong decision on Tuesday, life could really get hard.

Here is what I know. The Framers and Fathers of our nation were and are deeper thinkers than any leader we have today. They ‘thought through’ the issues, debated the setup, and then wrote documents which leaders today can only read. For over 150 this country was the most respected, secure, and feared nation on earth. As I was told in high school American History class, “It used to be that people would fight all around our embassy, but would not breach the security out of fear and respect.” What has happened? Where has the respect and fear gone?

After visiting the USA, the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” It is with this thought that we read Proverbs 23:10-11.

The scripture says, “Don’t move the ancient property lines.” In other translations these property lines are called “boundary lines or landmarks.” The implication is simply, “Don’t move them.” This morning think with me about moving the landmarks.

Two years ago we bought a house. As you know, in the process of buying a house a surveyor came out and set the boundary lines for our property. These lines show us what is legally ours. What would happen if I pulled up those stakes and moved them toward my neighbors land about 15 feet. Do you think my neighbor, Tony, would have something to say? Perhaps, but what if he chose to say nothing? And what if years passed, both properties changed hands without the keen eye of a surveyor, and now the placement of the original stake is hidden from sight. So the new owner of my house builds a fence and takes in property that doesn’t belong to him. What happens when a certified surveyor returns to place the marks? You have a mess, because the lines were erroneously moved.

This morning I submit to you that the landmarks of this nation have been played with and moved around until only the trained eye of an objective surveyor can replace the boundary lines in the correct place.

I. National Landmarks

At this point, we are not talking about “Landmarks” like the Washington or Lincoln monuments, but rather, those principles upon which the USA was founded. Consider with me the wording of the Preamble to the constitution. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Do you hear all of those landmarks and boundaries? Time will not allow us to review them each one but it serves us well to know that the desire of our forefathers’ was to “promote general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” You do know what this means? It means that every person should be blessed with the freedom and opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.” Please be reminded that this does not guarantee us these things, it only grants us the privilege to pursue them.

Actually, we could spend much time and develop many thoughts about the national landmarks which have been moved, but here is what the unrevised historical evidence tells us. America was founded as a Christian nation. It took only 21 words before the word CREATOR appeared in the Declaration of Independence. Even though there is a movement to remove God and Christianity from the face of America it will be tough.

One of our presidential candidates is quoted as saying, “Whatever we once were, America is no longer a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish, Muslin, and Buddhist nation, as well as a nation of unbelievers.” While it is true that we have all those people in this country, it is equally true that almost every national monument has inscribed in it a verse of scripture or some statement of recognition of Jehovah God. Our nation’s father obviously understood what some would attempt to do in the future. This election is one of those attempts to change the national landscape.

II. Spiritual Landmarks

From the beginning of this nation, the spiritual dimension was ever present. In the early days of America, Christianity was kept at the forefront of life. At one time, a person had to believe in God to be qualified as a candidate for public office. Let’s mention a few of the spiritual landmarks that have been moved or removed in this land.

A. Prayer

In 1951, the New Board of Regents approved a 22 word non-denominational prayer for recitation at the beginning of school. Here it is; “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.” Ten parents of New Hyde Park School objected and filed suit and in 1962 an approved prayer was deemed unconstitutional. The first landmark was moved. The next year, youngster William Murray stood with his class mates to recite the “Model Prayer” and His mom, Madeline Murray O’Hare, took up the cause and prayer was taken out of our schools. This landmark was removed. An interesting note; recently I heard a young man try to say that “prayer has not been removed from schools.” To be fair and balanced, it is true that students can pray at their seats, over tests, and on the grounds. But this is what that young man either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to admit; there was a day in this country where teaching our children to pray and thank God happened in every divine institution; the home, the church, AND the school. When everyone was on the same page, society was different.

B. The Bible

While Ms. O’Hare gets much credit for single-handedly removing prayer and the Bible from our schools, it should be noted that she probably gets too much credit as others were involved. The same year (1963) her case on prayer was decided on, the Supreme Court, in what might be called the “Year of the Most Constitutional deciding in the Most Unconstitutional year,” announced an 8-1 decision to remove Bible reading from schools. Edward L. Schempp sat down with his family and led them to file suit and get the Bible out of the schools.

And with a sounding boom, we should have heard a landmark being destroyed. When I think of this Supreme Court decision my mind’s eye paints a picture of a big building seemingly solid and then you hear the sound of explosions coming from inside the building. You hear the sounds, you see the smoke, and the building collapses from the inside. It has “imploded” and now lays in ruins and rubble. With almost every decision of the Supreme Court another landmark implodes. Candidly when these two spiritual landmarks were decimated, the next two followed suit in short order.

C. Morals

At the risk of sounding sarcastic, it is no coincidence that in the same decade we, as a nation, began turning our backs on God in the public area that the sexual revolution came to town. While in every society some immorality exists, in America these activities were largely out of the public eye until God was excused from public life. When God was extricated from public life, then the public eye couldn’t discern as well and the results have been disastrous. Today, pre-marital, extra-marital, and homosexual encounters are the rule and no longer the exception. Additionally, “co-habituating” has become the norm because “it’s nobody’s business.” Do you know where this non-Biblical attitude has brought this country? Television has promoted immorality with such shows as “Friends”, “Sex in the City”, “Desperate Housewife”, and the late “Swingtown.” This is NOT harmless entertainment, it is corrupting our society. Prime Time Live did a survey found that Women on the average during their life have sex with 6 different men while men have sex with 20 different women. Brothers and sisters, this is perversion at its highest. This perversion began its assault on our culture with God being taken out of the school and being replaced by secularism and multiculturalism. Today, morals in this country are almost nonexistent. How about 1 more?

D. Ethics

(Ideas of Right and wrong) Fifteen years ago, who would have even thought that Enron, World Com, or AIG, would go down in financial flame? However, who would have thought a sitting President could commit flagrant sin inside of the Oval Office and still remain as President? Who would have thought that ‘truth’ would be viewed as ‘relative?’ Who would have thought that the sin of homosexuality would be given “civil-rights” status? The list of unbelievable & unimaginable questions could go on and on, but none of this would have happened without dismissing God.

The USA is still a great country. However don’t be deceived, many of the ancient landmarks, the foundational principles, have been moved or removed. The results are clear; we are now teetering on a future that, at best, is difficult and at worse, is destruction.

This week I received an email which literally sent me to my knees. Let me read a little of this for you:

Are you sensing that there is something different about this presidential election? I was telling someone just recently that it seems like this election is far more serious than those in the recent past. Something in my spirit is very uneasy. In the past I have felt the need to pray for different elections but I have never felt so strongly the urge to pray, and pray fervently, for an election as I do for this one. I truly believe that if the wrong person is elected this nation will be changed forever. We may not be able to undo the things that will be unleashed.

III. Conclusion

As this message comes to an end, allow me to challenge person here to do some things in your own life.

Spend some time in prayer.

Be sure that YOUR Landmarks are secure.

Be aware that God is watching.

Be diligent about following Jesus every day.

There is no doubt that our country is facing a mountainous challenge. Just remember the words of Jesus, “If you have the faith, you can move mountains.”