Israel had forgotten the God who brought them through so many hard times and delivered them into a life flowing with milk and honey. It was the loss of the corporate memory that so impacted Israel as a nation. It wasn’t the common persons fault. God did not blame them. 23 toc1Instead, it was the fault of all those in leadership positions. Jeremiah 2:8 points that out clearly when he says, “The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.” The prophets, priests, leaders and caregivers of a nation are to be of such wisdom and maturity as to preserve the order which established civilization as it came to be. In Israel it was God’s personal deliverance from oppression and slavery into a land of promise. It was His laws that preserved the standard of living and maintained the health of the nation. But they forgot!

There are signs of that in our own nation in the 21st century. We’ve forgotten our moral, ethical and judicial roots. I know it’s unpopular and not politically correct to argue that America has always been a Christian nation, but regardless of where you stand on this issue, you cannot deny the fact that the Judeo-Christian ethic is what blessed America with freedom and prosperity. French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests—and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning—and it was not there.  I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”[1]

Ingratitude denotes spiritual immaturity.  Infants do not always appreciate what parents do for them.  They have short memories.  Their concern is not what you did for me yesterday, but what are you doing for me today. The past is meaningless and so is the future.  They live for the present. Those who are mature are deeply appreciative of those who labored in the past.  They recognize those who labor during the present and provide for those who will be laboring in the future.[2]

[1] Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).

[2] Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).