Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people
If you look back in history, the truth of this passage is so evident, and as a people of a nation that is becoming increasingly wicked, we need to take notice.
Look at the cycle seen in Judges, for example. The people followed God and were blessed, then they fell away and God chastised them, often with a conquering nation. They would turn back to God and cry out for help, and He would send aid. And the cycle would repeat. Again…and again…and again.
Under the priest Eli and his ungodly sons, the nation fell again. The ark of the covenant was captured, the battle lost and the people left wondering what had happened. When the leaders of a nation are ungodly and the nation follows blindly, ruin will become reality.
Fast forward a fear years and look at the nation under David. He was a godly man. He loved the Lord and sought His counsel. God Himself called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). He made mistakes. He sinned. He caused grief. But he always turned back to God. God was his first priority. Take time to read Psalm 51 sometime and pay attention to the grief he felt at having sinned against his God. Under this righteous king, the nation of Israel flourished.
Unfortunately Solomon did not follow fully in his father’s footsteps, and the kingdom following his reign divided and was marked by wicked rulership. It’s no wonder that Israel was carried away into captivity time and time again.
Deuteronomy 28 is a great commentary on this – obey and you will be blessed; disobey and you will be cursed. The New Testament carries on this truth:
Luke 11:28 “But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
Col 3:5-6 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
2 Thess 1:6-9 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power