The Expository Files

Neither Shed Innocent Blood

"Thus saith the Lord, 'Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also, do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, or the orphan, or the widow; do not shed innocent blood in this place." (JEREMIAH 22:3). Those instructions were given to the king of Judah through the prophet Jeremiah. Things had gotten out of hand in Judah. There was much violence in the land. Innocent people were oppressed by lawlessness and fearful for their family's safety. Many had lost focus and the nation was reeling under the suffering of its people. Human life became cheap. Murders and robberies abounded. It was near anarchy.

It is easy to see where the troubles began. It was when Judah forgot God. It is easy to see the parallel with our own nation. We have forgotten the same things as they forgot and are suffering the same breakdowns and decay as they suffered. Wake up, America!

Our news is filled with incident after incident which show that the moral state of our nation is dismal. Innocent children are butchered, either by abortion before they are born or by being shot on their way to school. There are gangs who make their living preying on the elderly. People are killed for their money, cars, color of skin or for no particular reason at all. Brutality of all kinds from rape to serial killings seem to be without end. Again, wake up, America!

Why is This Happening?
"And many nations will pass by this city; and they will say to one another, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this great city?' Then they will answer, 'Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord their God and bowed to other gods and served them." (Jeremiah 22:8,9). Jeremiah foresaw a time when the once great city of Jerusalem would lay in ruins. As people remembered the glorious past of Jerusalem, they would wonder how it all had come to this. The answer was that the people had forsaken God and His commandments.

Again, the parallel is obvious and disturbing. The answer to "Why is this happening?" is apparent. Everything that prior generations held sacred; their ideals and values; their morals and faith; are being cast aside.

1) Evolutionists have taught us that we are the result of accidents and not a divine plan. The end result is that many believe that a human being is of no more value than mold or mildew. And if there is no God, they are absolutely correct! One who swallows these lies is bound to think nothing of taking another person's life. Neither will he or she think very much of their own. And now, through legislation, they have found a way to have only their side
taught in the classrooms of America, while the other side; those who believe in creation, are censored! "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8).
2) The breakup of the home. The home has the primary responsibility of instilling within children knowledge of right and wrong. Even without the schools, our children should still be receiving ample instruction in these areas. But many of our homes have completely failed in the most important reason for their existence! "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from their heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and grandsons." (Deuteronomy 4:9).
3) The abandonment of faith. Many of this nation's founders came looking for freedom to worship God according to their own consciences. The framers of the founding documents had strong faith and based the provisions found in those documents on certain moral absolutes that exist only because there is a God. But today it has been decided that those same documents prohibit public prayer at graduation exercises. Religious beliefs can only be mentioned if it is in some negative way, it seems. For example, some would tell you that tax dollars should be spent for displaying anti-Christian art but never anything that would promote Christian ideals. We need God so very much as a nation. But we are pushing Him further and further away. "But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself,' Declares the Lord, 'that this house will become a desolation." (Jeremiah 22:5).

Murder in the Streets
"You have devised a shameful thing for your house by cutting off many peoples; so you are sinning against yourself...woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with violence." (Habakkuk 2:10-12). Violence is on the increase in our nation. Violence will always accompany the loss of moral restraints which comes from abandoning God. There have always been people who sought to gain things for themselves through violence, but it has not been such a popular option in my memory as it is today. Seeing how far we have slid in the last generation makes me wonder what will be in store for the next.

The Lord has much to say about the godless violence that permeates our society. Certainly the most famous statement He has made concerning murder is the famous "Thou shalt not kill." (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Romans 13:9). The word translated "kill" in the King James Version means to commit murder. It does not refer to causing accidental death, capital punishment, self-defense, law enforcement or war.

"'''The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit." (Psalms 5:6b). The knee of the murderer, from the vengeful to the cruel; will one day bow before a God who abhors him because of the deeds he has done. He might be proud, arrogant and powerful now. He might scoff at the thought of capture, prison or even death. He might glory in his reputation and enjoy seeing the fear in the innocent when he is present. He may even scoff at the idea of least for now. But the day will come when the deepest of pangs will be felt in a heart that had long been so hard that it had felt nothing; no fear, pity, love or remorse. It will suddenly feel again, deeply, painfully and forever. "It is a fearful and terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31).

"My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, 'Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood. Let us ambush the innocent without cause...Throw in your lot with us, we shall have one purse.'...For their feet run to do evil, and they hasten to shed blood..." (Proverbs 1:10-19). Ours is not the first society to be plagued with gangs of this kind. We wouldn't be facing it today if we had stuck to the course our forefathers began. There have always been brutal individuals who thrive on such. But their numbers have certainly increased as the law has become less and less effective. Who will win the struggle? Will lawlessness and anarchy prevail? Will our nation crumble from within?

I do not know all the answers; we will just have to wait and see. There are two opposing forces at work in our society today. One is naturalistic and maintains the whole human race is just a cosmic accident. Many of them would rather protect a seal or whale or even a tree than an unborn baby. They do not like God to be mentioned in public at all because it offends them to hear of Him. They do not want our children to be taught of the religious beliefs of the founding fathers. They want no personal responsibility assigned to criminals for their acts because the criminal is only a victim of his own environment. And when a person's immoral behavior results in disease, then we are to treat the disease as best we can but not the cause. After all, there are no moral absolutes anymore.

The other side holds that God does exist and that we are created in His image. We believe that human life is sacred and that it is important to teach our children His ways. We believe that we are responsible for our choices; right or wrong. And we believe that some things are always right and others are always wrong. Which side will win? As far as this nation, I do not know, but as far as eternity, the battle has already been decided by God.

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 10.2, February, 2003