Why Should an American Who is a Christian Vote in Public Elections?Brian Kuehmichel
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Let us bring out some texts in the Holy Scriptures which will help us understand God's viewpoint. Paul summarizes the scriptural position of duty to government by this statement:
1 Romans 13:1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. The next text places all people under God's provision for order among mankind.
1 Peter 2:13-15a Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God...
To keep man from mindlessly following any leader, God states through Peter and the other apostles:
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered (the leaders) and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Note however, God does not place all people under one single government.
Acts 17:26 And (God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation...
Genesis 10:32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
Because our American government was patterned after the Biblical model given to Israel we should look to those texts explaining that model. Deuteronomy 16:18 states Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. God further elaborates in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 upon the duty of the national leader by saying:
When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou must not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. And it shall be, when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
The first text in Deuteronomy explains how Israel's leaders should be appointed locally by the people in an orderly way. That modeled our American system of voting for local town and city officials, our county officials, our state officials and our national officials. The increasing levels of duty and responsibility is taken from this lengthy passage in Exodus 18 where Jethro speaks to Moses and explains an orderly system of leadership for God's people which God directed Moses to establish.
Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves.
This tiered leadership approach is reaffirmed in the dissertation of Moses to Israel when he says in Deuteronomy 1:15-17 and 16:18-20:
So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made them heads over you, captains
over thousands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and captains over tens, and officers among your tribes. And I charged
your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the
stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid
of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live...
There is a parallel to this when God directed Israel regarding their assembly for war against enemies in Deuteronomy 20:1-9 where captains are appointed over sections of the people.
When thou go out to battle against thine enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, and shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart. And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
This governing model was made early in Israel's history during the wilderness journey and because of the tiered hierarchy of leadership there came to be seventy major leaders for Israel. Moses calls them to come before the Lord.
Exodus 24:1-2 And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the LORD: but they shall not come nigh; neither shall the people go up with him.
Even Jesus used this method with a very large crowd to bring order.
Luke 9:14-15 For they were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in a company. And they did so, and made them all sit down.
Twelve disciples with each overseeing a group of about 50 men plus their families patterns for us the density of leaders to people to provide good leadership.
Duties of Government
The Apostle Peter states government has two primary duties which are punish evildoing and commend those who do well.
Apostle Paul says the same:
Both of these parts are to be carried out in America by preserving order through representative officials establishing honest, fair, reasonable laws and by providing a system of justice through various local, state and national courts for those hurt by the lawlessness of some citizens. One other duty falls to government in its protection of the oppressed and that is the defense of the country, by means of war if necessary. God addresses how this selection of representative officials should be done honestly and fairly by saying:
Deuteronomy 1:16-17 And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Deuteronomy 16:18-20 Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live...
Deuteronomy18:21-22 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: and let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge.
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.
Duties of Citizens
God warns us in these texts when we neglect to carry out His will for us by perverting government duties thereby bringing oppression and suffering:
Isaiah 1:10 & 15-17 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Isaiah 1:23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loves gifts, and follows after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
Not only does God warn but He also punishes those who disobey.
Ezekiel 22:6 -15 Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. And one hath committed abomination with his neighbor's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter. In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee. Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it. And I will scatter thee among the heathen, and disperse thee in the countries, and will consume thy filthiness out of thee.
Zechariah 7:9-14 Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart. But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
God also promises safety to those who obey His words.
Psalm 10:16-18 The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
Malachi 3:7 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.
The duties of all citizens in the united States of America (correct spelling is small 'united' per founding documents of our country) are to understand righteousness, truth, and mercy; the boundaries of government; the constitutional obligations of citizens, immigrants and visitors; the right to own property; the respect due to person and property; the obligation not to encroach upon anyone or their property; the proper course to select leaders; the obligation to hold those leaders accountable; the personal obligation to help poor, hurt, or oppressed neighbors; the duty to bear arms to defend person and property; and the duty to participate in maintaining civil order.
If we as citizens neglect these duties and elect officials that take bribes, pervert justice, show partiality, oppress by unrighteous laws and processes, or fail to deliver from oppression, we bring their condemnation upon ourselves because God told us to select God-fearing, honest, truthful, men of integrity. When the leaders do wrong their wrongdoing is a reflection of the willingness of the people to do wrong. And when God brings punishment upon the nation and its leaders we get that punishment which we deserve! But there is help from God for He says:
2 Chronicles 7:14-15 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attend unto their prayer...
This benefit comes if we pray in repentance, turn from our sins, and do right!
Our American Founders Offer Insight
Here are some quotes from those who know what was intended by the citizens of this country.
Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. - Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256, in the Boston Gazette on April 16, 1781.
Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust be men of unexceptionable characters. The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.. - Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. III, p. 236-237, to James Warren on November 4, 1775.
Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust. - Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803 (Hartford: Printed by Hudson & Goodwin, 1803), p. 27.
Now more than ever the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. . . . [I]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation . . . it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces. - James Garfield, "A Century of Congress" published in Atlantic, July 1877.
A share in the sovereignty of the state, which is exercised by the citizens at large, in voting at elections is one of the most important rights of the subject, and in a republic ought to stand foremost in the estimation of the law. - Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Harold C. Syrett, ed. (New York, Columbia University Press, 1962), Vol III, pp. 544-545.
Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation , to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. IV, p. 365.
The Americans are the first people whom Heaven has favored with an opportunity of deliberating upon and choosing the forms of government under which they should live. - John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, Henry P. Johnston, ed. (New York: G.P. Putnams Sons, 1890), Vol. I, p. 161.
Every male citizen of the commonwealth, liable to taxes or to militia duty in any county, shall have a right to vote for representatives for that county to the legislature. - Thomas Jefferson, The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, John P. Foley, ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900), p. 842.
When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. - Supreme Court Justice William Paterson reminding his fellow justices of Proverbs 29:2. United States Oracle (Portsmouth, NH), May 24, 1800
Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights. - Thomas Jefferson, The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, John P. Foley, ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900), p. 842.
Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. . . . But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn. . . .[T]hough good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [lack] good men and be abolished or invaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer [allow] ill ones. - William Penn quoted from: Thomas Clarkson, Memoirs of the Private and Public Life of William Penn (London: Richard Taylor and Co., 1813) Vol. I, p.303.
The elective franchise, if guarded as the ark of our safety, will peaceably dissipate all combinations to subvert a Constitution, dictated by the wisdom, and resting on the will of the people. - Thomas Jefferson, The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, John P. Foley, ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900), p. 842.
The rational and peacable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people. - Thomas Jefferson, The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, John P. Foley, ed. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1900), p. 842.
Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own. - Daniel Webster, The Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1853), Vol. II, p. 108, from remarks made at a public reception by the ladies of Richmond, Virginia, on October 5, 1840.
In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate--look to his character. - Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education to Which is Subjoined a Brief History of the United States (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), p. 18.
When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country. - Noah Webster, Letters to a Young Gentleman Commencing His Education to which is subjoined a Brief History of the United States (New Haven: S. Converse, 1823), p. 19.
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, "just men who will rule in the fear of God." The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws. - Noah Webster, History of the United States (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 336-337, |49.
The people in general ought to have regard to the moral character of those whom they invest with authority either in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches. - John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon (Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, p. 267.
Those who wish well to the State ought to choose to places of trust men of inward principle, justified by exemplary conversation. - John Witherspoon, The Works of John Witherspoon Edinburgh: J. Ogle, 1815), Vol. IV, p. 266.
Christians unique Dual Citizenship
We know that Christians have an allegiance to their Lord and Savior that requires conduct fitting their position. Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. But did you realize that because we have an obligation to government and an obligation to God as His children that we essentially hold dual citizenship? That position of two duties helps to clarify what we as Christians should do while living here in our conduct and relationship to our American government and what we should do in living out our conduct and relationship to fellow man. Our obligation to government was summarized in the preceding 'Duties of Citizens' section. Our obligation to fellow man comes from many texts and is summarized in these categories:
Marriage and family
Genesis 2:22-24 And (with) the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Heb 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
1 Corinthians 7:7:1-5 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Prov 17:6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Mark 9:36-37 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receives me: and whosoever shall receive me, receives not me, but Him that sent me.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Mal 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Matthew 19:19 Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Neighbor to neighbor
Matthew 18: 15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.
Matthew 19:19 Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Romans 13:9-10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
James 2:8-9 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
James 2:14-16 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
God sends a warning to His people
Hear these words from Jeremiah 7:1-34 and let them sink in deeply my brothers for we are very much like Israel and Judah in our actions here in America. And WE LOSE when we continue in our sins. (Perhaps this article "Fearing the Lord" will help you get a clearer view of what we lose.)
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words,saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.
5 For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.
17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?
20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.
22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices:
23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.
28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
29 Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.
30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.
This is what God says about us, whoever we are and wherever we live!
Pro 1:24-33 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."