Sin Ruins a Kingdom
1 Samuel 12:25
But if you shall still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king.

Such was the language of Samuel to the Jews. He requires of them nothing superstitious; nothing merely ceremonious; nothing only external and temporary — but the exercise of piety flowing from the feet of God, End accompanied with sincerity and fervour in serving Him. This is all. "Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart." This He enforces by two motives; the one drawn from gratitude, and the other from interest. Already I hope you have dropped Judea, and fixed your attention on your own country. The words could never have been more applicable to the Jews than they are to us. Has He not done great things for us? It is not foolish partiality, but truth that compels us to say, "The lines are fallen to us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage." And to secure all these civil and religious advantages — how often has He made our cause His own! How seasonably and signally has He interposed to save us from the designs of our enemies! When brought low He has helped us. Can we be insensible to all this? If there were any ingenuousness in us, this motive alone would be sufficient. But fear has its use — and it is necessary to tell you not only that you are bound by gratitude, but interest. "If ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be destroyed, both you and your king." This is dreadful — Think of a king you love, as well as honour, and "whose life is a lesson to the land he sways" — driven from his throne. Think of liberty exchanged for slavery. Think of property rapaciously plundered, or devoured by tyrannical exaction. Think of your private dwellings affording those who are dearer to you than yourselves no security from brutal passions. Think of the temples of God burnt up, or converted to other purposes.

1. If there be a moral governor of the universe, sin must provoke Him. For who could adore a Being who professed to govern the world, and suffered the wicked to go on with impunity?

2. If sin provoke God He is able to punish it. All the elements are His. Every creature obeys His nod, from an archangel to a worm. Is anything too hard for the Lord — when He would either show mercy or execute wrath?

3. Bodies of men are punishable in this world only. In eternity there are no families, churches, nations. If, therefore, a country is to be destroyed, it is tried and condemned and executed here.

4. There is a tendency in the very nature of sin to injure and ruin a country. It destroys subordination. It relaxes the ties which bind mankind together, and makes them selfish and mean. Social welfare cannot survive the death of morals and virtue.

5. God's dealings with guilty nations are confirmed by His word, and indeed by all history. Finally, to enable us to draw the conclusion, He often — he always — gives previous intimation of His displeasure — so that, were not men blind and deaf, they must see and bear His coming. When you see the body wasting away by disease, and every complaint growing more inveterate, you suspect that death will be the consequence — it is already begun. "When the fig tree, and all the trees, put forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh." And how is it that we do not perceive that God is angry with us — that He is contending with us? But, you ask — Have we any cause to fear this? I answer, just in proportion to the degree of our sin. Now there are two ways by which we may judge of our national guilt. The first is to enumerate the sins which reign predominant among us. The other method is to lay down Criterions, by which we may estimate the prevalency and the aggravations of sin in a country. And what test has ever been devised that is not alarming when applied to ourselves? There is one thing of which we hear very much, and many seem to consider it as a counterpoise to all our fears, that there are so many good people among us. Blessed be God, this is true, and they certainly afford us encouragement. Ten righteous men would have saved Sodom. Let us remember that it is a hopeful circumstance — but that it does not absolutely insure the salvation of a country. Let us recollect that there was a time when God used the following language to Jeremiah and Ezekiel concerning the Jews: "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. Then said the Lord unto Me, Pray not for this people for their good. Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth." What learn we from all this? That there are cases in the history of nations when the Divine forbearance is exhausted, and when the cries of the righteous will avail no more than those of the wicked. Let us prize those institutions which are favourable to the morality and sanctification of mankind. Especially let us value the Gospel. And, oh! remember, if your country should be saved, and you as an individual continue impenitent — you — you will be certainly destroyed! And what is any national calamity to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of His power!"

(William Jay.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

WEB: But if you shall still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king."

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