From Micah chapter 2:
What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans.
You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so.
When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it.
When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence.
You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance.
Do any of you remember the names of some of the men involved in the corporate scandals of the past twenty years? Men like Jeff Skilling of Enron, Bernie Ebbers of Worldcom, Dennis Kozloski of Tyco, and many other top level executives of various corporations served prison sentences for crimes ranging from fraud to insider trading and obstruction of justice. (And some are still in prison). Consider also Bernie Madoff who operated the ponzi scheme that is believed to be the most fraudulent financial scheme in history.
None of those men dreamed up their schemes in a single day. No…..they spent months and years concocting their “evil plans” , as Micah put it. This is what the Bible says of such men in Psalm 36:
I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before their eyes. In their own eyes they flatter themselves too much to detect or hate their sin. The words of their mouths are wicked and deceitful; they fail to act wisely or do good. Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.
They’re simply described as wicked and as both of those passages tell us, men (and women too) lay awake at night dreaming up ways to cheat people out of their money and possessions, and they’ve been doing so for centuries. The men involved in the corporate scandals in our day and time worked many a night into the early hours of the morning concocting their crooked schemes according to the Bible, just as men lay awake at night thousands of years ago dreaming up ways to cheat their neighbors out of their land and possessions. So these scandals are nothing new.
But as a result of the growing number of corporate scandals and financial schemes that have bilked people out of billions of dollars, many corporations now require their executives to attend specialized training in ethics. Now stop and think about what that means for a second. In very simple terms, it means they have to attend classes or workshops that teach them the difference between right and wrong. Does anyone see something fundamentally wrong there? Here you have grown men (and women) who are well into their adult years who have to be told the difference between right and wrong!! That’s basically what ethics training is. I’m sorry, but that’s something they should have been taught at a very early age, not when they’re in their forties and fifties!! They should have learned ethics from their parents, and those lessons should have been reinforced in their school classrooms and at church!
In Deuteronomy 11, God gave this command to the people:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
That’s Old Testament law, but it’s no less important today that we teach our children about God’s word and God’s law so they don’t become the kind of adults who lay awake at night dreaming of ways to cheat people! But even more important than that, it’s so they won’t become the kind of adults who eventually invite God’s judgment on our nation! Speaking of judgment, I’m not judging any of those men for what they did. God will take care of that. I don’t know anything about their upbringing. Maybe they went to church and heard God’s truth as children, maybe they didn’t. I don’t know if their parents simply neglected to teach them about God, or whether they rejected God later in life as adults. But somewhere along the way, God’s truth and moral values that relate to right and wrong got shoved aside. It’s yet another example of what happens when the people of a nation reject God. When a nation rejects God, it rejects morality. And when morality is gone, right and wrong mean absolutely nothing! And is that not what we’re seeing in America today? Right and wrong are whatever people say it is, and there is no fear of consequences. And we end with otherwise well educated adults who have to attend “ethics” training in order to learn the difference between right and wrong!
I guess some “ethics” training is better than nothing, but there is no secular ethics training course or ethics seminar that can ever replace the word of God! As a nation, we must stand up for right and wrong based on what God says is right and wrong, not on what we think or feel about right and wrong. And that only happens when our nation returns to the inerrant and unchanging word of God as its foundation! And for our nation, time is growing short. Until America repents, God will not restore our land. And American cannot repent and until you and I and every man and woman in this land repents and turns back to God.