Righteousness Exalts a Nation

By Pastor Teck Uy

We all desire to live in a prosperous and progressive country—one that is above all others. However, the success of a nation is dependent on how the inhabitants live their lives. The Book of Proverbs makes this very clear when it states, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34). This righteousness comes from the obedience of the people to the laws of God. Moses emphasized this when he gave the commandments. He said, “And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness” (Deut. 6:25). Necessarily, our obedience to the laws of the land will also bring righteousness.

Prayer is one of the keys to the success of a nation. When Israel went into exile, the Lord commanded them, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper”  (Jeremiah 29:7). Oftentimes, we tend to be complacent and self-engrossed. We do nothing, yet we expect the best in life. Meantime, we complain and murmur when no blessings come. This is the worst attitude that we can have if we want to prosper. We all need to pray for our country, so that the Lord may bless it. Indeed, if the country prospers, we will all prosper with it.

As a people, what are we to pray for? In his epistle to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Our enjoyment of life depends greatly on those who are in authority over us. They can make life easy or hard for us. Foremost, we need to pray for our government authorities—led by our Prime Minister—on whom the country’s future is very much dependent. Policy decisions and actions done by them will impact our daily lives. They can definitely affect the manner by which we exercise our faith and whether or not we can live quiet and peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness. There are nations that used to be known as “Christian” nations, but are no more. This is because the people did not pray for their leaders. In fact, they might have even cursed or criticized them. When we curse our leaders, they are cursed. It is sad, but many still expect to be blessed by someone who is cursed.

But who among our leaders should we pray for? The command is to pray for ALL of our leaders. We cannot be selective, because “there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Rom. 13:1-2). Even if those in authority are wicked, we need to pray and be subject to them, for they are installed as leaders for a purpose. Wicked rulers are often used by the Lord to bring believers closer to him. This happened to Israel, as a nation, many times. Whenever wicked men ruled them, they would go to God for help. Yet once they were delivered, they again forgot the Lord and returned to their old ways. Their enjoyment of life and their successes were dependent on their submission and obedience to the commands of the Lord.

One of the authorities that should always be included in our prayers is the authority in the home. Children should constantly pray for their parents. Their success as a family is dependent on how the father runs the affairs of the family. If the father is cursed by the very members of his family, he is not expected to be a blessing and the family falls apart. Similarly, those who are employed should pray for the authorities in their companies. If they keep complaining and they criticize or curse their employers, sooner or later the company will dry up and shut down.

Therefore, let us be an instrument in bringing blessings to our nation, family and workplaces. The Book of Proverbs emphasizes this when it says, “Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed” (Prov. 11:11). Yes, there is power in what we say. If we speak blessings, blessings will come. Let us then speak blessings towards our country and those in authority over us, that we may be blessed. Hallelujah!