What Makes A Nation Great?

Sept.28200 years ago France was the major world power. 100 years ago Great Britain was the major world power. 50 years ago people all over the world feared the rise of communism and the Soviet Union.

None of those nations are world leaders any longer. What makes a great nation?

Yesterday I preached from 2 Kings 21, the story of King Manasseh of Judah. Billy Graham called Manasseh “The most wicked man who ever lived.” His evil reign brought about the destruction of the nation.

Three things helped bring about the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem.

First, Manasseh seduced the nation. He encouraged the people to adopt the ways of the nations. Instead of seeing Israel and Judah as unique nations under the blessing of God, he encouraged the people to become like the nations around them.

He led them in pagan worship, establishing altars for foreign gods even in the temple courtyards. He led the people to worship the sun and moon and stars.

Second, Manasseh encouraged pagan worship of all kinds, including gross immorality. He even placed an Asherah pole in the temple. The Asherah pole was used in worship of the baal gods and stood as a sexual symbol before the people.

It’s hard to imagine a great nation that thrives and lives on immoral actions.

When G. K. Chesterton came to America, he wanted to know what made America great. He found his answer in America’s churches. His conclusion went something like this: “America is good because America is great. When America ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.”

Third, Manasseh disrespected human life. He sacrificed his son and filled Jerusalem with innocent blood. While the Scripture doesn’t give us the exact answer, it seems that this means Manasseh ruled ruthlessly and was determined to hold on to power at any cost.

Like immorality, it’s hard to imagine a great nation that does not respect human life. What should we seek for the United States?

Let us encourage obedience to God in every area of life. Jerusalem and Judah were destroyed and the people taken into exile because they ignored God and His leadership. They went after other gods and forgot that God had ordained them to be a light to the nations. Instead, Judah became like the nations and suffered the same fate.

Let us be a people who obey God and seek His guidance for our lives and for our country.

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4 Comments


  1. Brenda Collins
    Sep 28, 2015

    Teacher,
    With the recent revealing of the Planned Parenthood videos – the BUYING and SELLING of innocent human babies, the purchasing of ‘select’ body parts in BULK at a reduced rate…….. I don’t believe we are that far from the days of Manasseh!! Planned Parenthood is so much more than abortion, as if that is not already bad, the killing of human life for…….convenience? PP receives $528.4M TAX PAYER $$ every year — YOU AND I ARE FUNDING THIS!!! I have asked God to forgive me for my ignorance in not knowing that this goes on, but now we DO KNOW IT GOES ON AND WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT??? We have a holocaust going on around us TODAY! At the very least we have to stop the taxpayer funding of this filth.
    Oh and who are the BUYERS of these baby parts that are in such high demand? Eyeballs, livers, kidneys, whole babies? Think about THAT!
    I know churches are full of women who have had abortions many years ago and praise God they are right where they need to be today, seeking God’s face. Yes, of course, His precious blood forgives even that. Let’s not forget, Manasseh repented of his wicked ways and ….rested with his fathers and was buried in his palace. 2 Ch 33:10-20
    Thank you for reading and God forgive us, please!!

    When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations,
    the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.
    ~Dresden James~


  2. Roger Bailey
    Sep 29, 2015

    I believe you’ve accidentally misquoted Chesterton. His conclusion on America’s greatness was actually that “America is great because America is good.”

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. — 1 John 4:16 (NIV)