Actually, it would be more accurate to say that they have probably all been entirely ignorant of the true state of the Union.
Oh, I'm sure that such topics as war and education and healthcare and the deficit were touched upon. There are several matters that the state of the Union addresses, but most of these things are absolutely superficial, and in the face of eternity, unimportant. No matter what we like to think, this Union will not last forever. Like all great civilizations, it had a beginning and someday it will have an end. That is a fact. It may last until the Lord comes again, but it will not last forever.
When we examine it in that light, what really matters is not the policies or procedures, not the sad lack of actual education nor the absolute disaster of a healthcare machine that we have implemented (and here I am not talking about Obamacare, but about the monster that we have created over decades of horrible eating, overdiagnosing, rampant lawsuits, and the desire to have a pill to cure everything from obesity to sadness--the desire to have someone else fix what we, ourselves, have broken.)
No, what really matters in the state of this Union is its spiritual health. What does the average individual within it live for? Where is its moral compass and how humble are its leaders, how open to criticism and change? What are we teaching our children, what values are we instilling, what emphasis do we put on hard work? What are we rewarding in the next generation--mediocrity or sacrifice and commitment? What are we filling our own hearts and minds with? Do we seek God's will or do we place Him in a partition separate from our goals, our finances, our entertainment? Are we, in fact, concerned with eternity at all?
If our nation's leaders saw the true state of the Union, there would be a wholesale return to God, massive repentance, fasting, and a stark and genuine change in the way things are done. If they really saw the state of the Union, red tape would be cast aside and the nation would turn, or at least begin to turn, because the true state of the Union is dire, and we have wasted enough time pretending that things might just somehow turn out all right in the end. But I am afraid that, as a nation, we have surrounded ourselves with teachers who tell us what we want to hear, just as Paul warned Timothy in his letter so many years ago. Look at what God said through Jeremiah:
Let's face it: we have, as a nation, embraced immorality. Adultery is rampant and marriages are being shredded like tissue paper in a waterfall. Most people marry to become "happy," and not for the sake of actual love (which is sacrificial and selfless) and commitment. Coupled with this is an absolute torrent of sexual temptation and enticements to further immorality. Divorce is accepted. The slaughter of babies for the sake of convenience or prosperity is accepted--a thing that we find unspeakable when we read about it in the Old Testament but we gloss over when we see it performed surgically in a sterile clinic. Extra-marital affairs are accepted. Even among professing Christians, these things are deemed acceptable, and sex outside the bounds of marriage is not frowned upon if the couple is in a "committed relationship." Folks, let me say this without any reservation: If you are not married and committed for better or worse 'til death do you part--no matter what--you are not in a committed relationship. You are just excusing sin for the sake of convenience.But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah. Jeremiah 23:14
Now I am not saying an indiscretion or a mistake cannot be forgiven--we are promised forgiveness...if we are repentant. Yes, if we believe in Christ and accept Him, but how can we possibly do that without being repentant? If we truly believe that He is the Diety Incarnate who gave His life in our stead, how can we not be humbled and shamed by our own sin? How can we not experience the "Godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret? (2 Corinthians 7:10)" Make no mistake: blowing off repentance because "Jesus died for me and so I am forgiven" and then continuing to embrace a worldly and sinful lifestyle is nothing less than trifling with the sacrifice of God's only Son, and I do not believe that shows a contrite heart that God will accept. As a matter of fact, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to place oneself under the Law than to treat lightly the incredible Gift God has given us in Christ....
Let's look a verse down and see what else is said in Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, 'It shall be well with you'; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, 'No disaster shall come upon you."
Friends, enemies, and whoever else may read this, this is not a good picture. I am afraid that even many of our churches could be lumped in with those "prophets" of old that God condemns here. Let us not be that way anymore! As the Chruch, let us humble ourselves and turn back to God. Let us be willing to hear hard words about our own sinfulness. Let us reject immorality and worldliness and embrace repentance and Godliness. Let us turn wholesale back to God, each one of us. Even if it hurts, even if it is inconvenient, even if it requires extraordinary sacrifice, it will be worth it. Let's keep our bodies clean as the temple of God, not defiling them with excesses of any food or drink nor with sexual immorality. Let's protect our marriages and not allow selfishness to creep in and destroy the picture God Himself has given us of Christ and His church, remembering as we do that each marriage projects that image to the world. Marriage is not about our happiness: it is our solemn duty and responsibility to present a pure and unblemished portrait of our relationship to our Lord, of commitment, of sacrifice. In this and all other realms, we cannot take the parts of the Gospel that we like to hear and neglect all the uncomfortable bits about repentance and sacrifice and taking up our crosses. This is simply something we cannot afford to do.For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.Jeremiah 23:16-20
Let us live in such a way that our very lives proclaim that we truly believe Jesus is the Son of God, God incarnate, who lived a perfect life and died in our stead. Let our lives shout out that He is worth it--He is worth raising unwanted children or sticking through the hard times with our spouse. He is worth doing without luxuries so that we can commit to training our children or feed the hungry. He is worth the sacrifice of our Starbucks or our vacation to see His word spread and His will done. He is worth finding out what His specific will for each one of us is and doing it, whether I have listed it here or no. He is worth total and uncompromising obedience.
The state of our Union will not change without us, Christians. It will only change if we truly seek God with our whole heart, humbling ourselves, repenting, and living lives that are not identical nor even similar to the values of the world. As James said it, "Friendship with the world is enmity towards God." We cannot have both. The time has come to choose.