Thank you, Senator Martin.
Lt. Governor, Mr. President, Mr. Secretary, Senators, and Fellow Citizens of the State of Georgia.
Grace to you and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
I count it an incredible honor to share with you this morning, and to stand in this historic place, especially since for part of my childhood, I was a street-kid who played and hung-out outside these very doors on the streets of Atlanta.
To be serving as a minister for the Lord, and as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, is a true miracle of God and demonstrates the power of Jesus Christ to change a life.
My text this morning is from the first chapter of the Book of Joshua in the Bible.
The setting is at the end of Moses’ life and leadership, and he has handed over his leadership responsibilities to Joshua. The Lord gives Joshua some advice which I believe is applicable, especially for you who are leaders here in the State of Georgia.
Joshua was to lead God’s people into the Promised Land, and The Lord wants to make sure that he will lead with the understanding that the Lord desires to bless him and guide him. Not only does Joshua have some battles ahead of him, but he is also to establish a new nation – to set up society and community life for millions of people with the blessing of God.
But there is a condition. There is a requirement.
Even today God wants to bless humanity, and He wants humanity to be successful.
But there is a requirement.
Joshua 1:6-9 says: “Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success[a] wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ESV
If Joshua wants to be successful, if he wants the nation to be successful, he must obey the Laws of God. The Law of God is not just a bunch of don’ts, but it is also the way to have a blessed society and civilized social order. The Law of God not only invites the blessings of God, but also the protection of God.
The founders of this State and of this Nation knew this and this is why our system of Government was constructed with the moral and ethical basis of the 10 Commandments — the law of God. That the laws of our State and this country would line up with the Law of God. Who cannot argue objectively that God has indeed blessed and protected this land and this State? Even when we got it wrong, He led us to get it right.
In recent years, however, as we have begun to remove the Law of God from our public and private lives, we have seen our civilized society begin to come apart at the seams. Without the Law of God within the moral conscience of our leaders and our citizens, individuals are not able to “self-govern” themselves. When citizens lack self-governance, it leads to a society of chaos and anarchy.
This Law is summarized with the 10 Commandments, and how Jesus summarized when he said: The greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. The Law of God is to be our guide. It invites not only the blessing of God, but His Protection as well.
And so as our elected representatives, I would like to ask: Are the laws which you pass driving us further from the Law of God or are they bringing us closer to the Law of God?
The eternal standards of right and wrong do not change – even though the culture and public opinion polls do.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 ESV
For the sake of our citizens, for our children, and for our grandchildren, don’t forget the Law of God in your decisions.