16 ¶ When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
The Israelites are told here that when the wicked increase, sin increases also but the righteous shall see their destruction.
Psalm 37:34 ¶ Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. 35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. 37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. 38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.
One of the interesting things to note about these Proverbs is that they were written to a national people, a people who would be expected to assume that every one of their fellow citizens had a duty to follow the Mosaic Law, which was not only their religious duty but their civil. The wicked in this case would be those who did not follow that law but either served self alone or the heathen gods.
To multiply means more than just to increase in number but to increase in wealth and political power, as well.
Exodus 1:7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
America has always had, like every nation, more than its share of wicked people; violent thugs on the bottom levels of society and exploiters and robbers on the top end. Our nation was birthed in human bondage and the institution of slavery was a prime foundation for wealth in the America before the Civil War. In fact, Lincoln admitted that the Civil War was a judgment from God on the entire country for the sin of enslaving other human beings.
As a nation we lied to and exploited the native inhabitants and no differently than many other nations, we murdered them to take their land. We then committed similar acts against our weaker neighbors to the south of us. During the Cold War we propped up vicious, evil dictators around the world as a defense against our enemy. These dictators were responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people. At times we even turned our backs on those who needed our help against the Soviets, the Red Chinese, and their proxies from Hungary to Rhodesia.
But, in spite of our national sins, in spite of governmental hypocrisy and behavior that betrayed every one of our stated national values, the common man had a common faith. He had a simple faith and belief in Christ. Church was a place you at least visited regularly. Christianity was the common religion you at least paid lip service too. Living in a manner considered to be a normal standard of decency was accepted and understood as having value. You did care about what other people thought because your value as a human being was reflected in what others thought of your morals, your lifestyle, and your family.
People who involve themselves in the arts, in literature, in music, theater, and entertainment tend to be malcontented people, people who are not satisfied with the status quo, with things being the way they were. They tend to write about things, create works, and perform in ways that point to themselves as being special and different, as expressing their dissatisfaction with the world around them. They rebel and chafe against societal norms. Slowly but surely, as the country became more and more affluent and people had more and more free time to enjoy entertainment and amuse themselves these people gained influence. As American Protestant Christians had their “Common Bible”, as the AV had been called in the early days of our country, taken from them by unbelieving scholars and preachers who held up Germany’s “scholarship” as being the apex of scholarly brilliance in understanding the Bible and its underpinnings they drifted from reading the Bible and from it being the centerpiece in the home.
With time American Christians preferred not to hear God’s words or verses being spoken, memorized, discussed, and read in their homes but the opinions and rantings of the discontented, the “gifted”, the artistic, the social commentator, the musician, the actor. These wicked, self centered people multiplied in their perceived value to society and the common American Protestant, even fundamentalists, became swept up in their nauseating sins and excesses that were played out in the popular media daily.
Whereas once the Bible had been read in the home now there were magazines and novels of all sorts uplifting adultery, murder, and every kind of sleaze and ungodly rot that could be imagined just to keep the newspapers and other literature interesting. The acting became more and more outrageous as the theater came home in the form of radio and TV. Multiple productions could be watched and heard every day in millions of homes across the country. Not righteousness but wickedness grew like a weed so that even in the most modest American community the sins of Hollywood and Broadway became as commonplace as the radio or TV in the living room. It is not that these sins were unheard of in past times when actors and musicians were held in low regard as people of poor character and little value but that now these sins were uplifted and admired as the way to live.
We went from an actor killing a president to an actor becoming one. We went from the praising the music of Bach and Handel which uplifted the spirit to the music of Elvis and the Beatles uplifting the flesh. We went from reading about riots in Vienna, Austria over the wickedness of men and women holding each other in the dance of the waltz to modern day raves and foam parties where people actually have sex right on the dance floor. The wicked multiplied in influence, power, and we, as a people, identify more with the wicked than with God.
A small number of people in each generation rejected the deterioration of values. But, you can still go to a political party fundraiser and rally held by the party that claims to hold religious values high and watch a wicked music singer wearing immodest clothing shake and grind like a stripper in a bawdy night club as she belts out an irreverent tune.
But, the judgment for this world is coming. As we struggled to combat social evils and national sins of slavery, child abuse, sexual exploitation, and inequality we gave up our personal commitment to at least pay lip service to doing right in our personal lives. The righteous, those who have truly trusted in Christ and who reject the world’s ways, will see the fall of the wicked but it will not come until Christ Himself returns to take control of the world.
I grew up loving TV and movies and music and I soaked my children in them as I raised them. So, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone but myself and people like me. Even after I turned to Christ and to His Bible I still fell back from time to time in the nasty praise of the world and my sinful ways. It is a constant struggle in a world of compromising and apathetic Christians who worship the state more than God and value worldly entertainments more than the Bible to listen to God speak to you through His words in His Book and be changed by Him.
Very few now read the Bible every day. Very few now take any time to praise God and pray daily. Very few raise their families with daily devotions and Bible reading in the home. Few even attend church weekly. Few even know what a Bible is or is not. The so called Bible belt has more problems with pornography, divorce, drug addiction, and alcoholism than the more liberal states. Wickedness and sin seethe and boil and stink like rotten garbage all over the nation.
So called Christians will sit watching a vulgar sporting event played out by millionaire union members, with half naked women prancing on the sidelines, as they smoke their cigarettes and drink their beers, having raced home from church if they even went to church, on a Sunday afternoon. Their children are surrendered to Molech while they scream praises or hurl insults at their favorite fornicating, degenerate athlete and ignore God’s word, His praises, His people, or His way.
But the end is coming. We learn from the Bible that God allowed the wickedness of Canaan to mature, to ripen, and to be fully grown before He sent in the Hebrews to claim it. Our nation, so blessed by God, so endowed with such wonderful possibilities has only so long to enjoy the fruit of its stinking sin. The righteous will see the wicked fall but its going to be a bittersweet victory.