“They were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush ….” (Jeremiah 6:15 Amplified OT).
I think we have finally and forever fulfilled this verse. When I see and hear what is going on in this world, I marvel that God has waited so long to clean our clocks. I recall my beloved grandmother expressing great disgust at a certain ad back in 1958. She should see them now -- she would do double-time back to her grave.
The prayer of Ezra, the scribe the brave, good, holy man who led a company of his Israelite brethren from Babylon to Jerusalem, prayed for his sinful nation, “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God.” Perhaps we need the shepherds of our wandering-in-the-wilderness flocks to do more praying and less compromising with the ever-lowering standards of this bewildered planet which is sinking in strange theories and even-stranger practices.
I lifted the following from a favorite Bible Commentary, the Biblical Illustrator:
BY WHAT WAYS [WE] COME TO CAST OFF SHAME AND GROW IMPUDENT IN SIN:
1. By the commission of great sins. For these waste the conscience, and destroy at once. They are, as it were, a course of wickedness abridged into one act, and a custom of sinning by equivalence. They steel the forehead, and harden the heart, and break those bars asunder which modesty had originally fenced and enclosed it with.
2. Custom in sinning never fails in the issue to take away the sense and shame of sin, were a person never so virtuous before. First, he begins to shake off the natural horror and dread which he had of breaking any of God’s commands, and so not to fear sin; next, finding his sinful appetites gratified by such breaches of the Divine law, he comes to like his sin and be pleased with what he has done; and then, from ordinary complacencies, heightened and improved by custom, he comes passionately to delight in such ways. Finally, having resolved to continue and persist in them, he frames himself to a resolute contempt of what is thought or said of him.
3. The examples of great persons take away the shame of anything which they are observed to practice, though never so foul and shameful in itself. Nothing is more contagious than an action set off with a great example, for it is natural for men to imitate those above them, and to endeavor to resemble, at least, that which they cannot be.
4. The observation of the general and common practice of anything takes away the shame of that practice. A vice a la mode will look virtue itself out of countenance, and it is well if it does not look it out of heart too. Men love not to be found singular, especially where the singularity lies in the rugged and severe paths of Virtue.
5. To have been once greatly and irrecoverably ashamed renders men shameless. For shame is never of any force but where there is some stock of credit to be preserved. When a man finds that to be lost, he is like an undone gamester, who plays on safety, knowing he can lose no more.
Diogenes said to a youth whom he saw blushing: “Courage, my boy, that is the complexion of virtue.” The mind of Christ will give us the complexion we so need in these shameful days.
Patricia Erwin Nordman