It has been said that when a nation begins to decline, that morality, respect for others and virtuous living become absent or nonexistent within their population.
The nation of Israel went through this same cycle over and over again. When their situation in life worsened they would call upon their high priest to make intersession for them through sacrifice and prayer. Unfortunately, before they came to this point they would often turn their backs, falling away from the God of all creation.
Source: East County Californian