The Forgotten Directive
It has come to pass. What has been labeled, and perhaps rightly so, as the most divisive and negative presidential campaign in the history of America has finally concluded—at least for now. Like it or not, whether you were actively engaged, held a position or even endeavored to remain neutral, like a broken sewage pumping system, everyone around it was either physically impacted by the spray or at least had their nostrils singed by the odorous rancor. “WE THE PEOPLE” are shell shocked, battle weary and emotionally drained. The true “cost” of this election cycle, is not in the bewildering amount of finances that have been poured in to the campaigns, in all offices nationally, but rather in the toll of dissolution of friendships, the fracturing of familial relationships, and the spirit of disaffection between the citizenry. Elections used to not be this way, but then again, society was of a vastly different nature as well. This election has proven to be a very dark mirror, and truth be known, no one forced to peer into the dark glass, has come away comfortable with the image that was observed. I know I’ve not been impressed. My son had the opportunity to participate in the election process for the first time, and he has been somewhat envious of my recollection of how it was when I cast my first ballot for president. When Ronald Reagan won in a landslide, and how he managed, by force of argument and persistence of personality, to win over those who disagreed with him, (to the fascination of Tip O’Neil), and reshaped America. It was those qualities that made him one of the most popular presidents in American history. Those days are sadly gone. Why?
I observed the weeping and look of utter hopelessness upon the faces of those when they realized that theirs would not be the prevailing side, and it was truly tragic. Not that they lost, or that their energy and effort showed no effect, that was not the tragedy. The tragedy was that to them, this election cycle was seemingly their only reason for existence. Conversely, the utter elation and practical euphoria displayed by those proclaiming victory, to me was as equally unfounded. Why? Because no one man, nor group of men, despite their collective genius, their charismatic personalities or their wealth, can solve the myriad of issues confronting the American people. Such solutions are rarely found within, not without some sense of purpose greater than themselves. Indeed, were we able to somehow resurrect and reanimate all of our Founding Fathers, and present them with our current situation, they would be confounded and bewildered, and anyone who thinks otherwise is living in their own world of self-delusion. Why such emotionalism and seemingly unbridled passion-from both sides? Because for the most part, “WE THE PEOPLE” have ceased to look to heaven and now look to Washington, D.C. for our salvation. This was most certainly not the intention of the founders, but it has become the reality. While it is arguable that one party certainly does seek to replace God with government, it is unarguable that both parties are equally culpable for the results we must bear witness to currently.
Government is mandated by God, and is necessary for the proper harnessing of human energy towards good in society. Our Founders were blessed with a moment of brilliance at that moment in 1776, and such a collective gathering of genius has never occurred since. They bestowed a blueprint for self-governance that worked well until those with a different agenda began to tinker with it at the beginning of the twentieth century. Those responsible for the corruption of the original intent and their purposes in doing so is not so much the issue as is the matter that at some point in time, for whatever reason, government became more important than God. In this I am reminded of those events described in the Bible, when Israel became more enamored of government than of God. In chapter 8 of 1st Samuel, verses 5 – 10, it is written;
And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: make us now a King to judge us like all nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a King to judge us: and Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hear the voice of the people in all that they shall say unto thee: for they have not cast thee away, but they have cast me away, that I should not reign over them. As they have ever done since I brought them out of Egypt even unto this day, (and have forsaken me, and served other gods) even so do they unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit, yet testify unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. So Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked a king of him.
It is no coincidence that just as Israel was seeking a king like the other nations had, they did so by citing the fact that Samuel’s sons were corrupt. Succinctly put, since Samuel’s family was dysfunctional, they sought relief from a secular governing authority. America commanded God to absent Himself from the public arena in 1963, and immediately the first form of government instituted by God, the family, began to disintegrate, and government began its exponential growth. Likewise, God took the time to explain to Israel, what to expect when He granted unto them what they wished for, again 1st Samuel 8: 11 – 18;
And he said, This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them to his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariot. Also he will make them his captains over thousands, and captains over fifties, and to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make instruments of war, and the things that serve for his chariots. He will also take your daughters and make them Apothecaries, and Cooks, and Bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best Olive trees, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give it to his Eunuchs, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and the chief of your young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out at that day, because of your king, whom ye have chosen you, and the Lord will not hear you at that day.
What is this description? Immediately, you see a description in an increase of war, and the necessary infrastructure to support armed conflict, conscription of men, etc. Not to be ignored is the notion that women would have the energy previously harnessed towards the home, be redirected outward, to serve the king. So we see the men taken into battle, and the women taken from the home. The rest is a description of the growing need to tax in order to support an exponentially growing government, which serves to cripple the family even more, forcing an even bigger government to solve the problem itself is creating. Lastly, when the problem is identified, and the people cry out, the Lord has said He will not hear them. Has an air of familiarity, doesn’t it?
One must answer that inquiry in the affirmative if one has the slightest ability to perceive the reality that is now before us. One may choose to ignore the volumes of evidence to the contrary, and in ignorance deem that America was not founded upon the Judeo-Christian concept, but the very fact that our Founders designed government with such strict limitations, and with such limited taxing ability, is of itself evidence of their recognition that God did not intend for human government to be so thoroughly engaged in every aspect of the individual’s life. If the family structure was operating properly, all the other machinery of society would require far less assistance, and much less taxes to maintain. When did we see the phenomenal burden of taxation? When in the 1960’s, the authorities in power decided to step in after ruling God out, and were going to, in the power of secular humanism, “fix” the problems of poverty, etc. Nature abhors a vacuum, so when God was told “get out” He obliged, and the federal government charged into hell with a squirt gun. While it is a historical fact that had the church of America not come together and in unity stood, to bring about the animating power to effect change in the laws which brought forth the civil rights legislation, it is arguably the last act it performed of any significance. It has been observably irrelevant since. Why? Because in the chaotic maelstrom that was the 1960’s and early 70’s, the American church did what God specifically warned against. It brought secular civil politics into the church, and was co-opted. Again, this is not unknown, see Ezekiel 43:7-9:
Which said unto me, Son of man this place is my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, whereas I will dwell among the children of Israel forever, and the house of Israel shall no more defile mine holy Name, neither they, nor their kings by their fornication, nor by the carcasses of their kings in their high places. Albeit they set their thresholds by my thresholds, and their posts by my posts (for there was but a wall between me and them) yet have they defiled mine holy Name with their abominations, that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in my wrath. Now therefore let them put away their fornication, and the carcasses of their kings far from me, and I will dwell among them forever.
What is being said here is quite clear and simple. The laws of any man, or man-made government shall not supersede the laws of God, and if you mix them together, you are simply attempting to veil a political agenda guised in God’s kingdom works. It cannot work, it has not worked, and God will not bless it.
In my youth, my imagination was fueled by the adventures of the starship Enterprise led by Capt. Kirk. Lately, I am reminded of the episode where Kirk and Spock are trying to save a planets inhabitants from the rule of the Klingon Empire. At the end, it is discovered that the inhabitants were not the seemingly simple people they appeared, but were in fact, a highly developed species that had actually allowed themselves to be used, in order to broker peace between the Federation and the Klingon’s. Ultimately, the super beings found exposure to humans and Klingon’s to be so discomforting, they returned to their non-corporeal realm. I now know what that feeling is like. One can easily find themselves isolated as of late, when one decides that before they are Americans, or Republicans or Democrats, they are Christians. Just as the audience is incredulous as they watch Kirk complain that the super beings prevented the battle that supposedly was unwanted, so too does one get to see some of the most warped and perverted logic employed, in order to defend one’s decision on their candidate. I have been left feeling uncomfortable lately in this realm, and find it more difficult than usual, to keep my eyes on where my true citizenship lies. This election cycle has forced the reexamination of and has redefined many relationships once taken for granted. Those of family relationships, of friendships, of the hierarchy of affiliations of faith, citizenship and socio/ideological partisanships.
It was not the least bit impressive to me, that out of a nation of 325 million people, the choice forced upon “WE THE PEOPLE” were the two candidates we ended up with. However, God’s way are not man’s ways, and therefore remain unquestionable. However, I do believe that this should serve as a wake-up call to many men standing in the pulpits across the land. America is sick and getting sicker. This election cycle has displayed the disease of racism, the clash of culture and corruption of nearly every vestige of political, judicial and media entities. Yet, I am perplexed beyond measure at how there can exist the number of churches throughout America, from one room rural buildings to mega facilities in major metropolitan areas, with so many congregations, programs, staff and pastors, yet we still have such basic human problems among us that allow unscrupulous politicians to pirate, so as to be exploited for political gain? If one cannot see nor sense a problem here, you are not as they say, paying attention. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus utilizes a military term, as He often does thru out His teachings. He tells Peter:
“And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church: and the gates of hell shall not overcome it.”
A gate is a fixed fortification, a defensive tool of war. Jesus expects His church to be on the offense, moving and taking ground, not simply holding a position. This explains why the full armor of God is conspicuously lacking protection for the back, it is the same reason a tank has the least amount in its rear. Both are expected to be on the offensive, moving forward and taking ground. Were an observer to endeavor to tally up whether a church is being successful or not, they need not look further than how well the culture and the society around it is being blessed by its presence. Given our current situation, the status report from the field is not looking too promising. In Luke 19:13, Jesus says:
“Occupy til I come.”
This does not mean sit idly by and take up space, it means to be about the business of God-pushing back against the evil. Sadly, the kind of leadership once in abundance from the pulpit, is non-existent. Now, those warriors who were once called the black-robed regiment, who animated their congregations into action, and led by example, bringing us revivals and Great Awakenings are now quietly acquiescing to the culture. They are simply occupying, but not impacting. Soft speech from the pulpit results in whispers in the pews. The end result of this lack of real leadership. 2nd Chronicles 15:3-6:
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without Priest to teach, and without Law. But whosoever returned in his affliction to the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of him. And in that time there was no peace to him, that did go out and go in: but great troubles were to all the inhabitants of the earth. For nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God troubled them with all adversity.
Want to make America great again? It starts not in the White House, but in God’s house. 1st Peter 4:17:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God. If it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them which obey not the Gospel of God?
I stand in as much amazement as anyone else at the results of the election. It may very well be that God is finalizing His plans for the nation if Israel, and America has still more aid to render. I do not know. However, I do know that God’s loving forbearance is not unlimited. As we are now so divided, in all sectors of our society and our government, I am reminded of the account in Joshua 5:13 – 14:
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
The question I ponder the most is not whether or not God is on this side or another, I want to know that I am on the right side, that being the one the Lord represents, and my ethnic, religious, national, or political ideological affiliation stand in utter unimportance to that most important affiliation. The fact of the matter is simple, it is recorded statistically, that within God’s church, there exists two primary socio/ideo/political affiliations, and as long as God’s children treasure this badge of citizenship over the kingdomship medallion of Christ, the “gates of hell” shall continue to prevail, as the tanks of God’s army remain off track. Meanwhile those with eyes that see beyond the veil of this realm, will stand in sad awe, as they watch their spiritual brethren engage in foolish futility.
This election simply proves to me what is recorded in the Bible. For whatever purpose, God is in control, and still perplexes man when he thinks he knows the “sure thing”. The only “sure thing” I know, is the hooves of the coming Heavenly army get a little louder every day. I pray that those in the pulpit will gird themselves and live up to the task, and provide the leadership so greatly lacking, and so earnestly sought. That is the prime, but seemingly forgotten, directive of Christ.