Go to: => TOP Page; What's New? Page; ROAD MAP; Shopping Mall; Emmaus Ministries Page; Search Page
[Representative Bobby Franklin has served in the Georgia House of Representatives since being first elected in 1996, and is a member of Chalcedon Presbyterian Church (RPCUS) in Cumming, Georgia.]
[COMMENT: This is a well-deserved smack in the face for most of us. God bless Bobby Franklin.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Perfect love casts out fear, but only through the deep process of getting to know God as He really us -- both Judge and Savior. If we are not frightened by God, we jolly well ought to be. He holds our lives in the palm of His hand. The righteous fear of the Lord is just that, the fear of Him who hold your life in the palm of His hand. We become His children, not by being casual with Him, but by trust and obedience, both of which cost us our "self-lives", our lives of independent, autonomous decision-making.
Franklin is right below. With few exceptions, we Western Christians have deserted God for a religion of comfort and consumerism. Either we repent, or we will feel the full weight of the wrath of God as He gives us over to our self-centered lusts.
Read Romans 1:18 ff. Paul outlines three stages of the Fall. First we subvert the truth, and then, because we have blind-sided ourselves, we lose track of who God is. Second, because we are dependent beings, and deserting God does not change that, we fall into worshipping the creature rather than the Creator.
We are dependent being, like it or not, so we will be dependent upon (worship) something. The world is the only thing left. So, thirdly, having now an inadequate god which cannot do for us what God was doing (giving us our stability of being and our moral stability), we become unstable, and fall into compulsive, lethal, self-destructive behaviors.
Paul uses homosexuality as one example, but he could have used any of a number of equally lethal behaviors. All sin leads to death. When you distance yourself from the Source of life, you begin to erode and deteriorate. The wages of sin is still death. Try as it might, there is nothing secularized science (the modern savior) can do about that.
But there is also nothing a hostile world can do to stop the Good News of Jesus Christ, because the power of the Holy Spirit to undergird our being, and the authority of God to give us purpose and direction come from a place the world cannot touch. God will always be raising up new Gideon armies, another 7000 which has not bowed the knee to Baal, another 12 apostles who will again set out to retake the world for God. And the blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the Church.
So what can the world do to an obedient and faithful Church?
Someone once asked me what the true Church was. I replied that it is wherever people are making their bodies a living sacrifice to God and to one another (Romans 12:1) -- the two Great Commandments (Matthew 22:343 ff.). All the rest of our equipment (Church, Bible, sacraments, fellowship, etc.) is to facilitate that mutual self-giving.
Where we are actually doing that, being the true Church, there is no power in heaven or earth which can stand against the Church. Not even the gates of hell. We are losing today in the West because we no longer follow Jesus on the Way of the Cross. Not when it contradicts our self-centered consumerism.
But God is bringing a judgement, which will once again raise
up a Gideon army.
Recently a friend asked me to listen to a debate that he had just heard concerning the “war on terror.” One side took the view that we need to fight the terrorists over there so that we won’t have to fight them over here. The other side took the view that while Islam is a threat, and that possibly someday we will be fighting them over here, we have no business nation-building and besides, there has been no constitutional declaration of war against either Iraq or Afghanistan. I believe that both sides ignored the main issue.
If Islam is a new threat to us, how has it changed from its founding principles? It hasn’t. Islam is no more violent or militant today than it was 1300 years ago.
Islamic terrorism is not the greatest threat facing America. God is.
God tells us in Leviticus 26 and in Deuteronomy 28 that he blesses the culture that obeys Him and that He curses the culture that disobeys Him. (It’s interesting to note that the curses take up more space than the blessings.) We see this blessing and cursing played out in the book of 2 Chronicles.
2 Chronicles 15 begins with what life was like at the start of the reign of King Asa. “For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.” (v.3) Sounds like America, doesn’t it? We have rejected Christ. We have rejected His rule over us. We have rejected His law. Our pastors don’t want to offend anyone, so they refuse to preach God’s righteous requirements found in His Word.
As a result of Israel’s rejection of the one true God, “In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another…” (v.5, 6) Sounds like America, doesn’t it? It’s not safe to travel about. Look at all of the “security” at our airports. There is more fighting in more parts of the world than in any time before.
What was the source of all of this trouble? Was it terrorists? Picking up with the remainder of verse 6, “… because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.” It is God who brings the judgment. This is also brought out in Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”
Even General Stonewall Jackson understood this when he reminded us that “national sins must be punished in this life as there are no nationalities beyond the grave.” Or as my pastor likes to quote from a bumper sticker he once saw, “Don’t get God started.”
Our secular culture has succeeded in having even the Christians forget that it is God who rules over the affairs of men. It is He who raises up kingdoms and it is He who brings them down. It is He who protects a nation and it is He who judges a nation.
A great example of God’s hand of blessing over a nation is found in Exodus 34:24, “For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your coasts, so that no man shall desire your land, when you shall come up to appear before the Lord your God thrice in the year.” When we obey the Lord, He moves the hearts of our enemies so that they don’t even think about doing us any harm. That’s protection!
Back to 2 Chronicles. Chapter 17 describes the beginning of the reign of King Jehoshaphat. He began by doing what the civil magistrate is charged with doing Đ he built up his nation’s defenses. (v. 1-2)
But then we read the source of Jehoshaphat’s greatness. “The LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel.” (v. 3-4) Additionally, “His heart was courageous in the ways of the LORD. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.” (v. 6)
Do our civil rulers seek the Lord as David and Jehoshaphat did, or do they praise the gods of pagan religions, like President George W. Bush does? Is their heart courageous in the ways of the Lord, or do they fear the voters? Do they work to tear down the idolatrous temples or do they approve changes to local zoning ordinances to allow more pagan temples to be built? We will not see revival until we insist that our civil magistrates follow Jehoshaphat’s example.
What did Jehoshaphat do to “walk the walk” and thus demonstrate that his heart was right with God? He sent his civil officials, as well as the church officials, to go throughout the land to teach God’s law to the people.
“In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah; and with them the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. And they taught in Judah, having the Book of the Law of the LORD with them. They went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.” (v. 7-9)
As a result of Jehoshaphat’s faithfulness to the Lord, “Therefore the LORD established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor.” (v. 5) The Lord does bless those whose hearts are courageous toward Him.
But what does this have to do with the threat of Islamic terrorism or any other manifestation of God’s judgment? Let’s keep reading. “And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat. Some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents and silver for tribute, and the Arabians also brought him 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. And Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater.” (v. 10-12)
Did you get that? The Lord placed his shield of protection around His people so that even their enemies brought them tribute! When Judah was disobedient, it was not even safe to travel about. When they were taught God’s Law, and became obedient to it, their enemies brought them tribute and they prospered.
Throughout history God has blessed cultures when they obeyed Him and he has cursed those who reject Him. Remember the time when one of the prophets complained to the Lord that the Assyrians were more wicked than Israel, yet the Lord said that He had raised up the Assyrians to judge Israel?
When God judges us, whom He uses to bring that judgment is not the issue. He could raise up Aruba, Zimbabwe, or any country in between, to judge America for our sins. He could judge us by having us overrun by Islamic terrorists or destroyed by some plague or new world order elite. Regardless, it is God who is sending the judgment.
So, how can we avoid His judgment? When we, as Christians, humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our own wicked ways, then He will hear our prayer, forgive our sins, and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
What are some sins of which Christians need to repent? We need look no farther than our violation of the first commandment. Remember what tempted Adam and Eve in the garden? It was the lie that by eating the forbidden fruit they would be like God. Our own selfishness is nothing but a sinful desire to be like God. Most every other sin flows from this sin of selfishness.
We see this in our violation of the second commandment when, like Nadab and Abihu, we want to worship God in ways that feel good to us rather than by worshipping Him in the ways He has directed us in His Word. (Leviticus 10:1-2)
We see this in our violation of the third commandment when we complain about our circumstances, thus criticizing God’s providential care over us. (Philippians 2:14-15)
We see this in our violation of the fourth commandment when we seek our own pleasure rather than taking delight in the Lord’s Day. (Isaiah 58:13-14)
The list could go on and on, but you get the point.
And we haven’t even touched on our own lack of faith in failing to trust God to, well, actually, be God. God tells us in Romans 14:23 that “whatever is not of faith is sin.” Fear is the fundamental manifestation of a lack of faith. And today most Christians are paralyzed by fear of the “boogy-man”; therefore, we vote for a “lesser of two evils.” This sin has resulted in the establishment of perversion, the decriminalization of prenatal murder in all of its forms, and other national evils that have stemmed from that elected “lesser evil’s” rejection of Christ’s rule over us.
Until we, as Christians, repent of our own sins, I am much more concerned about God’s coming wrath on America than I am about Osama bin Laden — whether he is over there or over here.
Discuss this article
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *