This never ends well. It always leads to more and more awfulness.
History is full of terrible examples of how evil is perpetrated in the name of what people have decided is “right”. It can be painful to consider. But we have reason to hope and rejoice! God has shown us what is always “right”!
At the end of the book of Judges in the Old Testament is the history of the horrific war between the 11 Tribes of Israel and the Tribe of Benjamin. The operational phrase was “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
Chapters 19-21 of Judges in the Old Testament of the Bible record a real and awful history of what happened to the People of God when they began to live without God. The depravity of man began to assert itself, leading to the further depths of depravity. There appears to be no “good guys”.
A Levite and his concubine were on their way home. As night fell thy arrived at Gibeah, a town in the Tribe of Benjamin. One of the residents offered them hospitality, according to the law of God. As they were settling in for the night, lewd, ungodly men pounded on the door. Lusting for homosexual relations with the Levite guest. To assuage their sexual lust, the Levite sent his concubine out to the wolves.
Gang raped, she died of the multiple assaults. The Levite took her body home, then callously butchered her body and sent parts to each of the Tribes of Israel. The other Tribes were furious at the horrific assault on the woman. They gathered to punish the offenders.
The Tribe of Benjamin not only refused to condemn the perpetrators, but rallied to defend their city of Gibeah from retribution against the offenders and the Israeli assault against the city that harbored the assailants. And so the two sides went to war with each other.
There were three battles in that tragically internecine war. The loss on both side was over 60,000. That was bad enough, but in victory the Tribes of Israel went berserk, rampaging through Benjamin. They destroyed every town and slew all the men, women and children. When their blood lust was exhausted there were only 600 men of Benjamin left alive.
The fury against the tribe of Benjamin caused the people of the Tribes to view all those of Benjamin as aliens, so they swore a sacred oath that they would not give their daughters to Benjamin for wives. As tempers cooled and the reality of the situation dawned on them, the eleven Tribes realized that Benjamin, without wives, was about to become extinct. Their oath (stupid and unthinking as it was) prevented them from providing Benjamin survivors with wives.
They did a head count to discover who had not joined in the war against Benjamin. Only the city of Jabesh-gilead had not come to fight.
Therefore, the Tribes of Israel attacked Jabesh-gilead, slaying all the males and the older women, saving only the virgins. There were 400 virgins left alive. These they turned over to the surviving Benjaminites. But they were 200 short.
What to do? They needed 200 more Israeli virgins, but they also needed to keep their oath. Someone reminded them that there was going to be a feast at Shiloh. During the feast the virgins danced in the evening. They told the 200 wifeless Benjaminites to hide in the vineyard adjacent to the celebration ground where the virgins danced. They instructed the men to pounce on the virgins as they were dancing, and carry off 200 to supply wives for Benjamin.
When the families of the abducted women complained, the elders of Israel asked them to forgive the kidnapping. The elders conceived that plan, because they had not been careful to save wives for the Tribe of Benjamin men out of the wholesale slaughter.
All of these terrible results came about because morality of God had been lost. The loss of morality that caused mass murder and ruined lives resulted from abandoning God.
History has too tragic many examples of the depths to which people will go to dominate other people. Without God, people easily turn to utilitarian thinking “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” This isn’t actually a proverb, however. It’s a justification used by Vladimir Lenin regarding the killing of thousands of Russian citizens during his push to produce a “better, more wonderful” Communist state.
As Chancellor of National Socialist Party, Adolf Hitler wanted to produce a pure Arian race (prompted by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s concept of the superman [Übermensch], who justifies the existence of the human race.). Therefore, Hitler carried out his plan to exterminate all the “inferior races”. His inhumanity branded Jews as sub-human and relentlessly murdered 6,000,000 true humans.
Those many godless systems discounted humans as either tools to be used to attain goals, or they considered people as obstacles to be eliminated.
Communism, an avowedly atheist religion, seeks to replace Christian morals. Communists advocate disinformation, i.e. lies, to advance their addendum. This has the unintended consequence of fomenting a culture of deception. It makes liars and cheats out of people in general. Factory workers over report their completed work to “meet” quotas. Managers misrepresent that they have met or exceed their factory’s goals that are set by the central committee. This sort of deception went up the line in Russia causing a series of 5-Year Economic Development Plans. When the first did not work the Central Committee began a another of 5-Year Plan. Still, there were bread lines, potato, lines, toilet paper lines, etc., etc., etc.
This deception filtered into the general population. Without a standard of morality, people became pragmatic – they did whatever worked to achieve what they needed. The people became cheats, liars and thieves.
In A.D. 2000, I went with a team to St. Petersburg, Russia to help in the construction of a Christian College. A Professor at the College needed an instructor of Christian Ethics. The believers in the school were so permeated with the immorality of the Soviet Communist regime that they retained the culture of deception and theft. They stole from one another, cheated on tests, and lied so often that those were endemic characteristics. Despite true conversion and embracing Jesus as Savior, they had not embraced Christian morality. The College needed instruction in righteousness. The godlessness of the regime had debased the people.
In 1993, I was on a mission in Pakistan. The first night at a guest house in Lahore, at dinner was a Christian missionary and a young man he had converted. The young man had had a successful button business, which afforded him an exclusive apartment in an excellent district and an expensive car.
When his family heard that he had become a Christian, they took away his business his car and his apartment. His brothers were hunting for him to murder him. According to Islam Sharia Law, “Conversion by Muslims to other faiths is forbidden under most interpretations of sharia and converts are considered apostates (non-Muslims, however, are allowed to convert into Islam). Some Muslim clerics equate this apostasy to treason, a crime punishable by death.” (cfr.org/backgrounder/religious-conversion-and-sharia-law)
Often, direct relatives are the first and heaviest persecutors of believers from a Muslim background. For many Muslim families, leaving Islam and converting to another religion brings “shame” to the family. In moderate families, a new Christian may be ignored or excluded. In stricter families; forced separation, divorce or the removal of children are all common. (jihadwatch.org/2016/09/the-price-of-converting-to-christianity-from-islam). Murder sanctioned by law is reprehensible, but sanctioned fratricide, murder by brothers is horrific callousness.
How then do we describe a mother’s murder of her own child?
New York’s Reproductive Health Act was signed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision
The RHA permits abortions when — according to a medical professional’s “reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case” — “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.
In other words, women may choose to have an abortion prior to 24 weeks; pregnancies typically range from 38 to 42 weeks. After 24 weeks, such decisions must be made with a determination that there is an “absence of fetal viability” or that the procedure is “necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” That determination must be made by a “health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under state law, “acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.” (factcheck.org/2019/02/addressing-new-yorks-new-abortion-law/)
“Patient’s life or health” is an open door to perform abortions (murders of healthy babies up until and including the moment of birth). The mother can decide she does not want to be burdened with rearing a child. The doctor can affirm the “fear of the burden” is a mental health issue that qualifies. Thus, babies: beautiful girls and handsome boys are severed from life without remorse. After all, “It’s a woman’s right to choose!”
This is America’s “man’s inhumanity to man”. We have denied humanity to the child being grown within the mother’s womb, by describing he or she as a “clump of cells”. This inexcusable euphemism is a dehumanizing of the real baby formed by the father’s sperm and the mother’s ovum, which when united has the 46 chromosomes of a human and a complete DNA of a human. The Zygote (from Greek ζυγωτός zygōtos “joined” or “yoked”) “is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes. The zygote’s genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete, and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygote)
By any rational definition that is a human, alive; and rightly should be loved and nurtured by both father and mother; but especially by the mother, since she has by God (or if you must, by nature) been built to house and nourish the infant, protecting its life from a hostile world.
Tragically there are two victims of abortion. The first is the child who is poisoned or dismembered in the womb. The second is the woman. She has been sold a lie to gratify her convenience, “There are no consequences.” In contrary fact, many, if not most, women commonly experience some guilt, grief and depression. In reality, they are murderesses. There are a number of more debilitating consequences: “nightmares, auditory hallucinations of babies crying, suicidal thoughts — reported in a study done in Ohio by Suicide Anonymous Hotline over a 36-month period, of the 4000 women who called, 1800 had previously had abortions.” (noparh.org/post.html)
These cases described above are “right” sanctioned by state law; what society decides is “right”. What society rejects is “wrong”.
The reality is that society is fickle. What is “right” today may be at a stroke of a pen “wrong” tomorrow. Mankind is only safe under a universal determination of what is right and wrong that does not change.
During the English Reformation, the evangelicals were initially persecuted by the Catholics – imprisoned and slain. Then the evangelicals came into power. They persecuted Catholics – imprisoned and slew them. Then Catholic Queen Mary was crowned and again the Evangelicals were imprisoned and slain.
Unless he was fast-footed and a chameleon, A Bishop, within the course of 50 years, could find himself on the wrong side of religion! Thus, a dependable, universal standard of right and wrong is necessary for an ordered society.
Only God’s standards are universally applied to all mankind, throughout all time. They a are utterly dependable.
Often times they are uncomfortable to a person or a nation. That does not make them faulty. God loves his Creation. He loves all the people he has created.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16, 17)
He wants them to live in love and peace. He established laws to preserve life and to make society work for the benefit of all who live in accord with God’s Law. He has laid out a world that is not only beautiful, it is bountiful. There are ample resources for all people to live in comfort. God has set up the world, not to be a comfortable bed with automatic food dispensers and perpetual entertainment. He has established righteous laws that require each competent person to secure a living from the world. Work is not only to provide the necessities to keep body and soul together, but to give mankind, men and women dignity, self-respect, and pride of accomplishment.
There is one fly in the ointment. The world was not created to be eternal. God intended it to be a temporary, perhaps “training ground” is as close as we can come to what this temporary world is for humans. We have been told (and believers know to be true) that God has an eternal Plan that is unlimited. This world is limited, so it is but a “stepping stone’ to God’s NEXT.
He loves us. So, God has something far better than this temporary and faulty world. He gives us inkling in the two Testaments. The Patriarchs had a foundation of insight into God’s revelation of the LAW, summarized in the Ten Commandments that were based on:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
… and amended by Jesus:
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
That should have been enough, but God knows us completely.
He knew that He would have to actually become a man and share our world and life, then be the sacrifice for our sins. What glorious demonstration of His love! He demeaned Himself from Almighty God to become one of His creatures. Jesus the God-man imparted teachings to His Disciples and they to us, giving us an upwards look, a window into eternity. Our Lord set our sights on eternity with our Great and loving God.
For everyone who has believed the truths that Jesus is real and living God; there is an eternity of basking in God’s unlimited love; believers will be caught up in God’s eternal peace; and will experience ever increasing joy.
That is too wonderful to fully appreciate in our present limited state. Nevertheless, the truth is far greater than we can conceive.
It is ours because God LOVES us!
This is a recurring feature. I pose a question in this issue. You have the opportunity to send me answers. I will publish the best ones in the next issue. Please cite Biblical authority, and keep you answer within 250 words.
ANSWER: Almighty, totally Righteous God walked in the Garden with Adam, apparently each evening. Adam could walk with God, because Adam was also wholly righteous. Then one day, Adam was not there.
Then the man and his wife heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
He was hiding because Adam had sinned. He was guilty and ashamed. God called to Adam and he came out from hiding in his leaf clothing. “Who told you that you were naked,” God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit of good and evil?”
Instead of answering directly, Adam immediately implicated Eve and blamed God,
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it. (Genesis 3:12)
Adam was overcome by sin.
It is abundantly clear that sin had overwhelmed his love for God and his love for Eve. A righteous man would have acknowledged his own fault and sought to protect his wife by allowing the blame to fall on him, “I wasn’t there to protect her from temptation. I didn’t refuse the proffered fruit. I didn’t come to You to plead for You to have mercy on her.”
Adam is a prime example of the sinful response. We who are seeking to walk with the LORD must study Adam’s bad example and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to walk in righteousness, so that we can walk with God.
To do so, we must keep short accounts with God.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:3-4)
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24)
Honesty before the all-righteous God is the only policy!
Join me in bowing before our God in gratitude that we can speak directly and personally to Him. He is our loving Father, so we can embrace Him boldly, but respectfully.
Father, life is too much with me! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I long for release and surcease and peace. I have far more to do than I have time to do it. Important things are set aside to beat back the crises.
Just as I see a window to do the important, something crops up to demand immediate attention.
This in not the way You want me to live. Jesus, Your Word promises, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3) You told us that You were leaving us peace that the world cannot give – perfect peace!
Oh, My Lord God that is what I need – Your perfect peace. Please, Holy Spirit produce in me Your fruit of peace. Oh, my precious Savior Your Love is here now!
Oh! Gracious God, You have overcome all my fears. Oh! Father You are holding my heart and giving me what I need!
Oh, precious Savior You care for me and You carried all my sins on the cross at Calvary.
Oh! Sovereign God You have triumphed over all.
Nothing, nothing, no thing, no spirit, no person can afflict me, no pile of responsibilities can overpower me. You have my calendar and my daily work schedule in Your hands. Give me the grace to comply and address each item as You direct.
What is important is Your love for me and that I, out of gratitude, love You and love those around me. My God, steady my thoughts on You. Give me the grace to set all, ALL in this world aside so I can be more loving.
All the important and vital things in my life and the work I MUST accomplish are in fact negligible in the scope of eternity. They are all temporary and at the moment You Come Again, our Lord and King, they will be as chaff in the wind.
Give me that perspective when I begin to take my responsibilities too seriously and begin to be pressured. Grant me the equanimity to say, “I can do some more tomorrow. Now I need to praise my loving Lord!”
You are my first and overwhelming priority. I love You, My God. I worship You My King. I rely upon You my gracious Holy Spirit to guide me in what is needful; to stop me in what is unnecessary.
You are worthy of all honor, glory, majesty and praise! Praise the Holy LORD God. Praise the magnificent King! Praise the loving Father! Praise the marvelous Lamb of God! Praise the giving Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Glory be to Thee throughout the whole Earth!