Monday, December 17, 2012

In God We Trust?

As I prepared a lesson for a Bible study recently, something jumped off the page at me. It’s one of those moments in scripture that make you realize why we refer to God’s Word as the "Living Bible." No matter how long our world exists, the Bible will always be completely applicable.

In the Hosea 8:1-3, we read:

8 Put the horn to your mouth! One like an eagle
comes against the house of the Lord, because they
transgress My covenant and rebel against My law. 
2 Israel cries out to Me, "My God, we know You!"
3 Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.

The nation of Israel at this time was in full-blown rebellion to God, as verse three states, rejecting what is good. And, although they might have symbolically cried out "My God, we know you!", Israel lived perversely. They worshiped idols and false Gods.
What really jumped off the page at me was the word ‘eagle’ in verse one. " eagle comes against the house of the Lord." An eagle...the national symbol of our country. I mulled about it for a minute, then realized how perfectly applicable it was today. Substituting the word ‘eagle’ with ‘United States’, how real it seemed today. "...the United States comes against the house of the Lord, because they transgress My covenant and rebel against My law."

The unthinkable tragedy of the past week at Newtown, Connecticut is a blistering reminder of how our country has painstakingly removed any sign of God from our public places, as if any spiritual reference is some sort of virus that needs to be scrubbed from societal walls. At public school Sandy Hook Elementary, the mere mention of God would no doubt been challenged by forces of opposition who have won battle after battle to disregard the spiritual roots this country was founded upon. A word of prayer, a posting of the Ten Commandments, a Christmas manger scene, all would have been viewed not just as inappropriate, but illegal, all in the misguided name of freedom, liberty.

On the contrary, like at every public school in the land, Sandy Hook Elementary is mandated by law to teach doctrine directly opposed to God’s word. Lifestyles considered perverse abominations in the Bible, and at one time, in our country, now are presented as normal alternatives in our culture and in our classrooms. Teaching the scriptural-preferred practice of abstinence is considered controversial in modern sex education classes, though a recent study indicated it was preferred by 80% of all parents. By the way, that’s where the instruction should begin, at home, with the parents.

I could write ten pages on the subject, but you get the drift. As long as we continue to drive God further and further from our lives and from our country, the void will fill with ungodliness.

Like Israel in the Old Testament, the United States has our own version of the false cry,

"My God, we know you, " >>> In God We Trust.

How realistic is that motto these days? Do we as a nation put our trust in God? And sadly, how long will it be before that, too, is declared illegal??

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nightmare in Connecticut

Genesis 3:6 - When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Genesis 4:8 - Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field." While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Like all of you, I sat, once again, in disbelief as the atrocity of the day’s news unfolded before us. Twenty kindergartners were killed in a Connecticut grade school this morning. Another school, another massacre of children, this time, unimaginably, a classroom of five-year old kindergarten kids.

As the grandparents of two kindergartners, my wife and I sat watching the horrific scenes from a Connecticut grade school in mostly stunned silence, only interrupted by Teri’s occasional sobbing as her heart broke over the loss of these precious lives.

The news broadcasters are in unison. No matter what pundit you turn to, they all seem to be asking a form of the question, why. What is going on in this world? Where did all this evil come from? Reread the above passages. Genesis 3:6 documents the fall of mankind. Adam and Eve escorted sin into the world.  One generation later, one of their sons, Cain, murdered his brother Abel.   Sin’s effect on mankind moved quickly then...and continues to do so.

In 1962, the United States Supreme Court abolished what we commonly knew as school prayer. A routine part of the school day was a simple moment of prayer. But now days, school is a place where God is not welcome in any way, shape, or form. And yet, there will be those who, upon hearing today’s tragic news, cry out "Where was God in all this?!?"  I wonder if those same folks think it mere coincidence that these type of mass killings in schools did not exist before the 1960's.

A few minutes ago, I watched from our back deck as a young mother waited for her child stepping off a school bus. She walked him back to their house about a block away.  I’ve seen her on that walk dozens of times, but today she must have had a sense of reflection about the 20 Connecticut mothers and fathers that won’t have their children home with them tonight.   I know I did...

Please Lord Jesus, comfort those parents, grandparents,and other family members who are suffering through this nightmarish night. Love them in a way that only You can. Forgive us, Lord God, for the measures we’ve taken as a nation to move further and further from You, for the evilness we’ve legislated, for the ungodliness our country’s embraced. We fall on our knees and cry out to You for mercy.