Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wrong Question

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, Are you for us, or for our adversaries?  And he said, No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come. … -- Joshua 5:13-14

God is on our side.  In the Second World War, this was said by German soldiers as well as American and British servicemen.  In the American Civil War, it was said by both North and South.  Today it is said by the Israeli, by the Muslim, by the policeman, and by the one who shot the policeman down. 

Our political leaders speak of being on the right or wrong side of history.  That is the agnostic, pop-culture, materialist way of saying it.  Marx didn’t like God telling him what to do, so he substituted history in God’s place.  The names change, but the error remains the same.

I am either working with God or I am opposing Him.  Jesus points it out to us from both sides: 

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters (Matthew 12:30).
For the one who is not against us is for us (Mark 9:40).

The right side is God’s side, by definition.  God alone is good.  I can’t do good and be opposed to God; I can’t be opposed to God and do good. 

The problem we face today is that the world, by and large, rejects this simple and obvious reality.  The largely reactionary political left has come to believe that good is doing whatever God says is wrong.  Meanwhile the socially conservative believe that we can get God on our side by passing laws and using the force of government to make people behave correctly.  I am sympathetic to the latter approach.  It makes a lot more sense than sowing chaos then wondering why we’re reaping such bloody and violent pandemonium. 

As a Christian, I am for good behavior.  I hope that goes without saying.  But being on God’s side doesn’t always mean be nice.  God can be disruptive.  In fact, in this world, at this time, we need some divine disruption.  People who are deceived by sin do not need to be pacified or placated. 

A long period of relative peace and prosperity has led us onto a comfortable path, but one that increasing diverges from the truth.  A course correction is about to take place.  If I try to stay on the wrong road or to help others do so -- regardless of how “nice” my words and actions are perceived as being, I will find that I am opposing God.  

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