Illustration: Unprecedented. Unique. Unparalleled. Those are just some adjectives used to describe what is happening in our nation. I don’t watch TV ‘news’ but I do read it online, and it is gut-wrenching. Many of our nation’s own Guardsmen are activated to the capital cities in our states. Nearly 30,000 Guardsmen are activated to Washington D.C., not just within the capital city but to the Capitol building. To see America arm her own citizen-soldiers to protect her from her own citizens reveals a lot about where we are as a nation and as a culture.
Scripture: America is often described as a post-Christian nation. Most folks want nothing to do with the God of the Bible, nothing to do with the doctrine of God and His holiness, or the doctrine of man and his sinfulness, or of Jesus Christ, the God-man, the sole mediator between God and man. That is not new.
Prophets and truth-tellers don’t win popularity contests. Moses was on the receiving end of national criticism. Joseph was mocked and betrayed by his own family. Abel was murdered by his own brother. John the Baptist was beheaded. Paul was incarcerated and eventually beheaded in Rome, Italy. John was exiled to an island off the coast of Turkey. Peter was crucified. And, of course, Jesus Christ was denied, lied about, betrayed, sold, mocked, spat upon, crowned with briars, flogged, beaten, pierced, and nailed to a tree. No, to speak about biblical things in an accurate way, that is now “hate speech” that needs to be marginalized. This is why the Bible speaks so often about counting the costs of being a disciple. Americans want secularism, and paganism, and commercialism, and non-stop entertainment and distraction. But how is all that working out for us?
There is deep division running through our land. It is not just in Atlanta or Portland or Chicago or Minneapolis or the District of Columbia. No, it runs through the heart of sinners. And at the heart of the issue is whether or not we will acknowledge God as God, or if we will refuse to do that and play gods ourselves. It is the story of Genesis 3 all over again. Did Adam and Eve obey God perfectly? Did they acknowledge that God determines good and evil and defines the standards? No; they believed Satan (Genesis 3). They believed the lie and the father of lies (Genesis 3; John 8:44).
Evidence: In Luke 11:17, when Jesus was still trying to teach recalcitrant sinners, he taught with clarity what was at stake:
But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.”
The issue was whether they would believe the truth that Jesus is the only Savior, the God-man, the second person of the triune God of the Bible, or if they would believe the lie, just like Adam and Eve did, in Genesis 3. Same story. Who is telling the truth? Would folks believe and follow the truth and evidence, or would they follow the lie?
You know the story: Jesus was rejected. Despite the miracles, the healings, the precise fulfillment of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies, despite his wisdom that baffled the Pharisees’ self-proclaimed wisdom, the hearers largely rejected the Messiah. And what happened to Jerusalem in A.D. 70? She fell. Conquered by invaders once again.
Takeaway: What does this have to do with us today? Everything. We are divided. People are in camps. Now is the day of “identity politics” and “intersectionality.” People claim victim status, and we’ve grown distasteful to ourselves.
Our nation’s soldiers are at the city gate, so to speak, to keep Americans from slaughtering one another. These are serious times, folks. If we are true believers, it is long past time to give ourselves a hard look in the mirror, repent, pray, encourage ourselves in the Lord and in the power of His might, speak truth lovingly but boldly and clearly to all who will hear, and be found faithful.
If we are to ever be united, it will only be because we are united in truth. Christ taught that Satan, the enemy of men’s souls, does this: he lies, steals, and destroys (John 10:10). But Christ came and laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:11). Why? Because He is the Good Shepherd.
The father of lies vs. the Good Shepherd. Satanic deception vs. the Good Shepherd who came for sinners who will respond in repentance and faith.
How is that for clarity of choice?
May God raise up truth-tellers who are faithful regardless of the costs.