Be a Berean, you coward..
I’ve come to believe that I’ve missed, and even dismissed, many of God’s greatest truths by virtue of how horribly they are taken hostage, with singular zeal–apart from the greater Biblical picture. A Christian can be very much like the Jesus-tempting Satan, brandishing a powerful scriptural dagger, sounding “holy” but working enormous evil, either by ignorance or design..
Consider a few of these..
“Be still and know that I am God..” Psalm 46:10
Almost any Christian activist who takes on the thankless task of encouraging the pastor to host a prayer vigil at the local abortion clinic has heard this one trotted out as though to say, “Don’t worry about babies being killed. God has this, brother.” The irony here is that this comes from a warfare/fortress passage in scripture where God invites us to see the “desolations” He visits upon those who oppose Him. God “breaks the spear and shatters the bow” and makes “war cease” by virtue of His enormous power and love for justice. If God burns the shields of invading armies, what does He have in store for the abortionist’s implements of murder?
“Still,” of course, there is enormous peace, and solace, in the sanctuary of being “still” and resting in God’s enormous power, but would this power warrant our being mere, apathetic spectators?
Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (Proverbs 24:11-12)
As much as I would personally love checking out completely and leaving all of the world’s evil to God’s providence, I’m sensing that He actually wants to share His glory with us. Proverbs 24 paints a picture of our likely cowardice, and God’s response to it. It’s not pretty. On the contrary, He wants us in the fight, invested, praying, fighting, speaking, and THEN taking solace in the fact that the battle is His..
My point here is that we could ignore the enormous peace of being able to rest in the Lord simply because so many lazy, timid glory-shunning believers have mangled the “be still” text beyond recognition.
Let’s take another..
“..whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves..” Romans 13:2
Sometimes I wonder whether believers have any idea why Paul spent so much time in prison?
Was it because of his “go along to get along” spirit? Was it because he never really demanded justice? Um. No. (Acts 25:11, Acts 16:37) Paul demanded the rights of his Roman citizenship just as much as I demand mine as an American citizen. There is nothing provincial about American rights or Roman rights or Hebrew rights or Ugandan rights because God is a blessing to ALL the nations and He is the author of universal human liberty. If people would bother to read Romans 13, or 1 Peter 2, in their entirety, they would know that both apostles were charging magistrates with a fearful responsibility: be just, be an “agent of wrath” against the wicked and “praise the good” or understand that they are in terrible conflict with God’s will.
Think about it this way. Ponder the following prayer you are not likely to hear in many fellowships today..
“Most High God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We praise you. You are the author of peace,and justice, and love. You made the great engines of war. You gave victory to Moses and Gideon and Samuel. You have promised us, Dear Lord, that all magistrates, all leaders, MUST praise the good and be AGENTS OF WRATH against the evil. Shine forth, Lord! Our cities are besieged by arson, by thieves, by rapists, by vandals, by murderers. Inspire a magistrate, with a sword, to make them bleed, Lord. Kill them or convert them, Lord. There ARE ten righteous men in this city. Work your wrath! Send the wicked to hell or change their hearts, Lord! For your glory!”
That is a Biblically inspired prayer, but many will not believe it because they have been taking scriptural sleeping pills from people too lazy to rise to the glory God calls us to, or even to read the Bible cover to cover.