Background Scripture: "Great blessings belong to those who don't listen to evil advice, who don't live like sinners, and who don't join those who make fun of God. Instead, they love the Lord's teachings and think about them day and night." Psalm 1:1-2 ERV
Quote-of-the-week: The deceit, the lie of the devil consists of this, that he wishes to make man believe he can live without God's Word. Thus he dangles before man's fantasy a kingdom of faith, of power, and of peace into which only he can enter who consents to the temptations; and he conceals from men that he, as the devil, is the most unfortunate and unhappy of beings, since he is finally and eternally rejected by God." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We have been discussing the importance of reading, studying, believing, and living the Holy Bible and all that it teaches. It should form the basis and the totality of our worldview as believers. However, we would be remiss if we failed to understand that Satan hates God's Word and he hates us. He has been misusing the Word of God to deceive humans since the Garden of Eden. Therefore, it naturally follows that he hates it when you get into God's Word and will do anything to keep you from it. Make no mistake, THIS IS WAR!
A glaring example of the coming to fruition of the above Bonhoeffer quote was the Supreme Court's decision in Stone vs. Graham, 1980. That case was about the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. In a 5-4 decision, the slim majority stated that the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools violates the establishment clause of the first amendment. Writing for the majority, Justice Brennan stated the following:
"If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will be to induce the children to read, meditate upon, perhaps to venerate and obey, the Commandments."
Now, we certainly can't have that, can we? We wouldn't want school children to meditate on God's Law and perchance obey such injunctions as "You must not murder anyone" or "You must not steal anything" or (gasp!) "You must honor and respect your father and your mother." (I apologize for the sarcasm but why do we find school shootings inexplicable in light of this?)
However, we live in a dark world, a world where the forces of the enemy wants to limit or completely eliminate the influence of faith in God's Word in the public square. The reasons for this are not difficult to understand. In America "religion" (still) largely means Christianity and today our secular culture views biblical Christianity and Bible-teaching churches as troublesome, retrograde, and reactionary forces. We are seen as "anti" to everything they hold dear; as anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women, anti-abortion, and anti-"progress." It should not surprise us then that the forces of the devil who are arrayed against evangelical Christians and their institutions believe that society is best served if the Bible's influence on public life is completely eliminated. Has it ever occurred to you that, by neglecting God's Word in your life, you are aiding and abetting the enemy?
Yet, despite the efforts to quarantine our faith and confine its application to the walls of our churches, the end result of where Satan is taking our culture is unthinkable. It portends the complete destruction of the family, a complete disregard for authority, and utter societal chaos. I recall once getting into a "discussion" with a member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) at a history conference I once attended (Why the FFRF rates a booth at a history seminar, I cannot conceive). After telling him that I was a Christian, he strongly cautioned me that I must lay aside all vestiges of my faith at the school house gate. Needless to say, I did not acquiesce to his demands. Yet, this is where we are now as a culture and we had best be putting on the full armor of God in order to stand against it.
John Adams once said that, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." That was correct in the 18th century and it is abundantly clear now. To best illustrate the preserving effects of "salt-and-light" believers on society, I offer a true illustration that I used in my January 30, 2011 evotion. It is called "A Tale of Two Family Trees:"
Jonathan Edwards: Born 1703 - Man of God and God's Word and married to a woman of like character. On their wedding night they consecrated their marriage to the Lord. Their descendants included 300 clergymen, some missionaries and theological professors, 100 professors, 100 attorneys, 1 dean of a law school, 60 physicians, 1 dean of a medical school, 3 mayors of large cities, 60 authors of fine classics, 14 presidents of universities, 3 state governors, 1 controller of the U.S. treasury, and 1 Vice-President of the United States. Their descendants did not cost the state a single penny.
Max Jukes: Born 1700 - An atheist who married an immoral woman who dabbled in the occult. Of their 1200 descendants, 310 were professional vagrants and died paupers, 440 wrecked their lives through debauchery, 130 went to jail; 7 for murder, average sentence 13 years, more than 600 became alcoholics, 60 were habitual thieves, 190 became public prostitutes, and 20 became tradesmen; 10 of whom learned their trade in prison. That descendancy cost the state of New York $1,250,000 (in 18th century dollars).
So, as it turns out, those things like Bible reading that we tend to push down the list of daily priorities, are the most productive for society, for ourselves, and for eternity.
Keep and Defend the Faith,