Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law (Deu 31:12 -KJV)
April 18, 2023
The last several years have been challenging for all of us, to say the least. It has been difficult to grasp where we were going and how things would turn out. No one seemed to know the right answer because some religious groups were trying to direct us while walking in error themselves. It was as if we all decided to jump off the cliff together or were on a roller coaster headed to hell, screaming and hollering all the way.
It seemed some other religious groups decided to sit back and say nothing while the wild ride went on and wanted to just wait it out. That sounds biblical; the scripture says, “wait on the Lord.” However, you might note, that was Old Testament. Now that the Lord has come, He has given us direction to “Go!” Go, witness, preach, save, deliver, heal, visit; but go! Even at the Red Sea Moses was asked by God, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” (Ex 14:15}. If you do not have the Lord, you need to wait for directions, but if the Lord is with you and you know what to do, why wait? Jesus taught the Children of God what to do and then Jesus said: “Go ye therefore…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Mt. 28:19-20)”.
When we observe the New Testament saints, particularly the apostles, they are always moving and going forward because they have their directions or the Spirit with them. They do not have to sit and wait, unless they have been physically stopped like Peter or Paul in jail, where the angel came to release Peter. I say that to say this, the true church has Jesus Christ with them and should be moving forward in the things of God. That is particularly true for apostles of Christ who have heard direction and know the way. Those without apostolic leadership may not know that it should be moving forward or where to go and need to seek God for help.
The Spirit of God has brought correction that we all need to heed. Jesus Christ demonstrated that we all should walk in love, humility, and care for others. The newspapers declare that this generation has not been that. Church scandals declare it also. We can read the newspapers or just look around and see that God has pulled the cover off of sin in the form of scandals and headlines news to show us where we have erred and we should learn from those errors and do better, if we have learned the lesson. When I set down to write this article, I realized that I had already written it in 2019. See it below and I will add a new summation at the end.
LEARNING THE LESSON
While our memories are fresh we should pause as Americans to see what we have learned from our recent political discourse. But you say, “It is not over yet!” The ordeal might not be over but the lesson is apparent and ready to be learned. It is amazing that with the multitudes of professions, spiritual intuition and educational knowledge available in our nation; it was the American media that saved the day. They called out lies that the politicians, church and government would not. They were a little slow calling a lie a lie but they finally got there. Their reluctance in calling false statements as lies was probably due to their professional relationship with morality, whose guidelines for truth is rooted in biblical scriptures. America has had its debate with truth and truth was tossed out on its ear in favor of public opinion. Truth does exist, however, even though few public leaders want to validate the importance of truth derived from religious faith as the standard and foundation of our society. Religious wars were fought and settled in nations before America was established as a God-honoring nation. America must re-establish this baseline truth. We cannot re-fight religious wars within our borders. Some things, like math, are universally accepted truths across nations and so must be the truth about God, which America had the most liberty to expound across the world. Has America come to an epiphany about God and yet reverted back to pagan discourse? Has the church failed at practicing what it has preached?
Chasing After “Shiny Things”
The media unearthed a truth that revealed people were running around in circles. “Shiny things” was a phrase that was repeated over and over by one media outlet who discovered the enemy was hiding the truth by causing the public to chase after “shining things.” Little children love shiny things and will chase after them and amuse themselves in play with them all day long. They can easily be distracted by shiny things. The media found that they were being pulled off topic and off the scent of their journalistic search by shiny things introduced to lead them astray. They caught on to the game, called it out and decided to stop allowing these traps to ruin their efforts in exposing real problems. Would to God we all would learn this lesson and stop running after “shiny things.”
The real question is how we ever got into the mess our political system has fallen into. It’s appropriate to consider: America loves shiny things! We love the flashy, the bigness, the loudest, the richest and the most visible things. We love our stars! If there is a selection to be made, we want the “most-est” of the bunch. We are Americans and we want nothing less than the best! So we chase after shiny things because they stand out and must represent the best. We were groomed to seek after movie stars, celebrity preachers and greatness in leaders. Everything shiny is not the best! Sometimes it’s just greased up.
What am I talking about? We, as Americans, must learn from our present situation, while the experience is still fresh in our minds, how to make proper decisions from a wide selection of options. New elections are on the way! We will have an opportunity to do it again and leaders can and have been proven to lead the masses astray with smoke, mirrors and flashes of light. Did we learn the lesson? If we have not learned the lesson, we are bound to repeat it. I dare say some are reporting, we are already repeating our previous bad history. The best leader is not always the best looking, tallest, wealthiest, most smooth-talking, charismatic, renowned person we can find. Abraham Lincoln is believed to have been one of our best presidents yet his success as the 16th President of the United States was not based on popular criteria.
The best source for guidance in selecting true leadership is found in the Word of God. If we refuse this sound guidance, we will continue to have more of what we are already seeing. The devil does not need new tricks; the old ones work just fine. Church instruction was supposed to teach us how to make right choices. Our first great leaders were chosen by God and He gave mankind guidelines for selecting good leaders. Here is some biblical instruction:
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Act 6:3
Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens… Ex. 18:21
And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. 1Ki 3:28
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Pro 2:6
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Pro 15:33
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deu 18:18
The scriptures above reveal God’s guidance for selection of a leader:
- One from among us (someone we know and his ways)
- One of honest report, fears God, Spirit-filled,One who has judgment, wisdom, truth
- And one who hates covetousness
Inner-Struggle of Nation
Our nation started out as a God-fearing nation but now mostly choose to disavow God and shun His ways in favor of worldly leadership. We have compromised our values for the sake of getting along. The fact that none of us are perfect should not disqualify the guidebook that identifies our shortcomings. We can see clearly where that has gotten us and we can look back at the list above and realize there is a lack of virtuous traits in our present leadership. We should not settle for lest of men because we cannot find a perfect human. We also should not look to man as God, which is idolatry or demagoguery (Suggested audio/video on demagoguery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IaGHbyWf7c. This is the right time to look back over the last several years to see how far we have gone from God’s original instructions that the founders valued and we should each determine why we find ourselves in this present state. Some would say we are doing that. Unfortunately and as previously explained, the expertise of the media cannot produce repentance, which is God granted. When America chose to refuse the Christian standard, it also refused godly leadership. Without God’s guidance and Christian values, we no longer have a standard on which to judge righteousness or the proper course for the nation. When biblical Israel became corrupt both leaders and the people were in darkness.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Co 10:12
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. Pro 26:12
The very definition of right and wrong has been publicly challenged and debated with vigor while the “Judge” over the debate has been muzzled. We can continue on the wrong course and become worse and worse or we can stop now, acknowledge we went off course, check the guide book to see our error and be corrected. It is time to seriously evaluate our experience and extract the lesson. Without a vision the people will perish (Pro 29:18) and the vision of our nation was God’s direction for the nation.
A list of worldly characteristics to judge the best candidates are usually: strong vision for the nation; ability to put the times in historical perspective; effective communicator; courage to make unpopular decisions; crisis management skills; character and skills (www.ushistory.org/gov). Careful evaluation reveals the list was derived from biblical examples but it purposely leaves out God’s Spirit as the source of guidance. We cannot use God’s wisdom while failing to acknowledge Him as the source and expect to be successful. Kings, prophets and wise men have acknowledged God as the source of their abilities, whereas modern intellectuals show shame. The very nature of God and His commandments refuse to be ignored and demands recognition for who He is. If we fail to acknowledge Him, He has vowed to deny us. We are seeing the results of this denial without realizing the cause as forsaking God. The nation that denies God subsequently goes into decline before experiencing bondage or destruction.
Many mainline Christian churches surely failed us when they showed a stubbornness toward accepting the spiritual gifts God sent to empower the church at the Azusa Street revival, resisted cross-race fellowship that led spiritually-hungry believers to enticement by celebrity preachers who beguiled seekers with false gifts, false doctrine, pursuit of wealth, abandonment of righteous standards in lieu of worldly fellowship and surrender to political leadership without God.
The first appointed leader over the children of Israel was a man led by God, named Moses. Moses was given the authority to assign public leaders over the Israelites for service as priests, discipline, judge, worship leaders and social care. All of these positions are part of our present society that we call community, church and government for the people and they are all derived from the original Lawmaker and Sovereign God, who set up foundation standards for the lives of His people and society. Where we varied from that direction is the point where we went astray. We cannot allow arrogance due to our wealth, modernization, or intellect to cause us to deny the God who made us. The founders (well-versed in law, science and theology) acknowledged God and established, to the best of their abilities, the pattern they thought their descendants would follow and improve on any shortsightedness. Rather than improve on what the founders did, America has flipped the script and gone all the way backward, ready to return to authoritarianism, monarchy, church dominance, over-taxation and class-rule.
Correcting the Path
It would be ideal to assume that America has learned the lesson from recent and still on-going errors, but there is still that fascination for stars. We love our stars! We want a star in the pulpit and as head of our government. Did we learn nothing from King James I of England, who considered his rule divine and unanswerable to men? Fascination with stars assumes that someone else is better than we, whereas Jesus came to disprove that theory and reveal great potential and the Creator’s power in each of us. We must learn to look for signs of God’s selection of a leader in those who possess maturity, wisdom, integrity, humility, fear of God, honesty and a servant-spirit. Those are godly characteristics that protect us from charlatans like those being charged in today’s news cycles. Christian ministers were supposed to teach us to resist looking for the glory of man but rather to give glory to Christ. Many instead taught us to glorify them and look for god in man. The uniqueness of America is a God who gave a Savior and Lord in human flesh whom we as Americans are free to know, follow and emulate.
It is so easy to chase after “shiny things” like children. We must be more studious in our undertaking for leaders because what we do will affect our destiny, the next generation and the world watching us. We should not miss the purpose of our faith which was to show forth Christ in all that we say and do. If our present spiritual, political, and community leaders have failed us; we must not give up on the right path but rather return to the original guide book and pattern. Once we can see the pattern and have the right model, we can pick up where they left off and continue on course, like Joshua. No leader is to be set up higher than or instead of Christ. Misguided leadership does not have to be the end. God gave us Jesus walking an earthly path as our example to follow and He warned us of making gods of men. We all have within us the same potential for greatness because we are all made in the image of the Creator. We have not yet reached our highest national potential and we can still reject the trap of the enemy. We have a long way to go still if we straighten out our course and reject tyranny. The enemy of our nation, his plan and false way has been fully exposed in plain sight in a time of weakness but we can still denounce the evil choice. God has given us mercy at the crossroad of grace and destruction so we should learn the lesson and make the right choice. Let’s choose to reject the wrong path and press toward a better future!
Conclusion – 2023
What God has shown us through the last several years is the end results of running after our own goals in our own way. For those running after wealth, they have seen men with enormous wealth fall and/or go to jail (Enron Executives financial scandal, Jeffrey Epstein sex scandal, Donald Trump political problems, Hillsong Ministry various problems, and others). All we have to do is look at our own goal to see if it is on a similar track and consider their end. Are we on the same track? How will we avoid their results? The wages of sin is death and there are different types of deaths, whether financial, emotional, social, marital, or end of physical life). “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pro. 14:12 KJV). There are people today that will tell us that we can do certain things and the results will be positive or a gain, but we would do better to see what God has said about it because the word is tried and true. A gracious God has given us His word, examples in the bible and results before our eyes to warn of the possible danger if we proceed in a similar manner. Our brilliance would be to take the warning and follow the right path.
God has given us access to His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth.
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Joh 16:13 (KJV)
Real life experiences and bible scripture are our lessons if we are paying attention. God has given us for examples the lives of biblical Abraham, David, Sarah and Mary as people who profited through obedience, and we should do likewise.