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inner-conflict

Our Moral Dilemma

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 3: 5-12 The Message (vs. 5-6 shown)

This has long been one of my favorite Bible passages. It’s filled with hope, especially when times are tough. It reminds me of the old TV program from the 60’s called, “Father Knows Best!” And it’s true – He does know best. Here we find reminders of God’s correction, favor, and love wrapped in warm, cozy blankets of promise.

So, I nestle under the shadow of His wing, then I’m reminded …

    10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.” Ephesians 6: 10-13 CEV

In this land we know as America, we have certain understanding of freedom. To most of us, it is built on a bold, self-reliance that tackles difficulties head on and creatively solves or endures the hardship, right? We pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, and so forth! The notion that “God helps those that help themselves,” though blatantly unbiblical, is something most of us are familiar with. In fact, God blesses the meek (not weak) in spirit which is pretty much the antithesis of “God helps those that help themselves.”

Meek is not weak, and neither is dependency on God a weak thing. In Jeremiah 17:5 (CEV), we read …

“This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

What is the difference between dependence on God and dependence on Government?

Simple! Government is the same as man. It is just a group of men and/or women. These Bible verses indicate that dependence on man – ANY man or group of people, is not a good idea.

Maybe this is the great error of America! Proverbs 28: 26 says,

Only fools would trust
what they alone think,
but if you live by wisdom,
you will do all right.

Abraham and Terah travelling from Ur to Haran, illustration for Everyday Life in Bible Times (National Geographic Society, 1968), by American illustrator Tom Lovell (1909-1997).

Abraham and Terah travelling from Ur to Haran, illustration for Everyday Life in Bible Times (National Geographic Society, 1968), by American illustrator Tom Lovell (1909-1997).

The great heroes of the Bible were FREE enough within themselves to go against the grain of society and attach themselves to an unseen God. Abraham was called out of Ur, where pagan worship included child sacrifices and sexual promiscuity as part of their worship. They put their faith in God alone. God knows it was not Abraham’s choice to sacrifice his son, Isaac, but he was willing, if that is what this God required. Was Abraham relying on his wisdom? his strength? his ability as a problem-solver? No. He simply (though it certainly is not always easy) trusted God.

The-Landing-of-the-Pilgrims-by-Henry-A-Bacon-circa-1877

The-Landing-of-the-Pilgrims-by-Henry-A-Bacon-circa-1877

William Bradford, though a young man of only 30, lead the group of travelers, a mix of “Saints and Strangers.” on a 65 day sea voyage across stormy seas. They sought Virginia, but ended up on the coast of Massachusetts. They were on their own … but God orchestrated their survival, and they were deeply grateful. Thanksgiving resulted.

There is a moral dilemma within America today. Clearly, we have lost our compass as a nation, yet there are those among us yearning to be free. We understand that freedom issues from the throne of God, not from Washington, D.C. Still, the struggle toward self-reliance conflicts with biblical direction toward God-reliance. Interestingly, both the heroes of the Bible and heroes from early America stand among the “strongest” men and women to me. Somehow, their dependence on God freed them to walk in the same “independence” that created the Universe, that crafted elegant and beautiful melodies with harmonies of innumerable sounds, that painted nature with elaborate and myriad colors, textures, and shapes. Like so many other God-principles, to find true freedom, it seems we must sell out to the Author of freedom. (see Luke 17: 33 CEV, Mark 10: 35-45) Will we?


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