Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No other God (part 3): Dt 5:7

"Because your heart is lifted up and you have said, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods in the heart of the seas'; yet you are a man and not God, although you make your heart like the heart of God." (Ezekiel 28:2)
Another god that nations place before the Lord God is mankind. Marxist, communists, and some liberals have long tried to eliminate God from society. While on a trip to Leningrad, USSR in 1978 I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Religion and Atheism. The museum sets out to portray religion as "the opium of the people" and the communist state as their savior. However, when we remove God from His throne and assert our own "deity", we sow weakness into our society, culture, and government. Here are a few areas where we are weakened when we place man before God.

Justice: In my country, there has been shift within our criminal justice system such that we have become less concerned with the crime that a person comments and more concerned with why they committed the crime. This shift became very clear when a few years ago two brothers were brought to trial for murdering their parents. The murders were planned and deliberate, the brothers even taking time to reload their shotguns during the murders. The facts in the case were incontrovertible and unchallenged by the defense. Yet after much deliberation, a jury of their peers were unable to find them guilty. Their reasoning was that the murders were the result of the two brothers being abused by their parents when they were young. They were more moved by the why of the crime than they were by the what of the crime. God instructs judges, "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." (Deuteronomy 19:21) When a nation forgets God they can easily confuse compassion for pity. While we can have compassion for someone with regards to how life shaped them to become who they have become, where justice is involved, this compassion must never give way to pity. In compassion we must still execute justice, and that without pity.

Culture: Every nation has a culture that is distinctly theirs. The challenge is, how to assimilate foreigners into that culture. God told Israel, "There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 24:22) God instructed the Israelites to treat those who sojourned with them as one of their own. There was to be no distinction between the native born and the alien. However, while Israel was to tolerate the foreigner, they were not to change their culture to accommodate them. During the height of immigration, America was know as a "melting pot", a place where many people could come and assimilate together and participate in America's culture and prosperity. Today, however, there are many who do not what to give up their culture and don't want to become "Americans". They want an America that is a "salad bowl", a place where many differing cultures can exist side by side. One of the greatest challenges facing governments today is how to deal with immigrating people groups who refuse to be assimilated into the native culture. In a nation where mankind is exalted before God, it becomes necessary for the culture to mutate to accommodate new immigrants rather than the immigrants being required to change to adapt to the native culture. Not all cultural change is bad, but change for the sake of accommodation runs the risk of surrendering that part of their culture that is noble, divinely inspired, and God given.

Sovereignty: Sovereignty is the assertion of a state's right to exist, but this right is not self assigned but rather God given. In order to protect its sovereignty, it is necessary for a nation to protect itself from enemies foreign and domestic. A nation must recognize the inherent evil of mankind and must be willing to confront and overcome evil where ever it may rise. However, a nation that elevates man above God believes the lie that man is basically good. They believe that all problems in the world can be solved by appealing to the "good" in each human being. It is precisely this believe that has given us the League of Nations and the United Nations. These institutions were conceived with the belief that, if we could just sit down together and discuss our differences, then we could resolve all our conflicts and realize peace on Earth. However, God gives a difference view of mankind. "There is none righteous, not even one... There is none who does good. There is not even one." (Romans 3:10, 12) History has shown the folly of trying to appeasing evil in the world, as such was the policy of much of Europe towards Hitler. Evil must never be appeased or negotiated with, evil has to be conquered and overcome. Only by having a godly understanding of the nature of man can a nation be prepared to defend their right to exist and to assert their own sovereignty.

David Robison

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