For Christians and Jews who think somewhat like Uncle Larry we “lost” the election on Tuesday 11/6. What happened? How could this happen? What does it mean? Like most men I’m great at questions but not as good with answers. Nonetheless this is one man’s Bible based opinion about what happened on 11/6 and what it may mean for our collective future.
Let’s start with my basic premise. There are two dimensions to life that are taking place moment by moment and side by side: the Physical and the Spiritual. Think of it this way. Imagine that you lived in the pre-television era and all you had was radio. What would be your reaction if someone told you there was going to be an electronic picture machine in your home that would send you shows and movies in 3D. Most likely you would ask what is 3D. You didn’t even know about TV much less a screen that could show you pictures in more than one dimension.
You and I live in physical bodies on the earth that God created and we all have our own struggles and challenges with the lives we have in the physical realm – health, finances, relationships and all the struggles that life brings. Thus it is perfectly natural for us to think of this physical life and the things that are going on around us that we can see, touch, hear and feel as “that’s all there is.” Unlike the popular song by Frank Sinatra the physical world we live in is not all there is.
God created us in His image and we are created as physical and spiritual beings. We live in both a physical and spiritual world. Saint Paul told us in Ephesians 6:12 “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” .
When Christ prayed for us He prayed to The Father “My prayer is not that you take them out of this world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15).
I can’t think of a time in the history of man where this verse has been more real for Christians and Jews than today. Satan is truly alive and well on planet earth and he is determined to have it his way and not God’s. Satan is the chief, the resource of the evil spiritual forces that Saint Paul spoke of. Satan’s work is not done only by his spiritual aides (demons) but also by other human beings that we share this planet with – those who have a different agenda from the plan God gave the Jews in the Old Testament and the Revelation of Christ in the New Testament – the entire Bible.
The Bible – especially the Old Testament – but the New Testament as well – is filled with a very simple and well understood principle: Command and Promise! Stated differently – God shares His desire for our behavior – based on what He knows is good for us. If and when we follow His plan He “promises” His Blessing. When we – or any collective group no longer respect, listen to and more importantly follow God’s plan His Blessing is no longer assured. To see the truth of this principle of Command and Promise all you have to do is look at the Bible. It starts with Adam and Eve. When they failed to follow God’s will they were forced out of the Garden. When the People of Israel intermarried with the Canaanites and turned to other Gods like Baal – the blessing of God was lifted and the neighboring tribes and nations defeated and ruled them – even to the point where God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to invade their land and take them into exile in Babylon. The Bible is filled with examples of this principle of Command and Promise in individual lives and in the lives of God’s chosen people – the Nation of Israel. It’s a principle that applies to both individuals and nations.
A similar principle exists in the physical world. In the natural order of things when we work we are rewarded. When Adam and Eve were forced out of the Garden of Eden the first thing they had to do was work. They had to scratch out a living from the soil so they could eat. In Genesis 3:19 God tells us all “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground.”
When people reject the natural law that work proceeds reward they will either do without or they will look to find someone to take it from – or better yet a government system that takes it from someone else and gives it to them. Naturally, for those who prefer not to work this is an ideal system – one that makes all the sense in the world to them and they do not want change – they do not want less – they want more and they do not want to take risk or work hard to get it.
So there we have it – two simple principles. In the spiritual dimension when we follow the will and design of God He promises us His blessing. In the physical dimension we are only promised reward when we work.
I read an article in the Wall Street Journal – written by a “college age Republican” – that in essence said that if the Republican Party is ever going to gain the Presidency it has to win the youth vote. The writer opines the only way to win the votes of today’s American youth is to: Remove the influence of the religious right (that would be me) and cast aside the vastly unpopular social positions of opposing abortion and homosexuality – regardless of their Biblical foundation
Recently I have received many e mails from people of true faith who opine they fear we are going into a period of judgement from God. Hence the title of this piece – a Distinction with a Difference. It’s my view – which I hope you can see from the Biblical illustrations above is that God sees everything and he knows the thoughts of every person’s heart – individually and collectively. We as Americans have slowly but surely over recent decades thumbed our noses at God’s commands and GOD IS NOW RELIEVED OF HIS OBLIGATION TO BLESS US.
It doesn’t mean that God will not bless us individually. However, as a country with a second term President that says we “are no longer a Christian nation” – when well-meaning Republicans say it’s time to abandon Biblical principles – and most people living their lives ignoring God – His obligation to bless us that was conditioned on our keeping His principles and precepts has now been lifted.
Who among us can know the difference between “a time of judgement” and “the release of the promise of God’s blessing.” The result may look and feel like the same but I believe it is a distinction with a difference.
In closing this already too long piece let me give you my conclusions:
1. The majority of the citizens and aliens living in the United States of America no longer place God and spiritual principles as a priority in their lives. Hence, God is relieved of His promise of blessing and He is simply stepping aside and allowing the “collective us” to have our own way.
2. The majority of the citizens and aliens in the United States of America no longer believe in and practice the basic natural law that reward follows work.
3. Our best hope is found in the truth of II Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.