These are some of today's headlines.
* Boy Scouts Approve Plan To Accept Openly Gay Boys
* A/G Holder OK'd Seizure Of Fox Reporter's Email
* Beheading Suspect Linked With Islamic Hate Preacher
* Military Suffers Wave Of 'Gay' Sex Assaults
* Issa To Bring IRS Official Back Before Committee
How should people of faith respond to all this, particularly the sustained attack by the IRS on conservative and faith based organizations?
The quick response is often, "As a biblical Christian, I believe Jesus is soon to return and I will spend eternity in heaven---therefore I do not want to become encumbered with the things or issues of this world."
While it is biblically true that Christ will return, it is equally true that while we live here, we are to be "salt" and "light" in a very dark world.
But we ask, "What Can I do in the face of so much evil?"
And some conclude, "I'll remove myself from it all---insulate myself from the corruption ---I'll be separate."
The Bible clearly teaches us to be separate from the world, but the teaching is to be "in" the world, but not "of " the world.
We are not to remove ourselves, even as we see the foundations crumbling and the faith community under attack.
Some thoughts on a proper response.
In Psalms 11:3 we read, "When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
It's a question born out of circumstances---David's circumstances and our own today.
David's advisers were pointing out to him--
* The wicked have their bows bent.
* Their arrows are set against the bow string.
* They are hiding, shooting from the shadows.
* They are focused on people of faith---"the upright in heart."
His advisers were apparently suggesting his best option was to run to the hills. "Flee like a bird."
These were indeed very difficult times.
In chapter 12 of Psalms, David writes the "godly are no more, the faithful have vanished---everyone lies to their neighbor, speaking with deception."
He observed, "The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored."
What is a Christian's proper response?
1. Don't Run--Stand Firm
The advice given to David to "fly away to the hills" from his enemies and the current circumstances. It isn't clear who was making that suggestion--it could have been an enemy, an uninformed person, or worse, a well meaning friend.
In any case, it was bad advice.
Peter meant well (Matthew 16:22) in his response to Jesus upon learning Jesus would soon be beaten mocked and crucified, but he was misguided. You will recall that he told the Lord that He didn't deserve that kind of treatment and he, Peter, would see that it didn't happen.
David was faced with the alternatives that confront us all in crises---make God your refuge or try to create your own refuge. The question is do I trust God, or trust myself.
Trust God. Don't run--stand firm.
2. Don't Panic--Trust God
David's advisers were afraid because they saw only the frightening circumstances and the crumbling foundations.
In this narrative, those driven by fear were the ones asking the question as to what the righteous could do.
David would write in Psalms 18, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my strength, in whom I will trust. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised---so shall I be saved from my enemies."
New Testament Christians also lived during times of "crumbling foundations." The Roman Empire was not faith friendly toward Christians. Paul reminded them in Eph. 5:6, to stand firm in the faith, as there was an abundance of "deception" and "empty words" in the church. Some in the church were trying to adapt to the culture, rather than transform the culture.
3. Keep The Faith---Truth Is Not Relative
Psalms 119:152 says, "Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them forever."
Strong voices in our present culture are declaring that biblical truth is a myth, irrelevant, outdated and must "adapt" to our changing culture. Their bows are drawn and the arrows are in place as they attack everything Christian.
* Relativism is Illogical.
If all truth is relative, then the truth of this assertion is relative also. To say that all truth is relative cannot be absolutely true.
* Relativism is Hypocritical.
Those who champion relativism do not live as though it is true. They apply it selectively to truth claims that they want to reject, but view as absolute, truth claims they want to accept. They only see relative truth in regard to religion---specifically Christianity and morality.
* Relativism is at war with Christianity.
Those who advocate relative truth and values hate religion---particularly Christianity, because they see it as the greatest obstacle to alternative life styles. The divide between absolute biblical truth and relative, evolving "truth" will never be bridged, because the secular person cannot find rest in their conscience so long as the Christian voice reminds them of their guilt (John 3:19 ff).
* Relativism is Deceiving.
Relativism has convinced people that the path to truth is not through heart and mind, but through feeling.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His statutes are established forever.
God's culture has foundations and it is eternal.
*Even if no one believes in God, God still exists.
*Even if no one believes in the Bible, it is the Word of God, it is still the Truth.
* Even if people marginalize and discard the Bible as myth, ultimately every person will be judged by God's Truth in the last day.
4. Trust The Lord For Protection
Psalms 12 says, "I will now arise, says the Lord, I will protect them from those who malign them."
5. Biblical Truth, Not Political Leadership Provides a Moral Compass to The Culture
If Christians do not speak, the Truth of God's Word will not be heard.
Although morality is undermined, evil sweeps unchecked, the government seeps corruption, the Bible is attacked, God is dismissed from the public square---and elsewhere, marriage and family is redefined, life is devalued through abortion and euthanasia, and Christians are targeted by their own government---Stand firm. Trust the Lord. Don't Run. Don't hide. Don't be silent.
Be salt. Be light. Be strong.