Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Land that I Live in has God on Its Side

Did you know God was on the Republicans side and against the Democrats? Do you doubt me? How can you? It's right there in the Bible, in Ecclesiastes 10: 2 in fact.

The heart of the wise inclines to the right,

but the heart of the fool to the left.

Are you serious? You must be taking that out of context?

Maybe. Jump down a verse or too. Perhaps God is siding with the Democrats in their criticism of Bush.

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions...Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them.

Is this a criticism of the Iraq War or at least hinting the ruler who started it is a fool? Of course, some would say the fool that started it was Bush and others would say the fool was Saddam Hussein.

But perhaps we need to be cautious in case our missive is under surveillance, for a bit further down in verse 20 it says:

Do not revile the king even in your thoughts,
or curse the rich in your bedroom,
because a bird of the air may carry your words,

and a bird on the wing may report what you say.

This illustrates the danger of taking Bible passages out of context to support one's (any one's) own viewpoint. Talking Bible verses out of context has led to all kinds of evil from polygamy to slavery to bigotry to war. Such cherry-picking has also been used to support ideas which are not God given that on the surface appear right, for instance that Christ was all about love and peace. This is an oft quoted passage used to support that idea, especially in the Christmas season:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end
Isaiah 9: 6-7

But what did Christ Jesus say? Did he say he had come here and now to bring peace? Or is Isaiah looking far ahead of where we are right now. Here is what Jesus said:

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword." Matthew 10:34-35
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke 12:49-53
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
We who believe in Christ have peace because we know in this world trouble will come, but so will Jesus come again to end the trouble. In the meantime "there will be wars and rumors of wars" as well as other rather bad things.

The title of this post was taken from Bob Dylan's song, "With God on Our Side." It is an antiwar song. Each verse tells of a war or conflict since America's beginning and each ends with the words, "God on our side".
I do not know if this particular truth was in Dylan's mind when he composed it, but we should never be asking, let alone claiming, that God is on our side. The prevalent question, the most important question, the life or death question to ask is are we on God's side.
The question isn't answered by saying some nations are more evil than ours is or some people are worse than me. The question is are we in full obedience to God's will. Search the scriptures and see how often a nation that was totally depraved devastated Israel because it had strayed from God. Search the scriptures and see how often a good and Godly person ignored God's will and was punished by a ruthless and idol-worshipping opponent.
It is not a matter of whether we the people of this nation have God on our side, but whether we are on his. It may be in our will to have peace, it is only in God's power to grant it. We need to consider if we deserve it.

Here are two other quotes of Jesus that seem at odds. Why not comptemplate why they aren't?
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24-25


  1. He brought salvation, but it wasn't the kind of salvation people expected. And he brought peace, but not what we thought it would be. It was something better than that. Good post.

  2. "The prevalent question, the most important question, the life or death question to ask is are we on God's side."

    Amen! Thanks for this, Larry.