Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Problem of Religion.4

"You steal from the poor and the widows; and then, to conceal your true intentions, you make long pious prayers.

You decree: 

"The temple is unimportant. What is important is the treasury!"

But which is greater: 

the gold in the treasury, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?

And you say: 

"The altar is not important; but the gift that is upon it is important."

You are both foolish and blind. 

Which is greater: 
the gift on the altar, or the altar that sanctifies the gift?"

Whoever honors the altar honors it and all things upon it. And whoever honors the temple honors him who dwells within its walls. And they who honor heaven, honor the throne of God, and he who sits upon it." 

Persons, throughout history, who hold the "reigns of power" have a similar view of life: they are bigger, faster, stronger then everyone else!

The USA is in the midst of a titanic struggle between the "ruling elite" and the average citizen.  The Power Worshipers told us that a child in the womb is not worth protecting. They told us we don't know the meaning
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of marriage.  They tell us we don't know when a man is a man and a woman is a woman.  They tell us that we don't know how to raise our own children.  They "permit" us to own property and tell us how much we can own and what we can do with it.  They tell us God has no place in our public discourse, in our schools, in our workplace, in our homes.  They tell us we are intolerant, racist, ______phobic, and criminal if we disagree.

And what are their "true intentions?" The same intentions employed by the prince of the power of the air; the same motives used to tempt Jesus: power and glory.

But we are getting to the point where they almost no longer concern themselves with hiding their true intentions! The wicked still strut about freely when what is vile is honored among men.  When there is no resistance, no voice calling in the wilderness, no one pleading with men to repent, are we not in a worse state than the first?  

Sanctifying the Gift and the Gold.

Throughout Israel's history, as recorded in the Old Testament, the nation went through cycles of devotion and defiance to the One True God.  The remarkable thing is that God found ways to bring the nation back to himself, usually after a period of national suffering at the hands of foreign invaders.  This suffering softened the hearts of the people to the point they would listen, believe, repent and care about the things of God: righteousness, justice, truth and love.

Jesus called out the spiritual leaders of Israel to remind them that priorities can easily become confused and the allure of power and glory can be awfully hard to resist.  He calls us to pray for our leaders.  Let us pray that:

  • they realize that the frustration so many Americans feel about the profligate use of our national treasures is a reflection of leaders who deem themselves unaccountable to both God and people.  Pray that they rededicate themselves to honoring God, not with lip service, but sincerely from the heart.
  • they would align themselves with God's priorities and principles for godly leadership especially in the sacred trust of life, law & property.
...before God has to use foreign invaders to soften our hearts!