Everyone has that *one* friend that gets in over his head in trouble and needs constant rescuing.
Truth be told, we have all played the role of ‘that friend’ in our lives to one degree or another. The hope is that we learn from our youthful mistakes and proceed to maturity.
This issue isn’t only true at the personal level. It can be true at the societal level as well.
Scripture’s accounts of Israel’s cyclical swings between devotion and apostasy are a good example of that. That recurring cycle is pretty much the story arc of the Book Of Judges, and the Old Testament more generally. For example:
Nevertheless, the Lord raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do so. And when the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way. —Judges 2:16-19
If any section of scripture captures the current state of America, it’s this same Book of Judges, in which the running theme was summed up with the phrase ‘In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.’
The problem with this pattern echoes a danger we now face ourselves. When we see that our nation is in trouble, where should we turn?
It’s all well and good to elect someone like Trump who can come in like a tornado and stir things up… but what happens the next time the pendulum swings and the other team wins back the reigns of power? We don’t have to wonder, do we? We’re looking at it now.
The lesson Israel in that period failed to learn is the same one that we are invited to apply and internalize ourselves.
When God sent a Judge to rescue Israel, he broke the political power of the neighboring nations. But Israel’s real problem was at a far more fundamental level. Their neighbors had power over them precisely because Israel had internalized the system of beliefs and values their neighbors operated under.
Israel failed to root out the pagan thinking that was founded on beliefs hostile and alien to their own culture, and so, as soon as the strong political figure was no longer holding sway over the nation, they defaulted to those old, familiar ways.
That dynamic is elaborated in more detail in the 10th Chapter:
Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him. So the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Israel for eighteen years—all the children of Israel who were on the other side of the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. Moreover the people of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight against Judah also, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!”
So the Lord said to the children of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? Also the Sidonians and Amalekites and Maonites oppressed you; and you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”
And the children of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel. — Judges 10
In this instance, God refused to act on their behalf until they turned their backs on the foreign gods.
What this means for us is this: lasting change will require more than a political rescuer, it will require the full repudiation of the ideas hostile to who we are.
What are those ideas in our case?
There are several strains of them currently coursing through the national bloodstream, ranging from the rejection of Constitutional principles, to antipathy toward the rule of law, to the viewing of the world through a twisted lens of oppressed and oppressor, to dogmatic belief in secularism as the ultimate moral/religious truth, to various views on identity politics and woke ideologies.
What can we do about it?
We can look to the example of parents in Virginia. They didn’t wait for some designated politician to rescue them. Instead, they took the fight straight to the school boards and raised hell about issues that mattered to them and their children.
They stood up and were counted to the point that they sent a jolt of panic into public servants who have long since forgotten who exactly the servant in this relationship was supposed to be. It unsettled the left so badly that even Biden’s DOJ got caught trying to put a stop to this.
That parental revolt changed the whole tone of Virgina’s election.
What’s the lesson? The left aren’t the only ones who can gather in groups and make themselves heard. We can do it too.
Or will we could do what we always do, and push all our chips in hoping the right team wins(?) the next election.
Because that strategy has been working wonders, for us hasn’t it?
Psalms of War: Prayers That Literally Kick Ass is a collection, from the book of Psalms, regarding how David rolled in prayer. I bet you haven’t heard these read, prayed, or sung in church against our formidable enemies — and therein lies the Church’s problem. We’re not using the spiritual weapons God gave us to waylay the powers of darkness. It might be time to dust them off and offer ‘em up if you’re truly concerned about the state of Christ’s Church and of our nation.
Also included in this book, Psalms of War, are reproductions of the author’s original art from his Biblical Badass Series of oil paintings.
This is a great gift for the prayer warriors. Real. Raw. Relevant.