A World At War
2 “Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
Last Tuesday, along with millions of other Americans I voted. Like many of those millions I found myself standing in the lobby of a local Church anxiously awaiting my turn. The vinyl feel of my plastic “privacy sleeve”... Made in China… in hand. The forced anticipation of a squat pen (also Chinese) in the other. Both waiting to actualize their trans-Atlantic lifespan in an instant. The tools of my trade. Anxiety driven, like an old west quick draw. High noon. Main street.
As I stood inching ever closer to my eventual civic duty (or responsibility) I found myself staring at two sparkling new four wheelers. They both sat in troll-like (You shall not pass!) observance of the front doors of the local sanctuary, stride across them huge signs proclaiming, “Win Me!”.
As I stood counting the hours of my observance, several people around me began to talk about our culture. They mentioned its current deplorable state, its lack of morals, its lack of care for our children. I silently and somewhat verbally agreed. Then to the gentleman next to me I stated,
“I just think it's sad that we have to give away four-wheelers to get people to Church.”
“We are to be fishers of men.”... He responded.
“Jesus surely fed the five thousand, but do you know what happened after that?”
He glared. I paused
“They followed him. He tried to leave them.”
He glared more. I paused more.
“When they found Him he said something to them. Do you know what he said to them?”
I paused again. He glared.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”... “Do you know what the text says after this?”
Long Pause. Long glare.
“After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”
Needless to say, me and the nice man next to me, did not talk again for the duration of our duties. It was awkward, but so am I. Yet, it struck me as I sat there thinking what sad state of affairs we are in, in the Christian Church? That Christ’ call to make “Ye fishers of men” has been equated to merely raffling off four-wheelers at a Church sponsored event.
Over the last several days, I have found myself thinking about this again and again. Especially, in light of the red wave, which so many had hoped for, never materializing. Especially, especially as cultural commentators have been commentating on it.
It seems that so many in our culture had hoped to dance. To dance in the red warm glow of a republican victory party. They had hoped to hug and cheer. To feel the ecstasy of the defeat of their enemy prostrated neath their ever present elephant sized foot. Yet this never happened. Why?
Exit polling from this election has shown interesting points. According to most exit polling inflation and abortion topped the list of concerns. In fact 32% of those polled said inflation was their most pressing concern. While, 27% said that abortion/reproductive rights were theirs. In third place was crime at 12%. These statistics should be concerning to the Christian heart.
On the one hand we have the Church. Praying and hoping that four-wheelers will bring them in, While on the other we have 27% of voters caring more about their right to kill their own babies. Our culture no doubt is more concerned about offering their children to Baal. The church sees this, and cares enough to help them get free S.W.A.G. on their way there. In fact it could be argued that some are helping to prop up the lifestyle that has encouraged the killing of so many of these children.
The fact is that this reality raises huge questions and concerns. Can our culture be saved? Can the Church minister to this culture that it might repent and come again to Yahweh rather than the high places? I certainly hope the Church can do this ministry. Yet, it will only be possible if they themselves believe in the power of the Gospel and not the whims of this world. It will only be possible if the Church will look to Gog and Magog and proclaim the prophetic Word of the Gospel.
The overwhelming problem however, is obvious. The Church at large thinks that four-wheelers and prizes, parties and ornaments, talks and feminism… are all more efficient to save our culture, than the Gospel, the prophecy that will quell even Gog and Magog. So many of us are existing in a reality like that of Israel in 2nd Kings. We tolerate the worship of Baal, at least. Maybe, we even think there is something to it.
We read an interesting point in 2 Kings 3. It is there that the sinful king of Israel leads His army to battle against the king of Moab. Not out of spiritual concern but instead financial… He was worried about the economy. While marching the LORD provides a miracle and it seems that even the Moabite king will fall. Israel has them surrounded. The jig is up. The Moabite city is without food, water, and defenders. It is then however that we read this:
2 Kings 3:26-27
“26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they
withdrew from him and returned to their own
The Israelites are defeated and run home. Why? How could such a horrible act have caused the loss of such a victory which Israel stood on the precipice of? This I think is the most interesting point here.
First, I think we must acknowledge that the King of Israel was not a righteous man. His means for going to war were not spiritual, nor were they to fight evil. His motivation was to secure the tribute promised him by the king of Moab, a sheep herder. How different might things look if Christians had appealed not to the economy, as if it were some sort of checkmate to the abortion knights of the round table but, instead had appealed to the reality of evil and the power of Christ over it.
Second, I think we must understand that the hearts of the Israelites were not with the LORD. They themselves were unsure about the true nature of God. In fact King Jehoram had sought the advice of the LORD through Elisha. It was there that God spoke and told the Israelites that they would take it all. Yet, later we see them running away quicker than knights in a Monty Python sketch (Run away!) at the sight of the pagan moabite king’s voodoo. At the sight of this pagan king's protest sign (My prince my choice) the Isrealites failed to have faith in God.
Third, we must understand that the culture at large was given a new fervor to fight in the name of their earthly king. The sacrifice of the Moabite king gave the remaining garrison with him a desire to carry on. It is even possible that like Brick in Anchorman (Yeah! I stabbed a man in the heart…) there were “LOUD NOISES!” heard from beyond the walls. The moabites at the sight of the dead prince found validity in their king, his worldview, and strove forward. We must understand the culture at large loves sin, and they are spurred on by it.
Lastly, and to somewhat expound on the second, we must understand that this community of Isrealites did not trust in the LORD. In fact, it is possible some of them believed in the hocus-pocus power of Baal. Seeing the sacrifice of the son, they saw it as their demise. They did not trust in the power of the Word of God spoken through Elisha and instead ran in fear.
In close, we should not kid ourselves. There are many in our camp that are waging war against this culture. However, the question is one ever pressing. What weapons are being used? Four-wheelers and dream vacations will not speak as loudly as the power of even a pagan sacrifice. It is pretty simple -- The wicked pagan reality of infant sacrifice is more powerful to transfix and lead astray than the gospeletic powers of a four-wheel driven ministry model. No amount of good event planning will ever assuage the blood lust of a pagan culture that needs to drink it.
The Church needs to again (and unlike the faint hearted Isrealite culture warriors) come to the sobering reality that the Gospel must be preached. That it is the only hope for a dying world. There is no earthly gain or lottery wins that will ever be as powerful as a death cult willing to spill innocent blood. As Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”
We must believe that our “Red Wave” is more powerful than any sort of cultural reckoning that could be metered out. Our red wave is found in the cleansing flood of Jesus’ blood. It is only when we abide in that, that we will see our pagan culture turn from it’s sin and follow the LORD. We must look at Gog and Magog and confidently speak the truth of God’s word. No matter what.