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“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

Federal Judge Overturns CA Prop 8

August 4, 2010

News flash - a federal judge - one person - overruled the will of the people and struck down proposition 8, which passed with voter approval. Not surprising though, unfortunately.

Future news flash - the ruling will be appealed.

Future news flash - there will be a ruling on the appeal.

Future news flash - the appeal will be appealed, this time to the Supreme Court (of the United States).

Future news flash - the Supreme Court will rule on that appeal - even if it is by means of NOT even accepting the case, thereby upholding the ruling of the previous court.

Future news flash - in Heaven - the whole "gay rights" thing was decided thousands of years ago. That issue was tried, ruled on, and judgment passed way back in Genesis 19:1-29. No need to say anything more here. That's not my point anyway.

No - my point is how did we get here, where the majority of the people follow the will of God, the judges overturn the will of the people, and the leaders (kings, in Biblical terms) are appointing the judges who did it? And - what are we, as Christians, to do about this?

First - a little history lesson.

In the days before "judges", the last of the rulers of Israel that "knew God" was Joshua. Joshua's death is covered in Judges 2:7-10.

The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.

After Joshua - without that leader who knew God - there were problems - big problems, as told in Judges 2:11-15.

Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals. They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the LORD was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress.

So - did God leave the people like that? No. As events unfold in Judges 2:16-22.

Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD'S commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.”

Wow - so God gave the Israelites judges to lead them. And when the judges were alive - the people listened. But when the judges died, the people strayed again.

But look at what we have today - the majority of the people are trying to follow God - but the judges are the problem! How can that be?

Well - fast forward a bit - to the time of the kings.
Let's see how that came about - from 1 Samuel 8:1-5.

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

Interesting - dishonest judges - the people protest - instead of judges, the people want a king - "such as all the other nations have". Nothing wrong with that - is there? They don't want the dishonest judge - so they want something else.

Any problem with that? Well - maybe, according to 1 Samuel 8:6-9.

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

Uh-Oh. That sounds like a problem. They want a king, because they are rejecting God. So - it's possible to appear to want to follow God - without actually following Him. That's not exactly shocking news, if we are to be honest - and if we know what the Bible actually says - instead of trying to make it say what we want it to say.

But - it gets even worse at the end - because whether we choose to acknowledge it or not - God does know what's in our hearts - and He knows whether we are truly following Him or not. In verses 10-18, Samuel spells out that warning very clearly.

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

All of that sounds so bad - surely no one would want that to happen to them!

Especially not people who want to follow God - they'd be really worried about the part where it says the LORD will not answer you when you realize what you really got when you asked for a king. So - surely verses 19-22 must say the people realized their mistake and said they don't really want a king?

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”

OMG! they still want it - knowing full well what will happen to them - and knowing that God won't listen to them.

Or maybe they don't believe that God would actually do all those things that Samuel said?

Or maybe something else?
In the end - the only thing that really matters is that they were told - and they rejected God.

So - what does that mean for us today?

It makes me wonder - are we repeating history - going down the same paths as the Israelites in the OT? It should make all of us wonder.

In our case today - we have the "kings" - our representatives in government, up to and including the president. These "kings" appoint judges. All of them make the rules (laws) that we live by in the U.S.

When we vote - we pretty much know what we're going to get - if we pay attention to who we vote for, as opposed to just voting for the candidate in the "right" party - or the candidate that our favorite special interest group tells us to vote for - or even the candidate that our favorite movie star is pushing. Or maybe we don't bother to vote at all. In any case - the collective "we" get what we asked for - just as the Israelites did.

Some will say - wait - God raised up those judges and those kings He wouldn't raise up someone who does evil things to the people.

Sorry - but whether He actually raises them up - or allows them to come to power - if we truly believe that God is all powerful - then He did, at a minimum, allow them to gain power and control over "we the people".

There's a very interesting book - which I'm still reading - called Why Government Can't Save You, by Dr. John F. MacArthur, Jr. There is a portion of the book that talks about "The real battle". That's something I've come to realize the importance of more and more lately - recognizing the real battle - recognizing the real enemy. Following is part of that section:

We do grieve over the rampant indecency, vulgarity, unchastity, lack of courtesy and respect for others, deceitfulness, self-indulgent materialism, and violence that is corroding society. But in all of our efforts to support what is good and wholesome, reject what is evil and corrupt, and make a profoundly positive impact on our culture, we must use God’s methods and maintain scriptural priorities.

God simply is not calling us to wage a culture war that would seek to transform our countries into “Christian nations.” To devote all, or even most, of our time, energy, money, and strategy to putting a façade of morality on the world or the appearance of “rightness” over our governmental and political institutions is to badly misunderstand our roles as Christians in a spiritually lost world.

God has above all else called the church to bring sinful people to salvation through Jesus Christ. Even as the apostle Paul described his mission to unbelievers, so it is the primary task of all Christians to reach out to the lost “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]” (Acts 26:18; see also Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5, 9). If we do not evangelize the lost and make disciples of new converts, nothing else we do for people—no matter how beneficial it seems—is of any eternal consequence. Whether a person is an atheist or a theist, a criminal or a model citizen, sexually promiscuous and perverse or strictly moral and virtuous, a greedy materialist or a gracious philanthropist—if he does not have a saving relationship with Christ, he is going to hell. It makes no difference if an unsaved person is strongly proabortion or antiabortion, a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer, he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.

When we - as Christians - respond to the events of the world today, such as this one - we really need to keep this in mind. The battle isn't prop 8 - it isn't whether it's overturned or upheld - it's each and every soul that is potentially turned away from God - either by the result of the court ruling or because they are totally turned off to God because of the way we reacted.

This whole concept of why the government can't save you is most interesting.

It ties into the Inside the Revolution series as well - with the battle between the followers of Jihad, Jefferson, and Jesus.

So - as far as the "how did we get here" question - I invite you to review the verses above - read the whole book of Judges - and the books of Samuel (1 & 2) and Kings - and see if you see history repeating itself.

Looking to those times - and comparing them to now - isn't something that a lot of people like to do. It's not comfortable. Many professed Christians don't like to do it either.

No political party that I've seen is willing to do it. Even the religious right, with few exceptions, doesn't seem to do it - and none of the politically motivated ones do. They'll talk about God - but I haven't noticed anyone quoting any of the verses above and saying that we were warned.

But - I believe we were.

This has all happened before. And we have examples of how to deal with it as well.

Jesus taught us about the difference between Caesar and God - give to each what is due.

The Apostle Paul wrote about giving government its due.

There are Old Testament examples as well - such as Daniel.

But for this piece, I'm going to put in just one, from Matthew 10:16-20 -

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

“Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

That's not my words - it is God's Word.

Be shrewd, but innocent.

We are like a sheep.

But - God is always with us.

With that in mind - it is so important for us to always act like God is with us - pray - ask what He would have us to - and act accordingly. Some of what goes on in the name of Christianity - it's very hard to swallow.

God allows His people to come to Him - or to reject Him.

Who do we think we are that we can somehow legislate - coerce - force in any manner - behavior that will make people follow God's will - when God Himself doesn't do that? He didn't do it to us - and He's not doing it to anyone else. People must go to Him. We are supposed to be an instrument in that process. We need to seriously look at ourselves - and ask - are we allowing God to work through us - or are we preventing it - or are we actually working against Him?

It comes down to - as usual - the question of which god?

As Christians - we have already made that choice.

As Christians - we are also commanded to be a light - to bring others to Jesus - with God working through us.

There's certainly going to be a lot of protests on both sides of this issue - again - and again - and again - even after the U.S. Supreme Court appeal is made.

The real battle though - that's in the Ultimate Court - God's Court - where Jesus - The Lamb - is the Judge. The real battle is to bring people to Jesus - one person at a time. Since we have chosen our God - that battle should be our focus.