Jump Start # 2713
Psalms 14:1 “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.”
I was reading a book the other day that was describing the religious climate in America in the early 1820’s. There was an atmosphere ripe for religious awakening and a desire to return to God’s word. Skepticism was not popular or accepted by most folks. In fact, many states had laws that excluded atheists from running for public office or serving on juries. Most unbelievers kept their views to themselves for fear of ostracism and a loss of reputation. Boy, the times have certainly changed. Today, borrowing from our verse, the fool not only says in his heart, but he says it in a college classroom, a social media post, and in print, that there is no God.
Some thoughts for us:
First, things will not swing back the other way. Culture has a way of walking deeper and deeper into the woods and rarely, if ever, does it return. There may be laws banning prayers and confession of faith, but we won’t see laws excluding atheists from public office. Likewise, when the prohibition laws outlawing alcohol in this country were revoked, we will not return back to those laws. Alcohol is a mega-billion dollar business in this country. Alcohol is everywhere and it’s not going away. The descent of our morals and faith is quick generally one way. However, the atmosphere of darkness often leads to periods of great awakening spiritually. The mid-1800’s saw the rise of the American Restoration Movement. It spread from sea to sea. More and more people got back to the Bible and the pattern God had established. Did the laws return to atheists unable to hold public office? No. The laws didn’t swing back, but many hearts did.
Second, as much as we might want to outlaw atheism and restrict false religions, that leads to a state run religion and that generally invites corruption, suppression, and persecution. State run religions are great if they favor the religion you hold. But when they don’t, you become an outlaw to the state and trouble follows. The decades leading up to the reformation movement in Europe well illustrate this. England swung back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism. And, with each swing came violence, persecution and forcing people to bow to something they didn’t believe in. Christianity springs from the hearts of believers, not from the laws of the government. Reform comes individually as people turn to Christ. Our hope is not in new laws being passed but in hearts that are touched by the Gospel.
Third, because the fool says there is no God, doesn’t mean it is so. The fool can say many things. The fool is alive and well today. He is speaking all kinds of falsehoods. Some of the common things the fool says is the suffering of the innocent is validation that there is no God. A good God would not allow the innocent to suffer. But in saying that, the fool doesn’t understand suffering, nor does he understand that this world is broken. He wants a utopia where only the bad guys have trouble and everyone else just gets along fine. This isn’t Heaven and since Genesis 3, the consequences of sin has been turmoil, trouble and pain. This world is not fair and it hasn’t been fair for a long, long time. A thorough study of God’s word would explain these things and even show us that there are some upside benefits to suffering. But the fool will never see this. He has no interest in reading the Bible. His mind is closed and he is convinced, even though all around him God is putting evidence before his eyes.
Fourth, the fool can be very loud and aggressive in his outspoken remarks about God. He has a seat in government. He has a place with the national media. He is invited to teach in the universities. He seems to be everywhere, but he is not. Because he is so loud and aggressive, it is easy to assume that there are more fools than righteous. It is easy to believe that the fool is winning in this battle of life. But don’t be like Elijah. Get out of your cave and realize that there are thousands world wide who have not and will not bow their knee to Baal. Those simple disciples are living quiet lives and doing their best to make a difference. They are not loud. They are not aggressive. They find a greater calling than filling the seat of government. They are raising a generation of new believers. They stand behind the pulpit every Sunday, pouring their hearts out. They believe in something greater than themselves. They cannot be bought, nor will they compromise. These are the people of God. And, while the fool mocks them, discriminates against them and wants the world to believe that their number is so small that they are even worth thinking about, the army of Heaven knows better. These people stand with God. And, just as the righteous stood with the Lord against the Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Romans, the people of God today stand against the fool of our times.
Our laws allow a fool to be a fool and many gladly take that banner up. They will drink up. They will swear up. They will laugh up. They will dance with Satan himself, but never, oh never would they ever be caught honoring the God that loves them and made them. The world is moving quickly to an eternity without God. The righteous continue on with Christ. The future is brighter, better and bigger with Jesus.
Onward, Christian Soldier…more than a song, a call to motivate us, remind us, and keep us moving forward.