Perilous Times Primer #22 - What Difference Can One Person Make?
What Difference Can One Person Make?
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”PSA 11:3
Today, I see many who are asking, in essence, this very question. There is no doubt that the foundations of our nation and our society are being actively destroyed. In the name of “transforming” America, our President and his backers are using every level of government to alter this nation as we know it. Make no mistake about this, they do not love the America that has been the greatest experiment in freedom the world has ever known.
From their denial of the essence of the Declaration of Independence (insisting instead that rights come from government, not God), to the violation of our Constitution at every level, to the use and abuse of every arm of government to slowly shackle true America—while at the same time carrying on a massive transfer of wealth to those who are happy to live as wards of the State—they are actively engaged in corrupt and criminal activities that amount to nothing less than treason.
The average American (and sadly many believers), assaulted on every side by anti-God, anti-liberty, and anti-American sentiment (they are not all synonymous), desperately throws up his hands and says, “What can one person do?” This is either a pitiful display of abandonment of the courage of our founders or—much worse—a lack of faith in the truth and the power of Almighty God.
The Truth and the Lie
Recently, at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which is hosted by the United States Congress, our President stood before a large gathering of “evangelical” pastors, leaders, and international guests, and essentially stated the moral equivalence between ISIS and the Crusaders. Not one pastor or congressman had the boldness to stand up and call out this monstrous lie for what it is. It is this lack of spiritual boldness that is the greatest cause of decline in America and the West!
To make it worse, seated by the President, as his guest, was Ali Ahmed Karti, foreign minister of Sudan, which is listed as an official State Sponsor of Terrorism, and whose President, Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity! It is believed that in his rush to normalize relations with Iran and Cuba, President Obama wants to include Sudan.
This idea that “atrocities have also been committed in the Name of Christ” is straight out of the Islamic talking points. In fact, by the time of the Crusades, Europe had been under constant attack by the jihad armies of Islam. These brutal incursions continued from the tenth to the 17th century, when the Battle of Vienna took place.
In 1683, the Muslim armies confronted the City of Vienna. The goal was to destroy the city and drive on to capture Rome. On September 11 of that year, it appeared that Vienna could no longer hold out against the jihadist forces. Then, unexpectedly, King Jan Sobieski of Poland arrived with a force of 23,000 skilled fighters. Though still outnumbered, by his bold strategy and the skill of his fighters, the city was delivered on September 12. Those in Islam continue to celebrate September 11 because, in 1683, it marked the height of power for the Ottoman Empire.
In other words, the Crusades and all that followed were desperate attempts to stop the spread of Islamic jihad throughout Europe, and to regain access to the holy sites of Jerusalem in order to protect them from ongoing destruction.
In Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Clichés, he quotes historian Thomas Madden as saying, “Now put this down in your notebook, because it will be on the test: the Crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were the West’s belated response to the Muslim conquest of fully two-thirds of the Christian world.”
Today, the jihadis all around the world point to the Crusades as the justification for their savage and barbaric actions. Even the United Nations has now been forced to acknowledge that children are being buried alive, crucified, beheaded, and used as slaves by the depraved members of ISIS. Where are the moderate Muslims now?
Just over a month ago, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in his New Year’s speech, called for a “religious revolution” in Islam. He called on Muslim leaders and imams to join him in denouncing and fighting against Islamic extremism. What was the worldwide response? You could hear crickets from the media—who ignored it. From the Islamic world came a barrage of calls for his ouster—and even death threats.
The great lie of our age is that we, first of all Christians and then Americans, and not to exclude the Israelis, are to blame for the rise and spread of radical Islam. This lie is believed and propagated by the President of the United States! This great lie will continue to grow in acceptance until it leads the entire world into the ultimate lie. Those who cave to the pressure and accommodate the atrocities of radical Islam will, in the end, believe that Islam is the truth and Christ is the lie (see 2TH 2:11-12). The world is fast coming to the place where one will have to choose either Jesus Christ—who came to die for the guilty—or Islam, which demands the slaughter of innocents. There will be no middle ground!
I often hear believers, even pastors, who point to PSA 11:3 as evidence that there is nothing we as individuals can do to change things, because “the foundations” have been destroyed. However, careful consideration of the passage reveals that it is not David who is making the statement. Rather, it is the voice of the mocker of his faith, who begins his tirade with the words, “Flee as a bird to your mountain” (PSA 11:1). He then ends by saying, in scornful mockery “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Thus, he implies the helplessness and insignificance of the individual believer in the face of a generation of evil workers.
However, note that David does not accept the premise that “the foundations are destroyed,” because “the LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven” (PSA 11:4). Here is the only foundation as far as David is concerned, and it will never be shaken. David completes the Psalm with the assurance of God’s righteous judgment on the wicked, and His deliverance and vindication of the righteous (PSA 11:5-7). Without this conviction, we lack any basis for courage or boldness of action in this present evil generation. But if our life is rooted in God and His Word, there will never be a question of what one person can do, providing that person is a believer acting in boldness of faith.
What Can We Do?
There are five things I believe we must boldly engage in if we are to make a difference in this age. Remember that our goal is not to change the outcome, which is ordained by God, but to play the role of courageous faith in the midst of these dark days:
1. Pray effectively.
We pray too much for ourselves. How often do you actually take the time to pray diligently for those who are being imprisoned, tortured, slaughtered, abused, and made fugitives? Does their plight intrude into our busy schedule? Are their needs foremost on our minds when we go to the throne of grace? As part of the Body of Christ, we have a spiritual obligation to labor in prayer on their behalf (HEB 13:3).
2. Arm yourself.
We have been provided with a spiritual arsenal (EPH 6:10-18) which we are to put on, not for the purpose of a parade, but for engaging the enemy in fierce combat. If we were not meant to fight, we would not have so many figures in the New Testament of the Christian warrior. Over forty times, the Apostle Paul adopts the language of the Roman legions to portray the spiritual struggle we are engaged in.
One pastor who attended the recent prayer breakfast made the statement to the effect that nothing in the New Testament justifies fighting back against radical Islam. This is the height of ignorance. We are commanded “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (ROM 12:21). Sometimes evil can be overcome by kindness. Other times, when evil brutally attacks, it can only be overcome by a good and righteous counterattack, by an armed and resolute defender of the good. Our spiritual armor is for when “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (EPH 6:12). When our enemy is an army of savage degenerates, we fight with both spiritual armor and with an AR-15!
3. Warn the erring.
It is a wearisome task to keep “speaking the truth in love” (EPH 4:15) to those who are “dull of hearing” (HEB 5:11), especially in the household of faith. Yet, we are not excused from the responsibility to do it. To warn those in error is just as essential as to “comfort the fainthearted” and to “uphold the weak” (1TH 5:14). As Thomas Paine said, these are “times that try men’s souls” and many will follow, if only they can find a bold leader.
4. Speak out boldly.
Our voices may indeed be lost in the uproar of popular opinion and political correctness. Yet we must use that voice. If we truly believe, then we are required to speak (2CO 4:13), whether it is popular or not. If the truth is never presented, then the lie fills the vacuum. In so many public gatherings (such as the National Prayer Breakfast), we hear evil and ignorant statements made that are never challenged. Because they are not challenged, everyone who hears them repeats them without fear of contradiction. How I wish one bold pastor had taken his stand at that breakfast and said, “Sir, your statement is an outrage. Not only are you incorrect historically, you are speaking from moral bankruptcy. Furthermore, in saying what you have just said, you have become a spokesman and an apologist for the atrocities of these fiendish savages!” Wouldn’t that have livened things up?
Instead, our President was applauded politely by men who knew better.
5. Stand against evil.
Logically, to speak against evil is to take a stand against it. First, we must have the courage to speak clearly. Only then will we be able to act boldly. One way to do this is to give graciously to organizations that rescue persecuted Christians like Samaritan’s Purse (Franklin Graham, Samaritanspurse.org), Walid Shoebat’s Forum for Middle East Understanding (Shoebat.com), or Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), all of which work to aid believers in persecuted countries. You can designate your gift for rescuing Christians under affliction.
If we do not begin to act with holy defiance of the growing corruption and criminality of our own out-of-control government, how will we ever stand up to the devilish brutality of the scourge of Islamic jihadism? I have no time for self-styled spiritual leaders who proclaim “Jesus is Lord,” but would passively stand by and watch the unspeakable acts of barbarism being perpetrated on women and children throughout the world.
In the seventeenth chapter of First Samuel, we find a parallel to our own times. King Saul, an arrogant, narcissistic, and tyrannical leader, was finally exposed to the nation as a blowhard and a coward. Faced with the armies of the mighty Philistines and directly challenged by the giant Goliath, he and his army fled in fear and trembled in their tents. Sound familiar?
Then onto the stage of Israel’s history stepped the young shepherd David—not a boy, but a tough young man who had been hardened and prepared in the wilderness by God for “such a time as this” (EST 4:14). Truly, the foundations of Israel had been systematically destroyed by the evils of King Saul, who sought the “fundamental transformation” of his nation, only to be confronted with the stubborn fact of unbending reality. How easy it would have been for David to say, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Instead he said, “My foundation stands sure in the living God of Israel, and I will show you what one man can do!” David met the challenge with five stones and a sling, the fear of God, and the flame of his faith. This is the heritage of every child of God. How we need to reclaim our lost courage and conviction!
We are now in the opening stages of a long battle that will rage unabated until the triumphant return of Jesus Christ to Earth. He will deal with this enemy in the only godly way—He will exterminate them from the face of the earth. It is pure foolishness to presume that we need not consider what course to take against the evil of our day because we will be rescued by the Rapture of the Church. The Church is already being persecuted around the globe to a degree never before witnessed in history. I do not believe God will play favorites, but rather, we all will have our taste of “the sufferings of Christ” (2CO 1:5; 1PE 1:11, see also PHI 3:10) before this is over.
How we will fare at that time is being determined by our faith and actions each and every day!
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”PRO 24:10
“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?”JER 12:5
May God grant that the warrior spirit of David might live again in us!