I was asked to participate in today's Election Day Prayer event that is being held downtown. It is put on by Southview Church and the Coalition, a conservative political group here in town. My segment of prayer is to focus on the topic of families. Here is what I plan to say...
As we bow our faces before you we acknowledge that a renewal in our country requires a renewal in our marriages and families. We know that we cannot have the former without first having repentance and reformation in the latter.
We confess that our nation is broken because our homes are broken. We suffer oppression from Pharaohs and Caesars because we have not first had godly mothers and fathers.
So we pray that you would grant us renewal at the grassroots level. May there be a reformation in our land, where we take to heart what it means to be united in the covenant of holy matrimony. May we begin to see that there is nothing more patriotic than the fidelity of a husband and his wife. May you grant us fathers and mothers who, instead of slaying their children, will instead love them and cherish them all their days. May these parents then take up their responsibility to train their children them in the fear of you and not further the decay of our country by handing them over to schools where atheism and relativism are the rule.
As we stand here today, we pray “God save the home.”
But yet, we know that as the king goes, so goes the nation. And for this reason we pray not just for a grassroots revival, but we also pray for our leaders and the policies that they make.
Lord, we ask that you would grant that those who would win out these elections would be restrained from instituting policies that further the destruction of marriage and family in our land. Instead, may they be made to do what is just and promote what is in accord with rule of King Jesus.
We pray that policies that strike against godliness would be revoked. You know how our nation permits (and even encourages) things like divorce, sodomy, and abortion. Moreover, our leaders continue to wrap the chains of debt around us. They oppress our families with heavy taxation. They rip apart families with their welfare programs. All this leads only to death at every level.
So we pray, like our forefather’s before us “God save the king.”
Finally, We pray “God save the church.” Where is the light to be found for our families? It is not in the pure preaching of your word and in the revelation of Biblical Truth. Father, we know that families will only rise out of the ashes when you unleash the gospel and unveil the fullness of its saving power. So we pray that you would raise up godly men to preach your word and send them throughout our nation as heralds of Your eternal kingdom.
All this we pray in the strong name of our King and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
T'was but a while ago that I had a discussion with an atheist friend about Exodus 21:7-11. The conversation began with his mocking God and the text as it was about a man who sells his daughter into slavery.
He posited that it was a perverted thing for a father to sell his daughter off for sex. However, his thought system is what is actually perverted,because the text doesn't imply pimping one's daughter. That is read into the text from one's own imagination!
It doesn't take much to understand the nature and import of what is communicated in these words. Here is a man who has been brought into dire straits and has no means of providing for his family. He has two choices, seek their best interest & care or let them die. Obviously, the one choice is much more preferable.
Now, to whom would you sell your daughter? Would you sell her to a slimey fellow who only wants a sex toy? Likely not.
But let's say you know of a young man who has grown up in the local synagogue with you who is able to marry her. He is a godly man with a good income and he is willing to take her to be his wife. This man offers to buy her (or, what we would today call "pay her dowry"). Now, not only have you secured your daughter's best interests, but you now have a chunk of cash whereby you can begin to provide for your own household again.
The rest of the text (Exodus 21:8-11) goes on to secure the girl's welfare and offer her protection from being anywise mistreated. She is to be treated as a daughter if she is given to his son. If he finds that the woman is not pleasing, she is to be redeemed. If she can't be redeemed, he's still obligated to provide for her and see to her sustenance.
So, you see, God's word has given guidance the proves beneficial for all parties involved: The girl got a home, the man got a wife, the poor family got some financial standing.
But let's turn around and talk about atheism...
We began this article with the mockery of an atheist. We've already shown his stupidity and perverted inclination. We can go on to show that his worldview actually supports the very thing that he found repulsive.
In atheism, what prevents someone from being sold as a slave? We buy and sell tomatoes at the market. Man, according to atheism, is not really substantially different than a tomato. Evolution says that both are accidents and random products of chance. It's just some germs became tomatoes and some germs became humans.
And, if our atheist is going to be consistent, who cares if you rape a girl? It's just molecules bumping into molecules. There is no absolute standard by which to measure morality, and therefore no one can say that rape is wrong.
Moreover, since man has no inherent dignity and there is no objective moral standard, the man who is in dire straits can just go ahead and starve his family. Better yet, the atheist can just shoot them and put them out of their misery! Then he can sell them off and have them butchered. In the end he has not just a boatload of money but also a year's supply of meat to eat packed away in his freezer!
I think you would agree that the Lord's way is a lot more humane. Thank God for the guidance of His Law!
I’m preaching on 1 Peter 2.18f this week, a passage that talks about servants submitting to their masters. Such passages make you wonder about the ethical questions regarding slavery. I thought I would lay out some of the thoughts I’ve had this week regarding it. This is by no means meant to endorse slavery outright or even meant to be an exhaustive study. I merely put these thoughts out as some clarification.
In the Bible…
I. Forced slavery is absolutely wrong, except in the case of prisoners of war or the purchase of foreign slaves
The Bible sates in several places that it is illegal to compel someone to be their slave. For instance, in Deut. 24 it condemns this practice. It says that if someone is found stealing one of his brothers and forcing him to be his slave or selling him off as a slave, then he is to be put to death! Death mind you. This was a capital offense!
I want to make this clear because the issue of slavery is one of those things that is bandied about by anyone and everyone who is critical of the Bible. Someone will inevitably say that “The Bible allows slavery!” And they will make great cries of how terrible such a thing is. But look here. Forcing someone to become your slave was a crime punishable by death. To say that the Bible permits slavery in this capacity is simply wrongheaded.
The Apostle Paul is clear about this too. In 1 Timothy 1 he lists enslavers (i.e. those who kidnap and force people into slavery) among the types of murderers, perjurers and the sexually immoral. Hardly could it be said that Paul tolerated form of slavery.
Now, having said that, let me say that the Bible does tolerate the enslavement of foreigners. But when you think about the implications, you’ll realize that this was still not slavery as we may originally think of it. First, prisoners of war were permitted to be forced labor. Now what exactly are you supposed to do with people who attack you and you capture. You could let them go, but chances are they’ll be back to attack you again. Another thing you could do is kill them. I think that you will agree that putting them to work is a bit more humane.
Finally, foreign slaves could be bought by Israelites and made to work for them. Now, we don’t have any evidence of this happening, so we don’t know if it did happen. But let’s think together. Would you rather be a slave in Syria or Israel? Would it be better to be a slave in a pagan country where you were simply property to be battered and beat, or would it be better to be a slave in a country where your personal dignity would be regarded with the utmost respect? I submit to you that this kind of slavery was an act of mercy. I think this will become clearer in a few minutes too. So let me move on to the next item.
I just said that in most cases, forced slavery is wrong. But the Scripture says…
II. Slavery may be permitted on a voluntary basis.
In the Old Testament you could, by your own volition, become soemone’s slave. This was a means of survival in those days. If you could not provide for yourself—if you had become impoverished and had no means by which to live—you could give yourself as a slave to another person. And in doing so, you could be saved from your utter destitution.
Again, no one could force you to do this. Someone couldn’t come along and compel you to be their slave. That would be what we call man stealing or kidnapping, and the Bible is clear in its denunciation of that in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
For it to be legal, slavery had to be voluntary. You had to come into it willingly and express your own personal desire to enter into that mode of living.
And this leads to the next item regarding slavery.
III. Biblical slavery was only to be for a limited amount of time.
It was never for life (unless you wanted it to be). There were a number of ways to be freed, most notably at the end of a 7 year cycle. To be sure, it wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Even if you worked all seven years, it wasn’t a long time.
IV. In any case, slaves were to be treated with the utmost respect
The slaves ought to be treated with the utmost respect. You are never allowed to violate their personal dignity. There is nothing in the Scriptures that permits men and women even in bondage to be denigrated or treated with the least disrepute. They always have to be cared for with fatherly affection and given the best possible means for their livelihood.
In this sense, a slave would be much like an employee that we would understand today. He might not make money, but at the very least he is giving his life and work in exchange for the basic provisions of life (i.e. protection, shelter, and food, perhaps also medical assistance and other physical cares).
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