Jul 6, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
This week marked the 244th birthday of the United States, but the way things look in some of our larger cities, anarchy may replace democracy before the year ends. Rioters still take to the streets with cries that they will burn down our cities if they don't get what they want. But will giving in to the demands resolve the issues? The answer is no. It just puts a different bully in the seat of power.
Are the actions taken by some of our authorities right and fair? No. Will the world ever be fair? No. Can you have a fair and just system in place while we struggle with race, gender identity, religion, social injustice, political ideology, and a host of other issues that plague us? Not while people are involved. Whoever is in power puts their spin on what is right, and the opposition will complain about injustice.
The framers of our constitution began an experiment in democracy that the world had never seen. It worked when we elected statemen more interested in the good of the whole than in their reelection and party politics. Unfortunately, over the last four or five decades, we failed to elect statesmen. We now choose between politicians who advance their careers instead of their communities. It happens on both sides of the aisle. Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all leave their state and federal posts significantly wealthier despite their meager salaries from those seats.
What is the answer to our dilemma? First, we need to become educated individually and as a nation. Few of our high school graduates can point to any given state on a map if asked to name them other than California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Many think Chicago is a state instead of a city. Many are confused when told Washington, DC is not a state and has no Senators. Most do not know how the House determines how many of its 435 seats each state and territory get. Most think the President spends tax money – he doesn't; he only approves the budget. The House is responsible for the budget, which they continue to handle poorly.
When we understand how a representative government works, and that real change comes through discourse and the ballot box, not from rioting in the street, change can be made. The thuggery that destroys private property only inflames those who would willing sit across a table from them, try to understand, and make real change. As long as violence seems the only answer, it will only receive violence in return.
We see the same thing happening in Jerusalem as Jesus proclaims a new way of perceiving God's kingdom. The Pharisees see violence against Rome as the way to find release from the Roman empire. Self-proclaimed messiahs had come before Jesus to lead revolts against the empire, and their tombs showed their failure.
Jesus came with a new message. His disciples declared him as Messiah. But then, his friends abandoned, denied, and betrayed him. He willingly gave himself to the unjust trial before the chief priest and the Sanhedrin. He endured the torture and cruel crucifixion of the Romans. He bled and died in the most excruciating and humiliating way men could die.
Not just in his trial and death, but throughout his ministry, many around him mocked him. His words in Matthew's Gospel show us how fickle protests like we see today can be:
'What picture shall I give you for this generation?' asked Jesus. 'It's like a bunch of children sitting in the town square, and singing songs to each other. This is how it goes:
You didn't dance when we played the flute,
you didn't cry when we sang the dirge!
'What do I mean? When John appeared, he didn't have any normal food or drink – and people said "What's got into him, then? Some demon?" Then along comes the son of man, eating and drinking normally, and people say, "Ooh, look at him – guzzling and boozing, hanging around with tax-collectors and other riff-raff." But, you know, wisdom is as wisdom does – and wisdom will be vindicated!' (Matthew 11:16-19 NTE)
That's what I see in the autonomous zones and the call to disband police in our country. No cops, then they cry about injustice when a murder happens in the zone and help doesn't come. Protesters were injuring innocent bystanders, then standing behind the police for protection from citizens who want revenge on the perpetrator. We are fickle. We don't stop to think. We fail to sit and listen to each other. Our politicians and especially our media, take the worst events and blow them out of proportion to enrage each side of any argument until no middle ground can exist.
We need to stop. We need to look to the cross. We need to remember a Savior came to show us how to love the unlovable. He died for us all to forgive and finally defeat sin and death and the grave. The kingdom of God came in the form of a human, King of kings. His power usurps all powers, not through violence, but love. His grace overshadows all injustice, not through overthrow, but servanthood.
Believing in Jesus as Messiah, God come to earth to deliver us, and following him results in his spirit residing in our hearts, directing our actions. Those actions will not end in violence against our neighbor but acts of love and kindness. Those actions will demonstrate the fruit of his spirit as Paul enumerates: "love, joy, peace, great-heartedness, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that opposes things like that!"
When we let his spirit work in and through us, our world will change. We can be part of its renewal. We can see "God's kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven." We can exercise his will wherever we might stand. And in doing so, we can hear the words Jesus prayed and his promise to those who struggle in this life. Listen to the prayer from Matthew:
At that time Jesus turned to God with this prayer: 'I give you my praise, father, Lord of heaven and earth! You hid these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to children! Yes, father, that's the way you decided to do it! My father gave me everything: nobody knows the son except the father, and nobody knows the father except the son – and anyone the son wants to reveal him to.
'Are you having a real struggle? Come to me! Are you carrying a big load on your back? Come to me – I'll give you a rest! Pick up my yoke and put it on; take lessons from me! My heart is gentle, not arrogant. You'll find the rest you deeply need. My yoke is easy to wear, my load is easy to bear.' (Matthew 11:25-30 NTE)
Do you want to rest from your struggle? Do you want help with your burden? Do you want real change to happen in your life? It won't change the world, yet. It might not change our country, yet. But it will change you when you give yourself to him. Today is the day of salvation. Call on his name and let him take the load, and he will give you rest.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NTE are taken from the NEW TESTAMENT FOR EVERYONE: Scripture are taken from The New Testament for Everyone are copyright © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.