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Biblical times

November 9, 2013

[J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense. Listen live every weekend on Renegade Radio, KRNG 101.3 FM Reno.]

Herman Cain was in the news last week. Remember him? He was, for a few wonderful weeks in 2011, the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States of America. Then, in what seemed an unbelievable coincidence, three different accusations of sexual impropriety were slung at Mr. Cain from three different women.

When the drive-by lynching from the media was through and Herman Cain's reputation sufficiently destroyed, all three women quickly clammed up and disappeared from the public eye.

It broke my heart when Cain dropped out of the race—not just because he was the most intelligent, most philosophically sound, and most viable candidate. It broke my heart for what it meant to the political process. Like they did with Sarah Palin four years earlier, the establishment politicians in Washington—some of them Republicans, mind you—combined with the mainstream media to destroy a person whose appeal to ordinary Americans threatened their privileged existence.

The battle between good and evil never ends, but suddenly that battle is out in the open, no disguises needed, because people are losing their ability to recognize evil when they see it.

When Americans today read the Old Testament, too many of us dismiss the stories as being from "Biblical Times," a term which implies that man's wickedness and God's wrath are inconveniences of the past. But look around and compare the sins described in the Bible with the sins of modern America. The similarities are eerie and frightening. Adam & Eve, Noah's Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, even Moses—these stories remind us that God will judge.

And punish.

Adam and Eve broke the only commandment they were given by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Their sin wasn't acquiring knowledge, it was disobedience. It was legalizing and temporizing about a commandment from God. Gee, where do we see that today? Never mind the epicenter for legalizing and temporizing—Washington, D.C.—the various denominations of the Christian Church do enough legalizing and temporizing to make every serpent in the Garden of Eden swell to bursting with satisfaction.

By Noah's time God was so disappointed by the sinfulness of man that He decided to destroy life on Earth. The Bible isn't specific about what sins were being committed but here is Genesis, Chapter 6, Verse 5:
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Apparently people's imaginations were consumed by wicked thoughts. Remind anybody of Hollywood? The video game market? The pornography that gobbles up 30% of the bandwidth on the Internet?

Sodom and Gomorrah is the archetypal example of Old Testament wrath of God. With this story the Bible gets more specific about the sins being committed. God sent two angels to investigate, looking for ten righteous people so the cities might be spared, and the men of Sodom tried to rape them. Lot, who was ultimately spared by God, tried to protect the angels by offering the men his own two virgin daughters instead, but the men of Sodom, being perverts, weren't interested. They wanted those angels disguised as men.

Not much doubt about what kind of wickedness was happening in Sodom, regardless of whatever legalizing and temporizing one might do in 2013. By the way, with the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the military is experiencing a surge in male-on-male sexual assaults. Did you know that?

Moses led his people out of slavery and through the desert to the Promised Land but after forty years of difficult leadership, on the cusp of everything God had promised the people of Israel, Moses was not allowed to enter. His sin was taking credit for God's work. When he smote a rock to bring forth water, because of frustration from the complaints he was getting he made it seem that it was his power rather than God's. For that one single transgression he was refused entry into the Promised Land.

The sin of pride. Co-opting God's work as his own.

When you see a young man starring in a football game this weekend, who gets interviewed afterward and gives credit to God, that's a young man who knows the story of Moses. Watching politicians assign credit for the superpower status of the United States to anything and everything other than God, which happens daily, we are fools if we don't remember what happened to Moses.

As a nation we are guilty of forgetting the glory of God and assigning the credit for our greatness to irrelevant things—political structure, cultural diversity, manfiest destiny, hard work, etc. With that attitude, we shouldn't be surprised if we experience the same fate as Moses and die on the cusp of the promised land.

Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday this past Thursday and gave a presentation that is being called his final sermon. The part that sticks with me is when he expressed concern about the direction of America:
"Our country's in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I've wept as I've gone from city to city and I've seen how far people have wandered from God."
Sound familiar? Like Adam & Eve, like Noah, like Lot, like Moses, we, too, live in Biblical Times.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

"Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning." — King Solomon

"Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's Chosen People, Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah, Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world, and Mormons do not recognize each other at the liquor store." — Helen Trautman

From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

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