In Proverbs 10:25 we find Solomon's timely caution that "As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more, but the righteous has an everlasting foundation." Commenting on this particular verse, Jewish Hebrew scholar Michael V. Fox writes: "This gale hits everyone, not just the wicked. Thus it represents whatever crisis or disaster befalls a society, not a punishment for a particular sin. The righteous hold firm, while the wicked are swept away."
In the eternal dimension no storm can remove the righteous, for they have a permanent and lasting foundation.
In this context it must be understood that we do not become "righteous" by what we do, but by virtue of our position in Christ. The "righteous" gain such lofty position through grace, having been predestined for "adoption as sons to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will," as Paul the apostle informed the believers in Ephesus (Eph. 1:5).
In Proverbs 11:9 Solomon speaks of the redeeming quality of knowledge, or understanding, wisdom, good sense or discernment. "The proverb," writes Fox, "does not say that God intervenes to deliver the righteous miraculously but that they are protected by 'knowledge' (da'at), which is to say, their wisdom. The proverb assumes that the righteous, being wise, have the mental resources to get themselves out of trouble."
As Gideons and Rahabs begin entering the public square, they will be recognized as those who have sought wisdom, submitting themselves to its teachings and so procuring thorough knowledge of His Word, according to Bruce K. Waltke.
"Then out of that understanding," as R. Dennis Cole explains in his commentary on Numbers, "that person may speak for Him a message of forgiveness and love and/or judgment and justice in a given situation."
With this in mind, we call attention to The Christian Post headline, "Mike Pence encourages Americans to pray, keep donating to church."
To "keep donating to the church" in 21st-century America seems a somewhat dubious message, particularly in connection to what has happened to the once Judeo-Christian and biblically based culture laid down by the Founders in the 17th to 19th centuries. Based upon Scripture, a more tenable message to the church might be: 1) return prayer to America's churches, 2) return to making disciples instead of converts or 3) reestablish the ekklesia: Jesus' kingdom assignment delivered in Matthew 16:18.
In his book Ekklesia, Joe Nicola says:
"Like 'apostle,' ekklesia is a name that describes a function. Ekklesia is not the Kingdom of Heaven; it is the government of the Kingdom of Heaven. Ekklesia describes the function of that government.
"We moved from apostolic leadership to pastoral leadership. We went from developing an army of leaders to merely feeding flocks of sheep.
"We have based our success on how my business/church is doing and not how the city or region that we have been called to is doing. We fail to assess the most critical judgment to our existence: is my city or region looking more like the Kingdom of Heaven or the domain of darkness?
"Any casual observer of Christianity will immediately recognize the disparity between what Jesus said He would build and the modern church."
Our goal is to reestablish Jesus' ekklesia, His kingdom assignment, in America's public square; a goal that cannot be reached by disparaging local pastors. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit," it says in Romans 8:1.
What's happening in America is spiritual.
During the Second Temple period, the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, the city a pile of rubble and the church in total apostasy.
World Challenge describes it this way:
"How did God respond in such a time of ruin? Did he send a well-trained militia to help them? Did he send a palace guard to smite their prominent enemies? No, God raised up [a layman] - Nehemiah - who spent his time praying, fasting and mourning, because he was broken over Israel's condition."
Nehemiah had to deal with demonic hostility and antagonism to his attempt to rebuild the country. Nehemiah 6:1-7 recounts the story how Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem the Arabian sent Nehemiah four invitations to meet in the plain of Ono, about 27 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Their goal was to lure him to his death. Understanding their real intentions, Nehemiah let them four times know that he couldn't come because he couldn't cease the great work he was doing in building the wall. When Sanballat, however, sent his servant for the fifth time, a simple "what part of NO don't you understand?" might have been sufficient.
Things got a little tricky spiritually for Nehemiah. Sanballat and Tobiah dropped by the "Hire-a-prophet" outlet and signed up Shemaiah. In verse 10, Shemaiah says to Nehemiah: "Let us meet together at the house of God, inside the temple, and then we can shut the temple doors. They are coming to kill you! Even tonight, they could come to kill you!" But in verse 12, Nehemiah "perceived and saw that God had not sent him, but that he [Shemaiah] pronounced the prophecy against me, because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him."
With Hillary Clinton losing against all odds her bid for the presidency in 2016, Christians narrowly escaped disaster. Even so, we have now entered a period more intricate and challenging than we were in during the "roaring lion" Obama era with its overt intimidation. The subtle serpent of deceit and subterfuge has shown its distinctive venomous marks in episodes such as Russian collusion, impeachment, Ukraine and now the pandemic of viral panic. Fearmongers sowing panic, election-meddlers aiming to widen social fissures to subvert democracy and authoritarian regime secularists vying for control of the public square are the order of the current day.
Failing to report facts, the mass media opt for pushing their agenda. Watch here.
This crisis presents an opportunity.
Democrat Majority Whip James Clyburn (South Carolina) said as much, telling caucus members that the coronavirus bill is "a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision."
Thanks be to God that Gideons and Rahabs, fitted to counteract the venomous effects, are beginning to enter the public square.
David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.
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