Study from God’s Word… Isaiah, Chapters 10 – 12: 6; 2Kgs 16: 5-6 [2Chron 28: 5-8]; 2Chron 28: 9-21 … Passage for Reflection: Isaiah 10: 5 … NIV Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of My anger, in whose hand is the club of My wrath.
My Journal for Today: Not too long ago a man, claiming to be acting as God’s agent, went into a church and shot a physician, Dr. George Tiller, who was an avowed abortionist. The murderer’s claim was that he was acting as a protector of the unborn and acting on charge of God to take the abortionist’s life; and the fact that all of this happened in a “Christian” church made the scenario all that more bizarre. And this was actually the second time someone had tried to take Tiller’s life, the first time being an unsuccessful attempt at murder.
What do we think about when such things occur; and this is not the first time that a man, claiming to be “christian” acts with violence to take the life of one who is reported to be in the abortion industry. As “Christians,” do we have the right to take the life of another person, thinking somehow that “the ends justify the means?” You’ll notice above that I used the term “murderer” to describe the man who shot George Tiller. Thankfully, I think few would say that we, as citizens of this world, have the “right” to take the life of another person, even one we feel is a murderer himself. And most of us, including yours truly, would call it “murder” if anyone tries to take the life of another, thinking that he/she is acting on behalf of the unborn. Some of us, who are old enough to remember the horror of events surrounding the assassination of JFK, may have been relieved when we heard that Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin of the President; but we still thought of Jack Ruby as a “murderer,” who had no right to take Oswald’s life.
But then, how do we deal with what God has done in the past, such as in today’s devotional study, to use the hands of overt non-believers to strike out – in the Lord’s anger – at the children of God. In Isaiah 10 – 12 we read of God allowing Assyria to be His agent of anger; but then the Lord turns around and takes it out on the Assyrians because they acted pridefully and willfully to take those in Israel and Judah captive. So, how do we (you) deal with that? How do we personalize that? How do we make a spiritual imperative or generalization out of such actions where God is obviously allowing evil people to prevail over His own chosen and to overtly punish the evil for which His children have been involved?
And I think the answer is … WE DON’T! When we see that God is being God and He chooses to take action against evil, I believe we cannot generalize that to our own choices. In other words, again there is a larger principle at work here; and it’s wrapped up in the statement of truth that … ”GOD IS GOD; and we are not!!”
My friends, there are just some things … some decisions … and some actions man cannot presuppose to have clarity on when it comes to making decisions which seem to go against the grain of Godliness. And this can be tough at times; because many people have become conscientious objectors because they could not abide taking a life in war – even a war that was generally felt to be a “just war.” However, there are others who somehow felt that going to war for just causes was ordained by their ability to choose such an action, making what they felt to be Godly choices. For these Christians, taking a life in such warfare was not going against God’s commandment against “murder.” But it’s still an ethical dilemma, isn’t it?
Such ethical decision making can stretch us to the limits of our faith at times; but these are the tests which help define our character and allow us to stand for righteousness when such choices are required without breaching God’s prerogatives in life. Sometimes, trying to follow what Christ would do might help us; because Jesus came, not only to save us from our sinfulness, but to model sinless decision-making. So, trying to be a “WWJD” Christian can be a good strategy for ethical decision making when the choices become difficult.
But above all, we need to leave some actions in God’s hands, letting God be God because we are not.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be Your agent of change and to avoid trying to be You to the world. Amen