by Tom Wacaster
There is an interesting verse in the 94th Psalm which adequately describes the way a number of people think. The verse reads, "Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by statute?" (verse 20). The context of the Psalm is a consideration of the wicked and their foolish opposition to God. But these were not just your run-of-the-mill participants in evil. The Psalmist was not writing to the "heathen,” but to those who should have known better. Those to whom the Psalmist wrote were God’s chosen people. They had, somewhere along the way, cast off all restraint, reaching a point in their downward plunge into apostasy that was characteristic of the "nations” about them. Arrogant and proud, they actually boasted themselves in their iniquity. There was little regard for life. They despised their heritage. The widow and fatherless were a nuisance, so much so that they thought it advantageous to slay and murder those less fortunate than themselves. Injustice was the order of the day. The widow, sojourner, and the fatherless were imperiled (verse 6). And just about the time one would think they could go no lower, the writer informs us that "they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it” (verse 12).
Could it be that Israel had arrived at this point in time where they regarded the God of heaven as nothing more than the "God of Jacob.” Was He not their God as well? Oh, how the mighty had fallen. According to verse 20, the "throne” itself had become corrupt. The leadership was corrupt from its head to its toe. The Psalmist seeks to remind the people that God does not have fellowship with such a corrupt nation. But what is shocking about all of this is the fact that this corrupt nation had actually passed certain statutes which "legalized” their mischief. What a perverse way of thinking. It is the kind of thinking that says human law overrides God’s law; that man is in a better position to determine right and wrong than is the Almighty; that a mere stroke of the pen can turn that which is wicked into that which is right! Israel needed to be reminded that such a "throne of wickedness” stands squarely against God! They will NOT have His blessings!
Oh how our beloved nation needs to hear this lesson. In the last 100 years we have seen the legalization of drinking, the sale of alcohol, para-mutual betting, abortion on demand, homosexual rights, the lottery, casino halls, houses of ill repute, etc. Now politicians clamor for legalization of drugs, homosexuals in the military and homosexual marriages, and the "Freedom of Choice Act” (making it completely legal to kill children still in the womb). The philosophy seems to be, "If we can just get it on the books, ratify it by the States, and get it signed by the President, it is right and acceptable.” Have we become so foolish as to think that God does not see or hear?
If you are not aware of what occurred on Wednesday night of the Democratic Convention in Charlotte , N.C. let me provide you with a summation from Catholicculture.org regarding God and the platform of the DNC:
In drafting the original platform, Democratic leaders had removed references to God (and to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel). They didn’t merely forget to mention God; in updating previous party platforms, they made a conscious decision to remove Him (emphasis mine, T.W.). When that decision was brought to the attention of ordinary American voters, outside the orbit of the Democratic Party apparatchiks, it was unpopular. It didn’t play in Peoria. Belatedly, the Democratic leaders realized that they should put God back in the picture. So an amendment to the platform was place on the convention’s agenda. And here’s where things get interesting: That amendment was controversial! Quite a few delegates opposed the mention of God. Some, no doubt, were primarily concerned about the mention of Jerusalem. Party leaders might have simplified matters by introducing two separate amendments: one to restore a mention of God, the other to name Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But that tactic would not have suited the purposes of the party strategists. They didn’t want an open debate on God (or on Jersualem) during the convention. They didn’t want to give American voters the opportunity to see just how radical the Democratic party has become. They wanted the amendment approved quickly.
The article went on to point out that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa quickly called for a floor vote on whether or not to put God back into the party platform. Numerous recordings of the delegates’ verbal "vote” revealed that at least half, and perhaps more than half voted to keep God OUT! When Villaraigosa lowered the gavel and declared that it was decided by verbal vote that God would be put BACK INTO the platform, the audience "booed.” Dear reader, I want you to think long and hard about what happened in Charlotte, N.C. on that Wednesday night of the DNC. One of the major parties, from which come a large percentage of our national leaders, including President, Vice President, Senate Majority Leader, and at least four Supreme Court appointees, has moved so far away from the principles of our founding fathers that they think they can simply VOTE GOD out of their lives. I am not suggesting that ALL members of that party agreed with what happened; but one should take note of the fact that the party of which they are a member continues to move further and further away from God. How long will someone with any sense of dignity and responsibility continue to support such foolishness?
There is one more verse in this Psalm that gives a clear indication of the fruits of this kind of thinking. The 21st verse reads, "They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.” When enough laws are passed "legalizing” the mischief in which men desire to participate, the righteous element in society will actually become the enemy. I fear that we may have already arrived at such a point in our nation’s trek away from God. Those who oppose immodesty are labeled "prudish.” Opposition to drinking and/or gambling classifies one as being "judgmental.” If you say anything about the homosexual movement you are a "homophobe.” Anti-abortionists are "radicals.” We could go on, but I think you get the picture. Liberal lawmakers are doing their best to "frame mischief by a law.” Bills pending, waiting for examination and approval, will move us further and further away from the God of heaven. When the Psalmist asked the question, "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee....” he was asking a rhetorical question, the answer to which is a resounding "No!” I do not know how long God will wait before He renders judgment on this nation. But there is a point in time when His patience will run out, and "he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.” America, prepare to meet thy God!
by Tom Wacaster
Returning from a mission trip brings its challenges, not the least of which is the physical adjustment to a time zone that is almost eleven hours behind the place you just left. Sometimes I really struggle with adjusting my biological clock to the clock on the wall, and the reality that, while your body tells you it should be six o’clock in the morning, the sky outside tells you it is nigh unto dusk. When I woke up in Bangaluru Thursday morning it was 6:00 A.M. there, but it was 7:30 P.M. Wednesday night here at home. It would be almost 40 hours before I would be able to lay my body down for a decent rest. Going that far, that fast, does not seem to be a part of what God intended for our physical bodies. Of course, the “slow boat to China” may be easier on the body, but it really chews up a lot of time. So, until my body adjusts to the Central Time Zone, I’ll take advantage of those wee hours of the morning when I can’t sleep to get some reading, study and meditation under my belt. I figure that just about the time I am used to getting up at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning instead of 2:00 or 3:00 that it will be time for Daylight Savings to kick in, and I’ll have to roll back the clock and find myself getting up yet one more hour earlier.
But there are other challenges that I face when I come home. For one thing there is the readjustment to a daily schedule that is disrupted when I make a mission trip to Russia or India. At home there are those constant reminders that there is a sense of “permanence” here that is not present when travelling over seas. Medical appointments, mowing the lawn, paying bills, and weekly shopping, to name but a few. When I leave all this behind and immerse myself in preaching and teaching, I tend to forget those things that await me when I come home. For several days after my arrival home I am busy catching up with bills, correspondence, writing, and reading.; and the longer I have been gone, the more there is to catch up with. Sometimes it is simply overwhelming.
Another challenge is readjusting my emotional barometer (if I may call it that). The opportunities for preaching and teaching the gospel in some places are abundant; and in some cases simply astonishing. Take for example my recent work in India. Brother J.C. Bailey first went to India to present the pure message of Christ to a people steeped in idolatry. The response was so astonishing that brethren back home simply did not believe there were so many being baptized. The response was in the 100’s, and in some cases in the 1,000’s. Churches of Christ were being established throughout India, especially in the south eastern part of that country. After fifty years the rate of growth does not seem to have abated. The receptivity of the gospel continues to this day. Large audiences, open hearts, and precious souls responding give a visiting missionary a spiritual “high” that lifts his spirit and gives him a deeper appreciation for the work of those who have “beautiful feet” [see Romans 10:15). When I come home there is a return to the reality that the soil for planting the seed of God’s word that exists in India on a wide scale is not present in much of the Western world. Wealth, prosperity, humanism, atheism, self indulgence—pick what you want; these are the things that have hardened the hearts of so many in our country so much so that trying to find the good and honest heart is like the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. I realize that work in this “mission field” we call the United States is difficult, disheartening and often discouraging.; but we rest on the promise that we shall reap if we faint not.
Finally, there is a challenge of readjustment to a society that is literally saturated with sin and ungodliness. From the head to the foot (to borrow the words of Isaiah) the moral climate in America is in the cesspool. I am not suggesting that India is a sinless society, but it seems that here in America sin is flaunted openly and without any shame on the part of the people and the politicians. America wears her pride on her sleeve. Humility is an endangered species. Right or wrong, my perception is that in India there is a sense of moral responsibility and humility of heart that makes the preaching of the gospel such a success.
I can adjust my biological clock fairly quick; I can adjust to my daily routine here at home. But I find it much more difficult to face a world that seems bent on slapping God in the face. Therein is the great challenge of coming home.