Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

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February 17th, 2012 – Issues of the Day; God is Watching

“But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.'” Gen. 19:4,5

Devotional Thought For The Day

It is in the news so we ought to take consideration of the actual facts regarding Sodom and Gomorrah. The archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, was quoted as saying, “I don’t like that caricature that New York is some neo-Sodom and Gomorrah.” The article then explains that these cities “were destroyed by God because their people were sinful and wicked.” Interesting that the author leaves out that their sinfulness and wickedness centered in homosexuality [Lot subsequently offered these Sodomites his virgin daughters to “know” – v.8, hoping to put off their homosexual demands]. In times past homosexuality was actually denoted by the word “sodomy.” Well, perhaps the archbishop got it right, but perhaps he should have added the word “yet” to the end of his pronouncement. Interesting too that the reporter took no serious consideration of the fact that God is still capable of destroying cities because “their people are sinful and wicked,” including “homosexual.”

We live in extraordinarily interesting times. The current debates about legally enforced health care insurance, about same-sex “marriage,” taxation, energy, and the economic health of the nation and our future, are all part of a much larger picture – though people tend to get more excited, even fanatical, about single issues. The bottom line, however, is freedom. The complexity comes from how the exercise of some freedoms impacts the freedoms of others. It is an incredibly difficult balancing act. One side touts “reproductive” freedom and personal rights – including the right to abort, engage in homosexual behavior [and of greater preponderance, all manner of immoral heterosexual behavior outside of marriage] – and wants everyone to have to pay for the adverse effects of their freedoms and rights, through taxes and also enforced “insurance.” The other side touts religious freedom, including the freedom and responsibility we have for children [including unborn children], questions the rights and freedoms people demand to do whatever they want [which are already strongly curtailed by many laws – against murder, stealing, drugs, speeding, etc.], and absolutely rejects a state-compelled obligation to pay for other people’s immorality through taxes and forced insurance pools.

What to do! Of course, we should take careful cognizance of the fact that bloody wars have been fought in America’s history over such issues – taxes and freedoms and rights, and people remain just as ardent and zealous about these matters today. So everyone should take great care and caution how they discourse about these matters, avoiding inflammatory rhetoric and distortion. In the end, however, there will be decisions to make – just as Lot had to make decisions; and one side or the other is going to have to back down and concede, or people are going to suffer violence. As we are all aware, God usually utilizes human means to punish evil-doers and to bring an end to their destructive behaviors, rather than raining down “fire and brimstone” from heaven – though He is still fully capable of bringing about natural and supernatural conflagrations.

This is the social context within which we are still called to proclaim repentance and the good news of God’s gracious mercy and forgiveness, the redemption and pardon which He has provided for us in Christ Jesus. This is our principle task – not the resolution of social problems or the cleansing of culture and society. However, where government seeks to compel immorality and idolatry “we must obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:29], and there will certainly be a vast number of Christians in America who will do just that – even if that means “civil disobedience.” Hopefully, none of this will inhibit our mission of “making disciples of all nations,” and hopefully circumstances will move back toward a more sane and rational approach to morality, and toward dealing with immorality. Time will tell whether the archbishop should have added the word “yet.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, it is difficult for us to observe the unraveling of morality and sensibility in our society, and for us to contemplate being forced to make the kinds of difficult choices that Lot faced and that our fellow citizens in the past have had to make. Grant Your grace and mercy, and Your wisdom to people today, so that hopefully our nation might be healed and spared Your punishment. Amen.