by Art Helms
The word “blip” is defined as “a sudden temporary problem in the normal progress of something.” A single fire alarm blip may be simply a signal that the battery is low, or it could be an early warning that requires more attention, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Deep slumber weighted eyelids can cause that blip to be ignored, sometimes with tragic consequences.
On Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, such a blip showed as a “Time” news article, entitled “How Will Al Franken Make a Difference in the Senate?” This blip is one that should be considered a wake-up signal.
In short form, this blip would read “The Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously declared Al Franken the winner of the longest contest for U.S. Senate in the state’s history on June 30 . . . So at long last, Senate Democrats can celebrate the milestone they have dreamed of ever since the start of the last election campaign: a presumably filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the U.S. Senate.”
What this means, at least during the current administration, is that our system of checks and balances is kaput. The “Separation of Powers” may still be technically separate, but for all intents and purposes, all three branches are controlled by the same entity. We can expect the Cap and Trade Bill to pass easily. We can also expect the Hate Crimes Bill to be pushed through on a fast track. The liberal dream of passing the Freedom of Choice Act is probably a shoo-in. No doubt, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be another celebrated event. The Defense of Marriage Act is almost certain to fall. Amnesty for the illegal immigrants is most definitely on the agenda. As for the rest of the destructive agenda, I am reminded of the saying on the old-time radio show, “The Shadow.” “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? – The Shadow knows!” Indeed, only our “Shadow Government” knows what’s next.
To put all of this into a proper perspective, we can liken these facts to fire alarm “blips”, coming together so fast and furiously that it can only be described as the sound of a screaming siren.
What a great opportunity this presents for the Church!
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
Matthew Henry’s commentary renders this passage in Ezekiel even more timeless in relevance to our modern times. “All orders and degrees of men had helped to fill the measure of the nation’s guilt. The people that had any power abused it, and even the buyers and sellers find some way to oppress one another. It bodes ill to a people when judgments are breaking in upon them, and the spirit of prayer is restrained. Let all who fear God, unite to promote his truth and righteousness; as wicked men of every rank and profession plot together to run them down.”
That last sentence, of the Matthew Henry commentary, powerfully focuses our attention beyond our dilemma of the restrained “spirit of prayer”, noted in his previous sentence. These phrases “make up the hedge”, and “stand in the gap”, are clear commands that go beyond bending the knee in prayer. Yes, there is that need, but there is also a great need for today’s Christian Church to “make up the hedge“; to “stand in the gap” for God’s righteousness!
Other men of God, in times past, have lived through periods similar to ours, stood in the prophetic gap, and succeeded in overcoming tyrannical governments. We can look to them for our charge. Like a trumpet call, “Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” rings from one of the freedom fighters of history: Algernon Sidney, an English Parliamentarian who was executed for treason, in 1683, said “We live in an age that makes truth pass for treason.”
Evidence, that Sidney’s time was similar to ours, is seen in the words that he wrote, just before his death. “. . . I believe that the people of God in England have, in these late years, generally grown faint: some, through fear, have deflected from the integrity of their principles; some have been too deeply plunged themselves in worldly cares, and, so as they might enjoy their trades and wealth, have less regarded the treasure that is laid up in heaven: but I think there are very many who have kept their garments unspotted; and hope that God will deliver them, and the nation for their sakes. God will not suffer this land, where the gospel hath of late flourished more than any other part of the world, to become a slave of the world, he will not suffer it to become a land of graven images: he will stir up witnesses of the truth, and, in his own time, spirit his people to stand up for his cause, and deliver them.”
On the topics of fear and oppression, he wrote: “They who are already fallen into all that is odious, and shameful and miserable, cannot justify fear… Let the dangers never be so great, there is the possibility of safety while men have life, hands, arms and courage to use them but that people must surely perish who tamely suffer themselves to be oppressed.”
It can be argued that England’s “Glorious Revolution”, of 1688, inspired by men, such as Algernon Sidney, began modern English parliamentary democracy. That revolution ended the principle of absolute monarch power, and their “Bill of Rights” has become one of the most important documents in the political history of Britain.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (1Corinthians 16:13)