God Can Vindicate Himself

firewithfire

It’s easy to get riled up about the headlines.  Year after year it seems that God’s ways are crumbling.  People grow in their zeal to mock Christianity.  We in America are privileged to have a voice that stands against that mockery.  We have the right to let our convictions from the Bible be heard.  We ought to take advantage of that right and elect men of godly character to represent us.  We ought to stand up for the name of Jesus every chance we get, but what should that look like?

Well, “survival of the fittest” seems like a good way, right?  If someone attacks our way of thinking, then the only way to keep from getting trampled is to strike back so hard that others won’t want to mess with us.  Intimidation and bullying are the name of the game.

Actually, the way Christians go about standing up for God’s name ought to be much different.  The people of Psalm 74 were in a situation where others were breaking down God’s sacred places.  They were being bullied, to say the least.  The enemies had “set up their own standards for signs” (v.4), and even “burned [God’s] sanctuary to the ground” (v.7).  God’s people are outnumbered, and outmatched and have to sit by and watch while the rest of the world tears down and blasphemes the name of God.

So how are God’s people to react to such atrocities against the sacred things of God?  The psalmist recalls God’s power as Creator (v.12-17).  He then says, “Arise, O God, and plead Your own cause” (v.22).  The psalmists answer isn’t to fight back with worldly tactics, but to call on God to act.  And we can be certain that God’s not going to sit back and let his name be reviled forever.  God’s people may be bullied temporarily, but when he comes to rescue his people and his name, look out!

When we’re considering the political and cultural climate of our country, it should anger us to see God’s sanctuary (i.e. Christianity) being burned to the ground.  Our country has taken God’s symbols (marriage), and “set up their own symbols for signs.”  Our righteous anger should lead us to call on God to vindicate his own name.  He doesn’t need us to bring judgment on the world for him.  He’s powerful enough to do that on his own.

Yet when the enemy’s at the gates, the last thing we want is to appear weak.  And we don’t want our leaders to be meek either.  We want a fire-breather.  But that’s not what God’s leaders look like.  When God’s people were enslaved, he didn’t choose to have them revolt and make weapons.  He heard the call of his people who were being bullied and led them out through the meekness and humility of Moses, and ultimately Jesus.

In our current cultural climate we need to resist the temptation to fight for God through worldly means.  And that includes more than weapons.  It includes the way we speak and our attitude, and that also includes the people who represent us.  Let us live in such a way that we reflect the image of our true representative: Jesus.  God will vindicate his name that has been trampled on, but he will do it in his time and in his unique way.  May we all have the patience and longsuffering that allows God to vindicate his name on his terms.

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For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. — Philippians 1:21 (NIV)

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