Summary: Individual commitment to obey God is the key to changing our culture to child-friendly and family safe!
1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul! I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God all my life long. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD! Psalm 146:1-10 (NRSVA)
Tony Evans is the speaker for ¡§The Urban Alternative¡¨ which is committed to turning urban ethnic families and communities to God. You may have heard him on the radio; he is a preacher who is a perfect fit for radio. I stood near him in a convention once, and couldn¡¦t believe it; the little man I¡¦d been listening to for several years with the high-pitched squeak of a voice, was huge. The top of my head would barely touch his chin. The voice and the man definitely don¡¦t match!
However, the man and his connection with God are a match made in heaven. In one sermon Dr. Evans grabbed my attention forever with a line of deductive reasoning about preserving the family so we can change the world for better. It goes something like this:
„Ã If a man will get himself right with the Lord he will have an impact on his family¡K
„Ã And that family will begin to have an impact on their neighborhood¡K
„Ã And then that neighborhood will begin to change, and impact the surrounding county¡K
„Ã Which will transform and begin to affect the state¡K
„Ã And that state will begin to impact our nation¡K.
„Ã And if our nation ever gets right with God¡Kthis world will change.
There is a principle contained within that deductive reasoning concerning the ever-widening circles of influence for our world:
Individual commitment to obey God is the key to changing our culture to child-friendly and family safe!
Children do turn our hearts. Images of children, especially children at risk, or in danger or suffering are particularly moving¡K
„Ã This past month the Jon Benet Ramsey epic jumped into our lives again, only to end in anti-climactic head-shaking over a man arrested, who then was revealed as a pathetically-twisted pornographer portraying himself as a victim.
„Ã And then we all winced as the news reported the fate of two small boys drowned in the Dan River.
„Ã In 1994 Kevin Carter won a Pulitzer Prize for this picture taken during the famine in the Sudan. This famine-stricken child is crawling towards a United Nations food camp a kilometer away. The vulture in the background is waiting for the child to die. Carter (the photographer) was so haunted by the vision of this suffering child, which he did nothing to help, that three months later he committed suicide.
We have a tendency to look to the powers that be for answers.
„Ã If children are being abused, we want social legislation from Congress.
„Ã If people are in poverty, we want the government to raise the minimum wage or create jobs.
„Ã If the stock market tanks¡KFDIC! Uncle Sam, save us!!!!
Now there is nothing wrong with holding our government accountable, and voting for good government, expecting moral responsibility from our leaders. But, if we look to Uncle Sam as our first response, we have put the cart before the horse!
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God,
In reading Adam Clarke¡¦s commentary this week I read:
In the son of man, there is no help, no saving principle.
No saving principle ¡V this is our dilemma. The children of our families, the nation and the world are in danger because we expect solutions to our deep problems of society from men. We give our trust to man¡¦s governing powers when our trust rightfully belongs in God, not man! Man is mortal; perishing¡Kthe statistic on the mortality tables of every insurance company is one out of one. Everyone dies; everyone returns to the dust.
In our text we are told God is forever (cp v.10)¡Kthe LORD reigns forever! The word translated ¡§forever¡¨ is „À„¿„yƒ²„Åƒnƒvƒß„ÅƒÜƒÑ„ÅƒÝƒwand it means ¡§the concealed¡¨¡Ksomething just out of sight at the vanishing point; the farthest point on the horizon. The Hebrew language describes it as time out of mind, either past or future. God sees back farther than we can recall, and past the point of our horizon; we can¡¦t see as far back or forward as God does. That is why He is to be trusted above men. We are to entrust our suffering to God.