Posted by Gary on December 1, 2012
2 Thessalonians 3:7-11 “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.”
During the last election cycle as it has been many times before, God was claimed, summoned and represented by our political parties and politicians. It would appear as you listen to many politicians that God’s only concern is to feed the poor. That God cares for the poor is undeniable and we are grateful for a God who cares about those in need. But does nothing else matter to God? Is this all we can find to say about Him?
Delaware’s own Senator Chris Coon’s wrote an article about God and the political parties shortly after his party’s convention and the stir that was caused over the Democrats dropped reference to God in the party platform. (We would be unfair if we did not make note of the fact that Democrats graciously reinstated God in the party platform). In the article Coons says:
“What matters more than whether in the party’s platform the word “faith” was followed by the phrase “in God” was whether the values reflected in the platform showed an intention to honor God’s call to us for action that shows His preference for the poor, His demands that we care for each other as neighbors and work to heal the sick, feed the hungry and protect those in need.
The Democratic platform fully embraces those values, but they are hard to find in the Republican platform.
Psalm 72 teaches us that to defend the cause of the poor and to give deliverance to the needy is one of our highest callings — a call that is repeated throughout books of the Torah and the New Testament. To reject the great tradition of a circle of protection defies God’s will and undermines America’s values.”
I am afraid that many politicians either do not know or perhaps care that to represent God wrongly is a very dangerous thing. Whenever we claim to tell others things about God, what He wants or doesn’t want, our words must be taken from His Word. But more specifically, His Word in the entirety of its teaching must be declared, otherwise we are false witnesses of God and will find that He does not take being misrepresented kindly.
Does God care for the poor? Of course He does (Luke 4:18, Leviticus 19:9-10). But, who are the poor? Perhaps this should be another post but people who can somehow sit around watching daytime television, browsing Facebook, smoking cigarettes and texting on their cell phones are not the Bible’s idea of the poor. Nor by the poor does the Bible mean people who believe that others owe them their next meal, house, healthcare, birth-control and phone. Such demands are presumptuous and smack of being lazy, spoiled and ungrateful, not truly needy.
But back to the main point…is the only thing God has said about the poor is that we are to feed them? (Whether or not God means for the State to feed them or for His people to, we will again leave to another post). No, God has not merely said, “Feed the poor, the end”. God has also decreed that if a man is not willing to work, he is not to eat.
How is it that when our politicians go religious on us they can only seem to speak of God in terms of His command to feed the hungry and poor but do not reveal all that God has said about hungry people eating? Why do they not declare that able bodied people are to give something in return for the food they receive? Why do their policies not reflect the God-given command that men are to work or go hungry? Why do they not chide the lazy? Why do they actually encourage laziness by giving a vast number of people something while requiring nothing useful to the nation from them in return? The answer quite simply is that they have no real desire to honor or obey God. In reality, God is their convenient tool to promote their un-Biblical policies and their own political careers that progressively endure as more people choose to be dependent upon them to eat.
Are there people who cannot work? Certainly. The truly needy, the widow, the orphan (James 1:27), those whose physical health is truly, verifiably, beyond the capacity to work we should and want to help. But people who are working hard to provide for their own families are growing weary of feeding people who can work and won’t and quite simply, God does not want us to.
If you think this post is a promotion of the Republican party, it is not. Republicans are not much better and are equally guilty of summoning God for their purposes while possessing no real commitment to honor God by obeying His will as it is revealed in fullness. Few Republicans would lay their political careers on the line by calling for an end to feed people who won’t work in return. For all their talk about personal responsibility, few Republicans believe it to the degree of risk to their own political futures.
The moment anyone, minister, politician, you or me take God’s name on our lips and represent Him to others we are on very sacred, dangerous ground. As a pastor I carry within me by God’s grace a real fear of misrepresenting Him. I know I will answer for everything I have said about the great, holy God to others. May our politicians learn to fear also. May they learn that when speaking of God’s commands they are obligated to hold them forth in fullness not just in segments that can be used to their advantage and to purchase votes. Listen to the Word of God:
Jeremiah 23:18-22 “But who has stood in the council of the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? “Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl down on the head of the wicked. “The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it. “I did not send these prophets, but they ran. I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. “But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds.”
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