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Topic: Right in Our Own Eyes

So Much Death

by Darrel Cline

I have observed a curious phenomenon in my generation. Attendance at religious seminars has increased. Daily devotional guides are in some demand. The number of people who claim that God is an important part of their belief system is up. Secular news media have called our days the Day of the Evangelical--referring to the increase in visibility and popularity of claiming a new birth experience. One can drive north and south or east and west across the land and be able to tune in to radio programs which focus upon biblical truths. And yet divorce (which the Bible rejects) is up. Hate crime (which the Bible rejects) is up. Violence is depicted and enacted as entertainment (and 'Christians' see no wrong in entertaining themselves with visions of violence). Sexual promiscuity (which brought us AIDS and continues to proliferate its deadly infection) is rampant. Politics gets more self-serving. In other words, the more popular the outer trappings of Christianity have become, the more degenerate the society has become. This is a curious phenomenon.

"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25; NASB). "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2; NASB). How do these two verses relate to each other? And how do they relate to this curious phenomenon?

To answer, let's consider each verse in its own setting in history. The first verse is set within the historical context of Israel about 1300 years before Christ came to the earth. In that day the people were very religious (people always have been), but their religion was of their own making. They believed what they were taught, or what they decided was true for themselves, and went about doing what they thought was best. But, they didn't get their thoughts about what is best from the Bible. They got them from their own religious inclinations. They ended up in serious difficulty because their way of life was fundamentally opposed to God.

The second of these verses comes from the Hebrew Book of Songs. It is a part of the Word of Israel's God. It pointedly says that the way of life is to "meditate on the Law of the Lord day and night." But who believes that these days? People will read devotional material, attend seminars, go to church and passively listen to the religious speaker, claim religion is important to them, and ignore a fundamental statement of the Bible--that a person ought to be in a personal, individual, meditative study of the Word of God each day. So, the curious phenomenon continues because people are using their religious activity to insulate themselves from interacting with the personal God who made them.

In the first psalm, God tells us that fruitfulness and life come from reading and studying and meditating in the Word of God daily. If we believed Him, we would be in the Word of God on our own, for ourselves, each day as we live our lives. Nothing would be more important than hearing from God in His Word. Jesus, the Master Himself, said "Man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." The reason there is so much death in our experience is because there is so little of the Word of God in our minds and hearts.

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This is article #004.
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