Friday, March 30, 2012
THE ABYSS OF ANARCHY
"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted." (Judges 21:25 HCSB)
The bluntness of the Bible is sometimes shocking. It makes no effort to hide reality. It is all true--even if it is disquieting truth. There are not graphic descriptions given to appeal to prurient interests, but enough information to paint an accurate picture--albeit, a dark one. The closing chapters of Judges contain such jaw-dropping events. We are perched on the side of an abyss--the abyss of anarchy--and are invited to look in.
We had rather not. It is more comfortable to believe that man is basically good, and with enough effort can construct a utopia. Diplomacy will bring peace on earth. Education will alleviate poverty. Medicine will find a cure for all our diseases.
You might recall the scene from the movie, "Gettysburg," portraying that epic battle of the Civil War. Yankee Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain quotes from Hamlet, "What a piece of work is man, in form and movement how express and admirable. In action how like an angel." The crusty, crude Sergeant "Buster" Kilrain, retorts, "Well, if he's an angel, all right then. But he...must be a killer angel." After seeing the slaughter of the battlefield, one might understand Kilrain's cynicism.
Scripture confronts us with the stark reality of sin--the effects of the curse upon the human heart. Our heads are full of vain imaginations, our hearts are bent toward vile passions and our hands bloody with vicious actions. Man, left to himself, plunges over the abyss and into the depraved, demonic darkness of anarchy. When he does whatever he wants, what he ever wants is evil.
As I walked out my front door on this spring morning, I saw the evidence of the season's arrival--flowers blooming, trees budding, grass turning green--but in the midst of a potentially luxurious lawn, I saw something else--noxious weeds. If anything, they seemed more stout than the blades of grass. All I need to do, is let my yard go. It will return to the wild. That is the course of nature--the downgrade of a fallen creation.
Suddenly, a dark cloud enshrouds my thoughts. This is the spiritual wilderness of our world. The days of the Judges are our days--moral anarchy--relativism, to each his own. Our culture is not teetering on the abyss, we have lost our footing and are in free fall.
With these final chapters in Judges, the Great Physician takes the scalpel of Scripture and slices through our chest, laying bare our heart. The disease is beyond repair. No pacemaker, by-pass, drug or other procedure can do any good. That is the bad news. There is but one hope--a new heart--the radical transplant of the heart of God within! This is regeneration, and Jesus said that without it there is no hope of heaven.
The unbelievable depravity of mankind is meant to bring us to despair. We must tire of looking within; we must cease to look about. Vain is the help of man. We must look up! There, we can find the King who reigns in righteousness. His eternal life is ours as a gift to those who humbly bow to Him. His governing principles bring order out of the chaos, direction in our confusion, freedom from the bonds of iniquity, light to dispel the darkness. No more, do we do whatever we want, but what He wants. Our prayer is, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 HCSB)
One day that glorious day will dawn. In an absolute sense, "Jesus shall reign, where'er the sun, doth its successive journeys run." But, until then, we will carve out a little corner of the wilderness by God's grace. There we will cultivate the soil, pull the weeds and see a little plot of paradise reclaimed. In the middle of the yard, there is a new house--my heart where Jesus makes His home.