What we are experiencing today in America with public policy challenges is nothing new. There are Biblical and historical examples we need to consider and ponder.
Let's take religious liberty as an example. Is there a Biblical example where certain leaders and the people were ready to give up their religious liberty to the control of the government?
Yes. In the book of Numbers, we have the example of the Hebrew people being told to possess the land by the Sovereign God. He directed Moses to have the people send one leader from each tribe, 12 total, to scout and research the promised land. So, they provided the leaders who did the research and they came back with samples of the fruit of the land and gave their reports. The land was very fruitful, but there were giants there that would need to be removed. Caleb and Joshua gave what became the positive minority report and said, "Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." (Numbers 13:30). The other 10 brought the majority report, also known as the evil report of the land or grasshopper thinkers' report, stating, ...there we saw giants. and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers..." (Numbers 13:33).
The report created fear and murmuring among the people to the extent they said, "...let us make a captain, and return to Egypt." (Numbers 14:4). What?
This was a people that had been in bondage in Egypt working seven days a week and were given no time to worship God. They were delivered from bondage and the Ten Commandments were received by Moses to help establish an ecclesiastical/civil order for the nation with the fourth commandment providing for a day of rest (worship). This was one of the most profound social changes in the history of the weekly calendar. Now they were willing to return to Egypt surrendering their religious liberty to worship God to the state.
How does this apply to America today? We need to realize that 16% of the leadership then and probably now have the providential view of God. We need to make sure our policies and causes are Biblical and not use fear as a motivation to guide people in a direction. As the Bible says, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil, neither shall thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment." (Exodus 23:2). In other words, we should think twice before manipulating others to influence government for our personal agenda and make sure you are not "...using your liberty for a cloak..." (1 Peter 2:16).
We need to constantly keep overcoming the grasshopper thinking. Yes, there are real giants (problems) in America today, but we serve a great God who can help us overcome them. You will notice after the ten that brought the evil report died of a plague, others decided to "...go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised..." (Numbers 14:40-45) but they were defeated. Going at God's timing is crucial.
When I get frustrated with activism today I think of Caleb and how difficult it was for him to wander 40 years with folks that did not see the providential hand of God. When they finally entered the promised land and were distributing the land he wanted the most difficult part with the giants. I appreciate the spirit of Caleb. Count me with Caleb!
U.D. Roberts and his wife Connie are members of Beallwood Baptist Church, Columbus, Ga. U.D. served as chairman of the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Committee in 1999 and presently serves as president/CEO of Brentwood Christian Press and vice-chair of the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration.