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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Word For The Week

(PastorDan posts a sermon every Sunday Morning on DailyKos, and I will do the same thing here on The Underground Railroad if it is agreeable with the AAFD membership.)

September 11, 2001

In a way we all wish that we would stop hearing about that day already, but the truth is that it was a defining moment for the
United States of America. It was a day that everyone remembers what they were doing when they first heard the news. Everyone remembers where they were when they first saw the World Trade Center on fire. Everyone remembers the horror of watching the plane fly into the second tower. Everyone remembers the pain of watching the south tower fall. Everyone remembers the dejectedness of watching the north tower fall. Everyone remembers the anger we felt as we came together as Americans – Black and White, Democrats and Republicans, Northerners and Southerners, liberals and conservatives – and shouted with one voice, “This Shall Not Stand!” We proclaimed as one man, “This shall not go unanswered!” United we cried, “Those who are responsible for this act shall be brought to justice or have justice brought to them.” This unity was seen even in Washington DC, where the Senate voted 98-0 in favor of the war resolution. Tom Daschle and Trent Lott went on national TV together after Bush’s speech to the Congress and affirmed their unity in this cause. In the House of Representatives Dicks Armey and Gephardt were speaking as one man – united in this just cause. Everyone from Tom Delay to Bernie Saunders voted for the war resolution. The House vote was 420-1. 420-1??? At a time like this someone voted against the resolution?

It turns out that one Representative from California
had reservations about supporting the resolution. It seems that the woman who represents Berkley, California couldn’t find it within herself to support that which the country uniformly supported. What was she thinking? When I heard that there was a dissenting vote in the House I remember thinking to myself, “She must be nuts – they better assign her a Secret Service detail because she’s going to need it now.” What was Barbara Lee thinking? When the nation as a whole is speaking as one man in favor of an action, she has the audacity to say no? When people who never agree on anything are standing shoulder-to-shoulder, united in this cause, she has the temerity to say no? What was she thinking? She reminds me of a prophet found in 1 Kings 22.

Micaiah was a true prophet of the LORD. He was fully committed to the will of God. Look at verse 14 of I Kings 22. “But Micaiah said, ‘as the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I will speak.’” Micaiah was not interested in what would advance his career in ministry, or what would ingratiate himself with the king. He was interested in and committed to doing the will of God who called him and spoke through him. Micaiah had God as his top priority, just like we are supposed to.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” David, king of all Israel and Judah, understood that he was to seek God first. In II Samuel 7, David sought to do a work for God. David was living in a beautiful palace, but the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence, was outside in the cold under a tent. David thought this was wrong and wanted to build a temple for God in which to place the ark. But God told David, paraphrasing verses 5-17, “Thanks, but it isn’t that crucial. However, since you’re your heart is set on me I’m going to bless you.” God blessed David because David sought God first, because God was his first priority. God chose to bless David based on David’s relationship with God. Nothing was more important to David than the will of God.

The first desire of David’s son Solomon was to do the will of God. In I Kings 3, God tells Solomon to ask for anything that he wanted. Solomon praised God and asked God to give him wisdom to govern God’s people effectively to the glory of God. Since he requested something that would help him serve God and not something to fulfill the lusts of his flesh, the lusts of his eyes, or the pride of life, God blessed him with the wisdom he requested and all of the material riches and social honors that one could imagine, simply because Solomon’s first priority was the will of God. Solomon was fully committed to the will of God.

There once was a young aspiring preacher who was visited by an angel. The angel said to the young preacher, “Your ministry will grow and be prosperous if you do according to all of the words I am about to speak: Never mention the word sin – ever. Never mention the word repentance or even refer to it. Offer them salvation in terms of deliverance from their problems. Motivate your people to be moral and upright human beings and your ministry will flourish. The bigger the building you build, the more people that will fill it. And everyone who commits themselves to this salvation will join me in eternity…” How many pastors have compromised their ministries in this fashion? How many preachers will only preach what the people are willing to hear? How many ministers are committed to say that which God has told them to say only as long as it will be well received? Micaiah was fully committed to the will of God. Are we fully committed to the will of God, to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Micaiah was also courageous in the face of perverse authority. Ahab was the most wicked king that Israel had ever seen. The name of his wife, Jezebel, is still synonymous with wickedness to this day. A king has power over the life and death of his subjects, even the prophets. With a word he could have had Micaiah killed. Despite that, Micaiah still spoke what the LORD told him to speak – a word of rebuke and judgement – which he knew would upset the king. Look at verse 18 in I Kings 22. “Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?’”

You see, people usually know when they’re wrong, but they often try to kill the messenger for telling them that which they already know. Most messengers know this and develop a sizable fear of delivering the message, desiring to avoid the retaliation of the recipient. Parents stop spanking their children, teachers stop failing students, preachers stop mentioning sin. All from fear of what might happen to them if they take a stand for that which is right.

But you know, there were three Hebrew boys who were not afraid to take a stand for what was right. They stood up to the most powerful man on the planet, Nebuchadnezzar, and told him to his face, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They took a stand. They were fully committed to the will of God and they were courageous in the face of perverse authority. They understood that it’s all good – for believers. The Word of God says “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s all good.

God knows what we need, and if we seek him first to do His will, he will provide for all of those needs. No weapon forged against us will prosper, right? So what’s the matter with our standing power? Why can’t we take a stand? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took a stand for the LORD. Micaiah, a prophet of the LORD, took a stand for the LORD. Is there anyone here who will take a stand for the LORD? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

You see Micaiah was also convinced of God’s truth. He wasn’t just running off at the mouth with what he thought or what he believed or what was the logical conclusion from the scientific or statistical data. He was convinced - no, he KNEW that the word of the LORD was true. In verse 28 we find the last words recorded from Micaiah. “And Micaiah said, ‘If you indeed return safely the LORD has not spoken by me.’ And he said, ‘Mark my words, all you people.’” He knew the truth of the Word of God, that it was without error, that it is God-breathed and useful for instruction and correction. Ahab had him sent to prison where Micaiah was to stay until Ahab returned safely from battle. Micaiah told him up front that he would be spending the rest of his days in prison because Ahab would never return from battle alive. Micaiah was convinced of God’s truth and courageous in the face of perverse authority because he was fully committed to the LORD.

You see, Moses was committed to the LORD when he commanded pharoah to “Let my people Go!” and the captives were set free.

Joshua was committed to the LORD when he marched around Jericho for seven days and the walls came tumbling down.

David was committed to the LORD when he confronted Goliath and the giant came tumbling down.

Nathan was committed to the LORD when he rebuked King David and the king's arrogance came tumbling down.

Elijah was committed to the LORD when he faced the 450 prophets of Baal and fire came tumbling down from heaven.

Jesus was committed to doing the will of his Father who sent him and now salvation’s free to you and me.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

Ezekiel got a taste and it was sweet as honey.

John got a taste on the Island of Patmos and it was like honey to his lips but he couldn’t stomach the testimony.

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Now, no man can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will love the one and hate the other.

You cannot serve both God and Money.
• You cannot serve both God and Lexus.
You cannot serve both God and prosperity.
• You cannot serve both God and America.

You must choose this day whom you will serve. Whether the ancestral gods of your forefathers beyond the Atlantic or the self-centered, materialistic gods of the Americans in whose land you live, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And if you will be fully committed to do the will of God, I implore you to be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the Word of God; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let the Word of God depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything according to it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Haven’t I already told you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Barbara Lee took a stand for the truth. Micaiah took a stand for the truth. Jesus took a stand for the way, the truth, and the life. Will you stand up for the truth? Is there a prophet of the LORD here?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

Read or Post a Comment

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Sunday, June 12, 2005 10:14:00 AM #

What if you make a decision and then later mounting evidence and the weight of your conscience tells you that you were wrong?

That's where Congressman Walter Jones (R) from North Carolina is today.

Two years ago, he demanded that the cafeterias in Congressional office buildings in D.C. ban the word "french" from the menus, because France wouldn't support the war in Iraq. Do you recall "freedom fries"?

Now, Congressman Jones is a vocal opponent against the war and lines the hallway outside is office with the photos of "faces of the fallen."


On a Sunday morning show today, he said that his father taught him to take these priorities while in Congress:

First, your conscience.
Second, your constituency.
Third, your party.

It seems to me like too much of the mentality in Washington is the complete reverse.

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Sunday, June 12, 2005 5:26:00 PM #
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