Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites … men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20
What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?
Deuteronomy 19 & Deuteronomy 20:
The Size of Our God
In chapter 20.1-4 the Israelites were told:
“When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt … Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”
Like the Israelites, no matter what the battle or the enemy, we are not to look at the size of the enemy, but at the size of our God!
What Could Cost Us Our Freedom?
But we must remember that this passage follows closely behind the passages we read yesterday where God was giving instructions for choosing leaders and the behavior of those leaders. When the people or their leaders acted presumptuously, repeatedly disobeyed His commands, or followed other gods and put their trust in them, God frequently let them be defeated in battle. Sometimes even allowing them to be taken into captivity, as he did with Babylon.
America has enjoyed years of relative protection from God. We have been blessed with freedoms, resources, and favor on an enormous scale. But we should not think God cannot or will not allow defeat for our nation if we continue to move further and further from Him and His standards.
The great British statesman Edmund Burke said, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites…in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
So what could cost us our freedom?
Our demand for the freedom to live life anyway we choose. The habit of selfishly looking out for what’s best for us with no regard for others or future generations. Demanding our rights, instead of doing right. An entitlement attitude and insistence on the government giving us more and more or that we are owed something for past injustices. In short … our own sin and insistence on living life our own way instead of living for God’s glory and trusting Him for the results.
The Only Answer
The answer for our nation and any other is 2 Chronicles 7.13-14:
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Notice, it says “if My people … will humble themselves.” We, as God’s people must search our hearts individually and corporately. 1 John 1.8-9:
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we will humble ourselves, confess our sins, and ask for His help to live righteously, God will work in our lives in great and powerful ways.
The psalmist said:
25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore. 28 For the LORD loves justice, And does not forsake His saints; They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off (Ps. 37).
God may or may not turn our nation around and it’s possible that the cost of being a follower of Christ may become much greater than we have ever experienced in the past. But God will bless and care for His people and give us the grace we need for any situation if we turn to Him.
Today’s Other Readings:
David was undergoing an intense time of anxiety and depression, brought on, at least in part, by his own sin. Yet, instead of turning from God, he turned to Him.
Nothing we have done is too great for the grace of God to forgive and the blood of Christ to cover, if we come humbly to Him in confession and brokenness. Like David, only His forgiveness can make us “whiter than snow” (Ps. 51.7).
But repentance is much more than sorrow over the consequences of our actions, it is brokenness over our sin against God. It’s a change of mind that leads to a change in the way we live our lives.
One Cause of Anxiety & Depression
Verse 25, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
While I’m not saying all anxiety and depression are a direct result of sin, they can come from unconfessed sin (Ps. 32).
Just as we talked about in our Deuteronomy readings, sin can lead to God’s discipline and all kinds of consequences. Those consequences themselves and our feelings about them can lead to depression and anxiety.
If there is unconfessed sin in your life, take it to the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and then make it right with anyone else you have sinned against. That may mean admitting your sin to others, seeking forgiveness, and making restitution when appropriate.
One frequent example of this today is with people who are living together and not married. This is clearly sin and often leads to all kinds of consequences. But feeling guilty about it isn’t enough, neither is a “well, we plan to get married down the road” attitude. The answer is genuine repentance, seeking forgiveness from God and one another, followed by a willingness to either get married, if it’s biblically appropriate, or separating and remaining sexually pure.
Recharging Our Spiritual Batteries
At the end of a very busy day, possibly after ministering all night, Jesus headed for “a deserted place” (v. 4). It was His custom to get alone with His Father. If He needed that spiritual refreshment, how much more do we, no matter how busy we are!
What do you think?
How has God spoken to you in His Word today?
What do you plan to do as a result of what you’ve read?
Have a blessed day,
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