2002-02-05 - Punish Our Kids
Numbers 22:32 "And the angel of the Lord said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me.'"
I don't know if you know who Samuel Rutherford is, but if you don't, you should. He lived 350 years ago so unless you have a real interest in theology and in particular, Scottish Presbyterian theology, you may never have heard of him. However, he is, in my view, and with the exception of John Knox, the most significant figure in the history of the Christian church in Scotland. I was reading a sermon by him recently and he made a very startling statement. He asked God not to judge the sins of his generation on his generation, but rather asked God to judge their sins upon a future generation. I have no idea what he was thinking, and I am about 99% sure that I don't like what he said, but here is a man of God saying something that if I could put a sticker on it, it would say, "Absurd."
I probably put his words in a context that may not give the true gist of what he was trying to say, but in general, I think this is what he was really saying. We see this today even. Spiritual leaders do from time to time make absurd statements. They look foolish for doing so and today, rather than retract and say, "I should not have said that," our spiritual leaders often defend themselves with vigor and act as if they only said what they did because God told them to do so. Hogwash! We all make mistakes, admit it when you do. That is what a real leader does.
All right Mr. Rutherford, I know you are doing cartwheels in your grave at St. Andrews right now, so I will let you alone. Even Balaam, in Numbers 22 was corrected by a donkey. It is not a rule, but it often seems that power breeds corruption. I recently had someone write me and say they were sad that I had, in their view, lumped Billy Graham in with some Christian leaders of a more questionable sort. My friend, I hope you are reading this. I hold Billy Graham in the highest esteem. He is one of those who seems uncorrupted by his fame, reputation, and recognition. If I ever had to go the Make A Wish Foundation route, I would like to meet him -- but at a Six Flags, of course. I want to see him in a bumper car. I'm not sure I could hit him, but I might.
My point today, and if you are not getting it, wait until tomorrow as I hit this common theme harder. Leaders will err, but the theme is really Scripture. We have a source that will never lead us wrong. That source is God's Holy Word. Upon that Word I rest all my hope, all my being, all I am. If I had not faith in God's Word, I would not wish to open my eyes. Does God's Word confuse me? Yup. Do I struggle to understand it? Of course. That makes me normal. I also trust the leaders that God has given us, but I test every thing they say by the Word of God and when they step aside from it, I refuse to join them. "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth, by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures," James 1:18.
Soli Deo Gloria,