By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
One of the blessings of God is that when we believe in him, he calls us to enter his service. It is a great privilege for us to follow Jesus Christ, and be his joyful and willing servants. Prior to the moment when Jesus ascended to heaven, he gave his followers a commission:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
I wonder if we sometimes make the error of thinking that God’s calling is to others, but not to us? We encounter many who would suppress Christianity, who would treat it as irrelevant. We are a part of a society that experiences too much violence. For those of us in California, and other states, laws are passed to enable suicide for the ill and distressed. The Ten Commandments are being removed from schools and public buildings. What is to be put in their place? All of us need rules. An increasing number of couples are choosing to live together without marriage. Great harm is coming to American families.
In her book, How The West Really Lost God, Mary Eberstadt reminds us of the cost of the weakening of Christian witness in order to make Christianity easier for people:
“… these reformist efforts bit by bit contributed to an unwanted and unexpected denouement: they weakened both literally and figuratively the foundations of which those same churches depended—i.e., natural families. In their efforts to reach out to individuals who wanted a softening of Christian doctrine, the churches inadvertently appear to have failed to protect their base: thriving families whose members would then go on to reproduce both literally and in the figurative sense of handing down their religion.” (page 140)
We might ask, well why are things the way that they are? Why did God not create us ready-made to be in his presence (Heaven)? I think, because he wanted people who would freely choose to love him; because he wanted a people who loved righteousness and justice and truth. If our choice is an important factor—then we must be given the option of bad choices as well as good choices.
The Ten Commandments were given by God through Moses about 1400 B.C. Thus, they have been with us for about 3400 years. As God has blessed us with life and breath and many delights and enjoyments—for our sake—he draws a line regarding what we can properly do (Exodus 20:2-17). Here is an abstract:
I. You shall have no other gods before me.
II. You shall not make for yourself a graven image—you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
III. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
IV. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
V. Honor your father and your mother.
VI. You shall not murder.
VII. You shall not commit adultery.
VIII. You shall not steal.
IX. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
X. You shall not covet.
What is our choice: to be in the game on the field—or to be a spectator in the bleachers?