More and more, in the western world, we see laws being enacted that clearly oppose the laws of God found in the Bible. Where once, in the so-called Christian nations, the laws of the land were based on the Ten Commandments, this is not so today.
In earlier decades, Christians in the west have been free to follow their conscience and to freely worship their God, to share and preach His word, to pray for one another, and to live their lives as God intended. In other words, the laws of our land supported our freedom to live according to the Scriptures.
What we once took for granted – our freedom to believe – is no longer the case.
Despite the protests of thousands upon thousands of people, laws have been changed to appease minorities and these laws are directly opposed to the word of God.
Many of these laws have been in the pipeline for a long time but we, the Church, have been asleep.
Some of the radical changes that have taken place in recent years are – abortion up to birth (full-term); the push for euthanasia; the banning of therapy and prayer for those seeking help for unwanted sexual tendencies; marriage between two people rather than marriage between one man and one woman.
Some who have stood against these laws have been vilified, harassed, and dismissed from their workplaces. Some have even been taken to court.
As Christians, we can no longer sit on the fence regarding these things.
The people of Israel sat on the fence many times. They mixed worship of the one true God with the worship of pagan idols. The showdown came in I Kings 18:20-40. The prophet Elijah challenged the people of Israel with these words – ” ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him but if Baal (an idol) follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word.”
Are we among those today who have mixed Christianity with the ways of the world? Are we among those who do not stand for the one true God and His laws and like the Israelites at the time of Elijah, “answer not a word”?
The Bible gives us examples of situations that God’s people found themselves in and the choices they made.
The young man, Daniel had a choice to make. It is a familiar story and is found in Daniel 6:10-23. The King was considering setting Daniel as governor of the whole realm because Daniel had an excellent spirit in him and no fault could be found in him. The other governors and leaders set a trap for Daniel, knowing his loyalty to the God of Israel.
They urged the King to make a decree that anyone who for 30 days prayed to any god but the King, should be cast into the den of lions. Daniel made his choice – as a follower of the one true God, he could make no other.
As we know, Daniel was cast into the den of lions and God shut the lion’s mouths. Daniel chose to obey God rather than men and put his trust in Him not knowing what the outcome would be.
This is not just a nice story that we heard at Sunday School but a story for believers today, calling us to make our stand for the one true God, putting our trust in Him.
In the New Testament, we find the early Christian disciples with a similar dilemma and a choice to make.
Acts 4:1-31. After the wonderful miracle of the healing of the lame man (Acts 3), Peter and John preached in the temple, a powerful message of the resurrection of Jesus. Among the listeners were the religious leaders of the day.
These men had just witnessed the healing of the lame man with their own eyes but their positions of authority were threatened by the preaching of the truth. So much so that they severely threatened the disciples that they were not to speak or to teach the Name of Jesus.
So what did the disciples do? They met together and prayed this prayer – Acts 4:29 – “Now Lord, look on their threats and grant Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your Word.”
We know that the threats and imprisonments continued but the apostles chose to obey God rather than men. Acts 5: 22-32. Verse 29 “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.”
In the times we are living in, we may find ourselves in situations, not unlike those found in these scriptures. We too may need to make choices to obey God rather than man. It would be well to prepare ourselves.
In many countries, severe persecution is already happening. Not just through changed laws but the torture, killing, and imprisonment of Christians and the burning of Christian villages.
The prayer of the disciples needs to be our prayer today – “Now Lord, look on their threats and grant Your servants that with all boldness, they may speak Your Word.”