Part 3: Ichabod
We’ve been discussing the departure of the Christian-conservative-religious right from the Biblical and Constitutional values that we have told ourselves we were contending for. We looked at an allegorical example of how this has happened gradually and subtly over a generation or more without our even noticing our departure from the God prescribed path or the departure of His presence and favor upon our political endeavors. But can such a thing really happen? Is there a historical precedent for it?
Not only is there precedent for it, but it’s been documented over and over in the Bible. A classic example is the story found in 1 Samuel chapter 4. Israel, God’s covenant people (read: the Christian-conservative-religious right) was in a spiritually wayward state due at least in part to the high priest’s corrupt sons. They still had their religious relics (the ark of the covenant, tabernacle, priests), but were not walking in vital relationship with the Lord. They had begun to serve other gods. Apparently their spiritual condition had come upon them gradually enough that they hadn’t even noticed their departure from God, nor the absence of His presence and favor.
When they lost a battle with the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4:1-2, they failed to realize their spiritually backslidden condition and the departure of the presence and favor of God. In a move of classic, carnal, religious mentality, they decided to trot out a religious relic believing that would help – they said (and I paraphrase here) “let’s go up to Shilo and get that gold plated religious box (ark of the covenant) out of the tabernacle, maybe ‘it’ (not God) can save us” (1 Sam 4:1-3). But trusting in a religious relic didn’t help as the Philistines not only beat them again, but stole from them the very relic that they were trusting in.
There appears to have been at least one woman in Israel with some perceptiveness as she named her son, who was born in the midst of that event, “Ichabod,” meaning “no glory,” as she declared “The glory has departed from Israel” (1 Sam 4:21-22). Now I realize that she was referring to the loss of the ark, but there’s no way the ark would have been stolen had the presence of God – His glory (splendor, honor), not already departed from the people of Israel.
But there’s more to the story. Eli was the High Priest (spiritual authority) and judge (political authority) over Israel in those days. 1 Samuel 2:12-17 tells us that Eli’s sons were evil and that they did “make the LORD’S people to transgress” (1 Sam 2:24). 1 Samuel 3:13 makes it very clear that God held Eli responsible for the actions of his sons, so much so that God told Eli that his toleration of their evil deeds would cost his lineage the priesthood, that they would be “cut off” (1 Sam 2:31), “because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (1 Sam 3:13).
Today, “we the church” (spiritual) and “we the people” (political) are the spiritual and political authority in the land. We, like a parent, produce the offspring of political parties and movements through our establishing and supporting of the same. When those institutions go astray and “make the people to transgress” the Biblical or Constitutional standards, then we, the Christian-conservative-religious right, are as responsible for tolerating such as Eli was responsible for the conduct of his sons.
The Christian-conservative-religious right is not a victim of the neo-con establishment leadership of the Republican Party nor of the compromised candidates that they promote. We’re not the victims of these, we’re their enablers, so long as we support, participate in, vote for or have anything to do with such. Based on the example of God’s dealings with Eli, the Christian-conservative-religious right that has created and supported the now compromised conservative movement, Republican Party, or Biblically unqualified and Constitutionally unfit candidates, can expect to be held responsible for the actions of these and be “cut off” for tolerating it.
Am I forecasting the demise or even the end of America? No, No, No – Not at all! America was born in revival, forged in a great awakening, established in an act of reliance upon divine providence and given a Constitution that secured God’s blessings of liberty on the land. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” America is no accident. God placed this nation here on purpose, for His purpose, and His purpose will not be thwarted.
The only question is who, what and which generation will offer themselves to the use of His purpose. My concern is that this year’s elections marked the Christian-conservative-religious right’s step across the line of demarcation and the disqualification of its institutions and movements from use as an instrument for God’s healing and restoring of the land just like Eli and his sons disqualified themselves from the priesthood in Israel.
But to me that’s good news as it should SET US FREE from obligation to and continued reliance upon a debauched political party, a movement that has gone astray and candidates that do not represent Biblical and Constitutional principles. It should SET US FREE from the self degradation that comes from the quest for political power and the continual prostituting of ourselves to get it. It should SET US FREE to return to God, to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, to repent and return to His right paths free from concern for political affiliations, political clout, political power or a seat at the table. It should SET US FREE to turn to God and ask Him to restore to us the knowledge of His pure and right ways and to walk in them free of any concern for the outcome.
I’m not calling for withdrawal from the political arena. I’m calling for liberation from any entity or movement that has departed from the Biblical and Constitutional path. I’m calling for political activism to return to its only just and legitimate purpose – the declaring of the will of the sovereign and the counsels of His wisdom for a civil society.
If we raise up and support candidates for public office who honor God, uphold the Constitution and advocate for liberty and they lose at the ballot box, then we will have the victory of knowing that we have honored God and that He will honor us (“For those who honor Me I will honor” 1 Sam 2:30). And if we give ourselves to supporting such candidates and they win, then we win the honor of having been found as vessels fit for the master’s use in bringing healing to the land.
Let 2012 be the year of liberation from compromised political institutions and concern for winning at the ballot box. Let 2013 be the first year of returning to God and God alone; of returning to His right paths; of asking Him to restore to us the knowledge of the principles of good government once understood by our nation’s founders and the courage to not stray from them.
God never needed the conservative movement, the conservative movement needed God. God never needed the Republican Party, the Republican Party needed God. Any party, movement or ism that does not have the LORD as its first, last and only purpose and His presence and glory as its strength and hope, is just a dead, gutted fish, waiting to rot and stink.
God is not looking for a political party or movement that is strong enough to give Him the victory, He is looking for a people who are fully committed to Him so that he can show them His strength.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…(2 Chronicles 16:9)
Ichabod – The Real Message of the 2012 Election, can be purchased as a paperback book at lulu.com (click here for direct link).