5/13/15

America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part III) by Dave Miller, Ph.D.



http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=1901

America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part III)

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

[Editors’ Note: Part I & II of this three-part series appeared in the June and July issues. Part III follows below, and continues, without introductory comments, where the second article ended.]

PRESIDENTIAL OATH OF OFFICE

Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States gives the precise wording of the oath of office to be taken by every individual who is elected to the presidency (“Presidential Oaths...”). Conspicuously absent from the oath are the closing words so familiar to our ears: “So help me God.” When did these final four words that affirm belief in the God of the Bible begin to be added to the presidential oath of office? The custom began on April 30, 1789 when the very first President sworn into office, George Washington, took it upon himself to add the words. Every President thereafterhas followed Washington’s lead by adding the words “so help me God.” The oath mandated for the Vice President (and all other government employees), which is set out in the U.S. Code, actually mandates the phrase “so help me God” (2002, 5USC3331). What’s more, history records that after taking the oath, George Washington then leaned down and kissed the Bible (“President George...,” n.d.)! That tradition was followed by his successors until Benjamin Pierce broke the precedent in 1853, yet all have continued the traditions of placing their hand on the Bible and repeating “so help me God” at the conclusion of the oath (“Inaugurals of Presidents...”). Unconstitutional? Separation of church and state?

PUBLIC EDUCATION

The public school system of today differs radically from the public education that was in effect from America’s beginning. For all practical purposes, God and the Bible have now been banned from public schools and Christian connections have been largely purged. What a far cry from early American schools where the religious and moral education of youth was paramount. It is a historical fact that the Bible was the central focus of American education from the very beginning—the first book in the classroom. The Bible was used, not only to teach content, but to teach a child how to read, memorize, recite, and even write (“The Story of...,” 2001).

New England Primer

The first textbook in the American school room was the New England Primer, extremely popular throughout the 1700s and 1800s. It was replete with Christian and Bible content (New England..., 1805). For example, page two of the 1805 edition has “A Divine Song of Praise to God, for a Child.” Page eleven gives “Agur’s Prayer,” taken directly from Proverbs 30:8-9, and “Duty of Children towards their Parents,” which simply quotes Matthew 15:4 and Ephesians 6:1. Pages 12-16 teach the alphabet using rhymed references to the Bible, including: “B—Thy life to mend, this Book attend”; “P—Peter denies, his Lord and cries”; “Q—Queen Esther comes, in Royal State, to save the Jews, from dismal Fate”; “R—Rachel doth mourn, for her First-born”; “S—Samuel anoints, whom God appoints”; “Z—Zaccheus he, did climb the tree, his Lord to see.” Page 17 offers “Moral Precepts for Children” followed by “The Lord’s Prayer.” Pages 19-21 have “A Cradle Hymn, by Dr. Watts” with numerous references to Christ. Page 21 has the familiar bedtime rhyme: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” This rhyme is followed by: “Good Children must: Fear God all day, parents obey, no false thing say, by no sin stray, love Christ always, in secret pray, mind little play, make no delay, in doing good.” Pages 22-29 recount the death of John Rodgers, “minister of the gospel,” who “died courageously for the gospel of Jesus Christ” at the hands of a Catholic queen. Pages 30-56 offer “The Shorter Catechism” consisting of scores of questions and answers from the Bible, concluding with “Some short and easy Questions”:
Q: Who made you? A: God
Q: Who redeemed you? A: Jesus Christ
Q: Who sanctifies and preserves you? A: The Holy Ghost
Q: Of what are you made? A: Dust
Q: What doth that teach you? A: To be humble and mindful of death.
Q: For what end was [sic] you made? A: To serve God
Q: How must you serve Him? A: In spirit and in truth
From pages 57-67, the student was treated to “A Dialogue Between Christ, a Youth, and the Devil” in which a child is encouraged to make the right decisions in life in preparation for death. Pages 68-70 consist of “Questions and Answers out of the Holy Scriptures.” Page 71 has “A short Prayer to be used every Morning” and “A short prayer to be used every Evening”—the very thing banned by theU.S. Supreme Court in the 1960s. The final page (p. 72) closes with a poem that concludes with 1 Corinthians 15:55. This premiere American public school textbook is so thoroughly saturated with Bible teaching that it could just as easily be used in a church’s Sunday morning Bible class!

Blue-Back Speller

The next significant American public school textbook, Noah Webster’s The American Spelling Bookpublished in 1787, revised in 1829 and renamed The Elementary Spelling Book (nicknamed “Blue-Back Speller”), dominated public education from the late 1700s through the Civil War, “selling some 70 million copies into the 20th century” (Monaghan, 2002, 25[2]; cf. Monaghan, 1983). It, too, is literally laced with references to God, the Bible, Christianity, and Christian moral principles—all now deemed politically incorrect and unconstitutional. For example, the following sample sentences were designed to develop the student’s ability to read, pronounce, and build vocabulary [NOTE: Bold, bracketed material has been added to identify direct biblical citation]:
A rude girl will romp in the street (p. 24).
Good boys and girls will act well (p. 24).
The Holy Bible is the book of God (p. 26).
To filch is to steal. We must not filch (p. 27).
Strong drink will debase a man (p. 28).
Teachers like to see their pupils polite to each other (p. 28).
Good men obey the laws of God (p. 29).
We go to church on the first day of the week (p. 30).
God will bless those who do his will (p. 32).
The preacher is to preach the gospel (p. 41).
Felony is a crime that may be punished with death (p. 42).
That idle boy is a very lazy fellow (p. 44).
God made the ear, and He can hear (p. 46).
The gambler wishes to get money without earning it (p. 49).
Men devoted to mere amusement misemploy their time (p. 50).
Washington was not a selfish man. He labored for the good of his country more than for himself (p. 50).
We punish bad men to prevent crimes (p. 51).
The drunkard’s face will publish his vice and his disgrace (p. 51).
The devil is the great adversary of man (p. 52). [1 Peter 5:8]
Labor makes us strong and healthy (p. 58).
A vagrant is a wandering, lazy fellow (p. 58).
We are apt to live forgetful of our continual dependence on the will of God (p. 66).
The drunkard’s course is progressive; he begins by drinking a little, and shortens his life by drinking to excess (p. 67).
Children should answer questions politely (p. 68).
God governs the world in infinite wisdom; the Bible teaches us that it is our duty to worship Him (p. 69).
It is a solemn thing to die and appear before God (p. 69).
Children should respect and obey their parents (p. 70).
Satan afflicted Job with sore boils (p. 72). [Job 2:7]
“If sinners entice thee, consent thou not,” [Proverbs 1:10] but withdraw from their company (p. 72).
The chewing of tobacco is a useless habit (p. 74).
We should be attentive and helpful to strangers (p. 75). [Hebrews 13:2]
Parents deserve the kind treatment of children (p. 75).
Prayer is a duty... (p. 75).
Confess your sins and forsake them (p. 76). [Proverbs 23:10]
The wicked transgress the laws of God (p. 76).
Before you rise in the morning or retire at night, give thanks to God for his mercies, and implore the continuance of his protection (p. 79).
The laws of nature are sustained by the immediate presence and agency of God (p. 80).
The Heavens declare an Almighty power that made them (p. 80). [Psalm 19:1]
How can a young man cleanse his way? (p. 82). [Psalm 119:9]
Oh, how love I Thy law! (p. 82). [Psalm 119:97]
Let us lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can corrupt (p. 88). [Matthew 6:20]
Humility is the prime ornament of the Christian (p. 91).
A love of trifling amusements is derogatory to the Christian character (p. 92).
God is the divine legislator... (p. 98).
It is the duty of every good man to inspect the moral conduct of the man who is offered as a legislator at our yearly elections. If the people wish for good laws, they may have them, by electing good men (pp. 98-99).
Noah and his family outlived all the people who lived before the flood (p. 101).
God will forgive those who repent of their sins, and live a holy life (p. 101).
Thy testimonies, O Lord, are very sure; holiness becometh thine house forever (p. 101).[Psalm 93:5]
Do not attempt to deceive God; nor to mock him with solemn words whilst your heart is set to do evil (p. 101)
A holy life will disarm death of its sting (p. 101). [1 Corinthians 15:56]
God will impart grace to the humble penitent (p. 101). [1 Peter 5:5]
Abusive words irritate the passions, but “a soft answer turneth away wrath” (p. 104). [Proverbs 15:1]
Good manners are always becoming; ill manners are evidence of low breeding (p. 105).
The heathen are those people who worship idols, or who know not the true God (p. 115).
Those who enjoy the light of the gospel, and neglect to observe its precepts, are more criminal than the heathen (p. 115).
It is every man’s duty to bequeath to his children a rich inheritance of pious precepts (p. 115).
Bad boys sometimes know what a whip is by their feelings. This is a kind of knowledge which good boys dispense with (p. 120).
“Take away your exactions from my people.” Ezek. xiv.9. (p. 121).
Examine the Scriptures daily and carefully, and set an example of good works (p. 121). [Acts 17:11; Titus 2:7]
The Bible, that is, the Old and the New Testament, contains the Holy Scriptures (p. 135).
Whatever is wrong is a deviation from right, or from the just laws of God or man (p. 136).
How happy men would be if they would always love what is right and hate what is wrong (p. 136). [Amos 5:15]
This volume also contains several fables that teach a variety of lessons. Consider Fable 1, titled “Of the Boy that Stole Apples”:
An old man found a rude boy upon one of his trees stealing apples, and desired him to come down; but the young saucebox told him plainly he would not. “Won’t you?” said the old man, “then I will fetch you down;” so he pulled up some turf or grass and threw at him; but this only made the youngster laugh, to think the old man should pretend to beat him down from the tree with grass only.
“Well, well,” said the old man, “if neither words nor grass will do, I must try what virtue there is in stones;” so the old man pelted him heartily with stones, which soon made the young chap hasten down from the tree and beg the old man’s pardon (pp. 140-141).
By today’s standards, one would expect the outcome of this story to be that the police arrived on the scene, arrested and jailed the old man for injury to a child, followed by a civil suit filed by the boy’s parents for child abuse, thereby destroying the old man’s reputation and sending him into bankruptcy. In contrast, the book gives the following moral: “If good words and gentle means will not reclaim the wicked, they must be dealt with in a more severe manner” (p. 141).
Observe that a central purpose of the “Blue-Back Speller” was to instill in children proper conduct (i.e., what is courteous and polite vs. what is rude and socially unacceptable), moral integrity (evils of alcohol, lying, stealing, selfishness, etc.), and citizenship (patriotism, respect for the Founders, and love for God and country). Indeed, such truths and insights cultivate the soul, buoy the spirit, and prepare a child to lead a productive, disciplined, honorable life. In sharp contradistinction, the removal of these basic precepts from public education has had a catastrophic, deleterious effect on the moral sensibilities and social stability of the nation.

McGuffey’s Reader

A third prominent source of public education was the McGuffey’s Reader. First printed in 1836, the series consisted of six readers corresponding to six levels of difficulty. With some 120 million copies sold between 1836 and 1890, “[p]ractically every American who attended public schools during the second half of the nineteenth century learned moral and ethical lessons from McGuffey’s Reader” (“McGuffey’s Reader,” 2005). These volumes, like those already noted, were riddled with a biblical worldview and the essentiality of Christian morality. In fact, in the Publisher’s Preface to the “Parent/Teacher Guide,” the President of Mott Media made the following insightful assessment of the views of McGuffey and the corresponding impact on American civilization:
How would McGuffey teach reading if he were here today? First, he would be concerned about the content of pupils’ reading. The content would promote moral growth and excellence of mind in habits, attitudes, and literary tastes. And morality, in McGuffey’s thinking, was closely aligned with the Christian religion; no other foundation could produce true morality (“McGuffey Readers...,” n.d., emp. added).
A quick perusal of the various tables of contents demonstrates the point. In the second reader (dated 1836), the readings include “Praise to God” (p. 77), “About Doing Good at Play” (p. 87), “The Honest Boy and the Thief” (p. 142), “The Lord’s Prayer” (p. 162), “The Disobedient Girl” (p. 166), “Story about Joseph” (p. 198), “The Ten Commandments” (p. 229), and “About Using Profane Language” (p. 233). In the third reader (dated 1837), the listing includes “The Goodness of God” (p. 157), “Touch not—Taste not—Handle not” [Colossians 2:21] (p. 208), and “Gospel Invitation” (p. 238). The fourth reader (dated 1838) includes “Divine Providence” (p. 168), “Scripture Lesson” (p. 182), “Thirsting after Righteousness” [Matthew 5:6] (p. 216), “Satan and Death at the Gate of Hell” (p. 232), “Christian Hymn of Triumph...” (p. 309), and “The Proverbs of Solomon” (p. 411). The revised edition of the fifth reader includes “The Bible the Best of Classics” (p. 350) and “My Mother’s Bible” (p. 351).

The University

Moving to higher education, what has become of our universities? Sadly, over the last half century, many of the state universities of America have been infiltrated, subverted, and thoroughly transformed into intellectual cesspools advocating every imaginable left-wing, anti-Christian, anti-American, socialistic ideology. The universities are now controlled by political and social liberalism, and many of the professors are atheistic, agnostic, and humanistic. The universities bear a large share of the blame for the silencing of God and the jettisoning of the Bible that has taken place among the last three generations.
But it was not always so. Indeed, from the very beginning of the nation—and before—the colleges were founded by ardent advocates of Christianity who designed these institutions of higher learning for a singular purpose: to promote the Christian religion among the inhabitants of America. Such a claim sounds preposterous. Yet, the historical facts are plain and undeniable. As one example, simply visit the official Web site for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and see with one’s own eyes the wording of the original state constitution as it related to the establishment and ongoing purpose of Harvard. Part the Second, Chapter V, Section 1 pertains to “THE UNIVERSITY AT CAMBRIDGE, AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF LITERATURE, ETC.”:
Article I. Whereas our wise and pious ancestors, so early as the year one thousand six hundred and thirty-six, laid the foundation of Harvard College, in which university many persons of great eminence have, by the blessing of God, been initiated in those arts and sciences, which qualified them for public employments, both in church and state: and whereas the encouragement of arts and sciences, and all good literature, tends to the honor of God, the advantage of the Christian religion, and the great benefit of this and the other United States of America—it is declared, that the President and Fellows of Harvard College...shall have, hold, use, exercise and enjoy, all the powers, authorities, rights, liberties, privileges, immunities and franchises, which they now have or are entitled to have (Constitution..., emp. added).
What was the purpose of education? To encourage people to honor God and to demonstrate the “advantage,” i.e., superiority of, the Christian religion to the benefit of the entire country! Indeed, the 1636 rules of Harvard included the following declaration:
Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17.3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom, let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of Him (Prov. 2,3). Every one shall so exercise himself in reading the Scriptures twice a day that he shall be ready to give such an account of his proficiency therein (as quoted in Pierce, 1833, p. 5, emp. added).
The other universities at the beginning of America possessed the same orientation. So the facts are that from the 1700s to the middle of the twentieth century, American public schools were Bible-oriented. The textbooks immersed the children in the moral principles and religious doctrines of Christianity. What a tragic, heartbreaking, lethal transformation has come over American public education!

NATIONAL SONGS

Many songs and hymns have come to characterize our national consciousness. “God of our Fathers” was selected as the official hymn of the Centennial observance commemorating the adoption of theConstitution (Smith, 2000). The lyrics reaffirm national sentiments regarding the role of God and the one true religion in America’s history:
God of our fathers, Whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies Our grateful songs before Thy thronearise.
Thy love divine hath led us in the past, In this free land by Thee our lot is cast,
Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way, Lead us from night to never ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
Francis Scott Key, 35-year-old poet-lawyer, was aboard ship on September 13, 1814 eight miles away when he witnessed the valiant defense of Fort McHenry by American forces during the British bombardment in the war of 1812. The incident inspired him to write the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He later stated: “Then, in that hour of deliverance, my heart spoke. Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song?” (“Fort McHenry...”). Though written in 1814, it was not until 1931 that the song was adopted by Congress as the official national anthem. Few Americans are aware that the fourth verse reaffirms the historic national attitude toward God:
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
While studying at Andover Theological Seminary in 1831, Samuel Francis Smith wrote the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” also known simply as “America” (“Patriotic Melodies”). Observe the fourth verse:
Our fathers’ God, to thee, Author of liberty, to thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light.
Protect us by thy might, Great God our King.
It was during the American Civil War in 1861, while visiting a Union Army camp on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C., that Julia Ward Howe received the inspiration to write the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (“Battle Hymn...”). The song is replete with allusions to Christianity:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps.
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel [Genesis 3:15],
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free;
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.
Few today realize that “hallelujah” is Hebrew for “praise the Lord.”
The words to “America the Beautiful” were written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893, after an inspiring trip to the top of Pikes Peak, Colorado (“America the...”). It, too, acknowledges the historic national belief in and commitment to God:
O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine.

CEMETERIES

What will the ACLU do about our cemeteries, in which graves are frequently marked with crosses and words from the Bible? Even our military (i.e, government) cemeteries are characterized by their connection to the Christian religion. In fact, in our military cemeteries in foreign lands (eight World War I and twelve World War II), with the occasional exception of a star of David, each constitutes a visually stunning sea of white, marble crosses (“Cemeteries”). The allusions to the Bible and the Christian religion in the cemeteries throughout America are legion.

MISCELLANEOUS INDICATORS IN PUBLIC LIFE

Other indications of the Christian religion characterizing public life in America thoroughly permeate history. For example, many Americans have some awareness of the famed Pony Express—a novel mail service that operated from April, 1860 to November, 1861, enabling letters sent from St. Joseph, Missouri to arrive in San Francisco in a phenomenal 10 days (as opposed to months later). But few know that every Pony Express rider was required to carry in his saddle bags a copy of the Bible(“The Bible,” n.d.)! Each rider was also required to take the following oath:
I, ____, do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while I am an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God (“Pony Express History,” n.d., emp. added).
What about the fact that a Bible (provided by the Gideons—see “History of the Association,” n.d.) is located in virtually every hotel and motel room in the country? Not a Quran or the Buddhist Patakis. Further, consider the so-called “Blue laws” that were in force nationwide from before the beginning of the nation in which most businesses were required to close on Sunday in observance of the day of Christian worship (“Blue law,” 2006). Yet, these, too, since the 1960s, have been nearly expunged by the systematic silencing of God in recent years (Miller, 2003). What about the placement of crosses on the nation’s highways commemorating those who have died in automobile accidents? What about the myriad of names for geographical locations across the country that have come straight from the Bible? Everything from Bethlehem (in 19 states!) and Antioch (in 20 states) to Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), Texas and Las Cruces (The Crosses), New Mexico. All names that begin with San (San Francisco, San Antonio, San Diego, etc.) or Santa (Santa Fe, Santa Monica, Santa Anita, etc.) are of Christian derivation.

SUMMARY

Such manifestations of America’s intimate affiliation with the God of the Bible and the Christian religion are legion. They could be multiplied many times over. From the very beginning of the country, and extending for some 180+ years, this country claimed that the God of the Bible was the God of the nation. But in just 50 years, subversive forces have been working overtime to expel God from culture and American civilization. They have accomplished so much that the America of the 21st century is in many respects a different country from the America of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. How so? Listen carefully to the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian and politician, who visited America in 1831 and 1832, traveling the country, surveying American life. Upon his return to France, he penned his monumental Democracy in America (1835), which included the following astounding observations:
[T]here is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully feltover the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.... Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate.... [T]he revolutionists of America are obliged to profess an ostensible respect for Christian morality and equity, which does not permit them to violate wantonly the laws that oppose their designs.... [W]hile the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust.... I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion—for who can search the human heart?—but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.... The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.... How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie is not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? And what can be done with a people who are their own masters if they are not submissive to the Deity? (1835, 1:303-307, emp. added).
Haunting questions, indeed.

CONCLUSION

What can be done with Americans when they no longer acknowledge or submit to the God of the Bible, when they no longer believe that a nation is blessed only if its God is the Lord? On March 11, 1792, the father of our country made the following statement—particularly chilling in view of the specter of terrorism that hangs over the nation:
I am sure there never was a people who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that Agency which was so often manifested during our revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them (Washington, 1838, 10:222-223, emp. added).
In a speech delivered on February 23, 1852, second generation American, Daniel Webster, warned what would happen to America if she ever displaced God from His rightful position over the nation. His words were eerily prophetic in that they now describe America to a tee:
[I]f we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity (1903, 13:492-493, emp. added).
Ask yourself four questions: Are Americans—on a widespread scale—rejecting Christian instruction and authorityThe polls show that fewer and fewer attend church service or follow the Bible. Are Americans violating the rules of eternal justiceLook at the unprecedented numbers of lawbreakers occupying overcrowded prisons, and the shift in the justice system that commenced in the 1960s favoring “criminal rights.” Are Americans trifling with the injunctions of morality?Unbelievably, we are actually having a national discussion on how to define marriage! Are Americansrecklessly destroying the ConstitutionLiberal Supreme Court justices are looking to the courts of the world for their opinions and federal judges are legislating from the bench—even overriding majority votes of the people. The haunting answer to these four questions is a resounding “Yes!” How, then, can we as a nation possibly escape catastrophe? We cannot.
Observe carefully how the words of Judges 2:10 so aptly describe the cataclysmic shift that has taken place in America between the World War II generation—“the greatest generation any society has ever produced” (“Tom Brokaw...”)—and those that have come after: “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.” Since World War II, succeeding generations of Americans no longer acknowledge God and Christ and they are woefully ignorant of what God has done for America. A similar uncanny resemblance may be seen in the warning God issued to Solomon and the nation over which he served as king:
[I]f 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. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.... But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.... [E]veryone who passes by it will be astonished and say, “Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?” Then they will answer, “Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers...and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them (2 Chronicles 7:14-22, emp. added).
With the passing of the World War II generation, succeeding generations of Americans have come on the scene who have no interest in the higher, nobler aspects of human existence, cultivating moral excellence and the virtuous development of the human spirit. To show the extent to which Americans have degenerated in their sensibilities, who would have ever imagined that the day could ever come that an American Idol contestant would generate more votes than any U.S. President has received (August, et al., 2006, p. 23)? As the population of America continues its progressive entrenchment against God, the outcome is inevitable: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17, emp. added). Indeed, as Americans turn their back on the God of their fathers, so God will cease to bestow His protection and blessings. The only hope for America is to experience a nationwide spiritual awakening by returning to God and begging His forgiveness. Our only hope is for a sizeable percentage of Americans to rise up and act upon the factuality of the psalmist’s words: “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.... Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:8,12).

REFERENCES

“America the Beautiful,” [On-line], URL: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/america.htm#history.
August, Melissa, et al. (2006), “Milestones,” Time, 167[23]:June 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1198884,00.html.
“Battle Hymn of the Republic,” [On-line], URL: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/h/bhymnotr.htm.
“The Bible” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.xphomestation.com/bible.html.
“Blue law” (2006), Wikipedia, [On-line], URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law.
“Cemeteries,” American Battle Monuments Commission, [On-line], URL: http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/index.php.
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, [On-line], URL: http://www.mass.gov/legis/const.htm.
“Fort McHenry: Birthplace of our National Anthem,” [On-line], URL: http://www.bcpl.net/~etowner/anthem.html.
“History of the Association” (no date), The Gideons International, [On-line], URL: http://www.gideons.org/.
“Inaugurals of Presidents of the United States: Some Precedents and Notable Events,” Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://rs6.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/pinotable.html.
“McGuffey Readers—Hard Cover Samples” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.howtotutor.com/samples1.htm.
“McGuffey’s Reader” (2005), Ohio Historical Society, [On-line], URL: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=1469.
Miller, Sara B. (2003), “In Battle for Sunday, the ‘Blue Laws’ are Falling,” The Christian Science Monitor, December 5, [On-line], URL: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1205/p01s02-usju.htm.
Monaghan, Charles (2002), “Webster to McGuffey: A Sketch of American Literacy Textbooks,” History of Reading News, Spring, [On-line], URL: http://www.historyliteracy.org/scripts/search_display .php?Article_ID=182.
Monaghan, E. Jennifer (1983), A Common Heritage: Noah Webster’s Blue-Back Speller (Hamden, CT.: Archon Books).
New England Primer (1805), [On-line], URL: http://www.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/his341/nep1805contents.html.
“Patriotic Melodies,” [On-line], URL: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ cocoon/ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.200000012/default.html.
Pierce, Benjamin (1833), A History of Harvard University (Cambridge, MA: Brown, Shattuck, & Co.).
“Pony Express History” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://www.xphomestation.com/facts.html#J.
“President George Washington, 1789” (no date), Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, [On-line], URL: http:// inaugural.senate.gov/history/chronology/gwashington1789.htm.
“Presidential Oaths of Office,” Library of Congress, [On-line], URL: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/pihtml/pioaths.htm.
Smith, Gail (2000), “A Celebration of History,” [On-line], URL: http://www.melbay.com/creativekeyboard/jul00/history.html.
“The Story of American Public Education: Evolving Classroom” (2001), Alabama Public Television/PBS, [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/ kcet/publicschool/evolving_classroom/books.html.
Tocqueville, Alexis de (1835), Democracy in America (New York, NY: Alfred Knopf, 1994 reprint).
“Tom Brokaw Books: The Greatest Generation,” [On-line], URL: http://www.randomhouse.com/features/brokaw/books_greatest.html.
U.S. Code (2002), [On-line], URL: http://frwebgate4.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/waisgate.cgi?WAISdocID=17233813733+1+0+0&WAISaction=retrieve.
Washington, George (1838), The Writings of George Washington, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston, MA: American Stationers).
Webster, Daniel (1903), The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Co.).

From Jim McGuiggan... Musings on Leadership (10)

Musings on Leadership (10)

100. There are definite limits to the authority of elected leaders. Only the Christ has all authority; the rest of us are limited.
 There is the limitation of our finiteness. It's to their everlasting honour that many leaders have no aspirations to Godhood. These are humble men and women who precisely because they are wise and knowledgeable, know their limitations. They will bravely make unpopular decisions when they are convicted they should. But they confess ignorance and indecision when they feel that way. No one has the wisdom, time or energy to control everything.
101. There is the limitation of foundation principles. Those whose leadership is based on and rests in foundational principles, cannot repudiate those principles without denying their leadership. Political leaders whose power is a result of the exercise of the freedom of the people, cannot  annihilate the freedom of the people. The minister of the Word whose authority is the  right to proclaim and expound that Word cannot denigrate that Word. Shepherds whose role is created by God cannot turn from God. For Israel to deny Yahweh is to  destroy themselves. For the Church to deny God in Jesus Christ is to deny itself. Authority which is gained and shaped by the Bible cannot go behind the Bible or jettison it.
102. There is the limitation of the congregation’s intention. In Acts 6:1-6 the seven were given authority over the food distribution. This was no unimportant task as can be seen by the kind of people who were called to do it; but the apostolic group saw it as a task which differed from their own. So while it was related to all the other work of the Body, the seven were only authorised to exercise rule in the area of benevolence and issues of love and justice related to it.  The men and women chosen by an assembly to minister to needs in the education of the assembly and its children, would do well to cheerfully perform what they cheerfully undertook and leave others to do that which is committed to them. It takes your breath away, however, to see some who have been given some authority proceed to ramrod everything. (There are horror stories told of disciples having to ask permission from elders before they can  begin a ‘visitation’ evening or a ‘special missionary collection’ in their class. And worse, where having asked permission to visit people or send a few pounds each month to some missionary, permission has been refused.
103. There is the limitation of God’s intention. It was never God’s intention for leaders to regiment the lives of his people. I’ve heard it argued that since elders are to give account for the souls of the assembly that they must know their income so they could determine how much the disciple should contribute each week. That would necessitate them knowing the disciple’s ‘outgoing’ as well as his ‘incoming’. How much his rent or mortgage, the children’s medicine, clothes, etc., etc., cost. Can you imagine? Why wouldn’t elders have to know everything about everything about a disciple? Wise leaders only smile at all this.
104. God has always intended that leaders enlighten, edify, inspire, mature and challenge his people and where necessary, to rebuke and discipline. But wise leaders have always been aware that a line exists between the public and private life of a disciple. Evil is unacceptable in either sector but leaders aren’t supposed to be ‘secret police’, ferreting out details of a disciple’s personal development in Christ. Where public behaviour (or private behaviour which becomes known to leaders) is a threat to the Church’s testimony for Christ, the disciple’s own life or the life of another, they must and will deal with it. (There are numerous ways known to wise leadership to deal with such problems.) Leaders are not God and God doesn’t hold them responsible for not being God. He does hold them responsible when they act as though they were God! (See Isaiah 14:4,12-14 and Ezek 28:2-10.)
105. Communication is a two-way street. It’s right, but it isn’t enough for leaders to keep the assembly informed about what they are doing. Leaders are asking for trouble if they don’t tell the assembly what they are up to; but they are asking for trouble just as real and as significant if they don’t look for input from the assembly. Good leadership involves ‘knowing’ the people and there can be no knowing of the people (to the degree that that is possible) without listening to them.
106. Communication problems are less a matter of ‘lack of information’ and more a ‘lack of trust’. Let’s be clear about it, there is no communication where there is no exchange of information so no one is excused the obligation of disclosure. Just the same, we’ve all watched (or been part of, God help us) while people poured out endless words which brought them no closer. It wasn’t because the speech was hard to understand and the truth is, interpreters weren’t needed. In the worst possible sense, it was a dialogue of the deaf. Where trust is absent, words aren’t the cure. Wise leaders will do what they can to establish genuine trust between themselves and those with whom they have committed themselves to communicate.
107. Concerning ‘business meetings’. Right or wrong, I’m one of those who believe that ultimate congregational ‘decision-making’ is to be in the hands of the males. (The bulk of life’s decisions have nothing to do with the "congregation as a congregation" so that nearly all the decisions of a disciple’s life are no business of corporate leaders. Note previous paragraphs.)  But it is unforgivable ignorance for the males to think that they can effectively guide an assembly without taking into account the views, wisdom and warm sensitivity of the female members of the congregation; especially when the females consistently outnumber the males in assemblies.
108. I know those who become incensed at the thought of women being present at business meetings because a female vote might veto a male vote and that would be "usurping authority" over a man. Those same people allow boys to be present and to have equal power with experienced disciples when it comes to a "show of hands". Business meetings need not be decision-making endeavours. They may be the perfect platform by which the voice of the assembly can be heard. The leaders, giving the females and even teenagers their voice, can gain insights which will enable them to make informed and just decisions in areas where the leaders most end up doing that. It's sheer nonsense to believe that the good wives of good shepherds do not influence their husband’s view of things. We’d be ashamed of any man who refused to learn from a female. Then there are the males who have no place in the corporate leadership group but who are intensely interested in the direction and welfare of the assembly. These should be encouraged to attend business meetings where they can see wise leadership functioning and grow in that direction.
109. It isn’t possible to have "general assembly" business meetings on each occasion but these should be a regular feature of congregational deliberations. That the leaders should meet on their own is perfectly legitimate but "general assembly" meetings should not be uncommon. Nor will all the members wish to be present at business meetings. Most people in an assembly are more than glad that there are those who make congregational decisions for them. This is not an abdication of their responsibility; it’s just that they feel that wise and devoted leaders can easily handle the thousand smaller issues which must be decided on without having a congregational referendum every thirty days. It would cure a lot of discontent if everyone was encouraged to attend at least one business meeting. Those who feel they are missing out on something when they have no input into the countless decisions which are made would learn they’re not missing out on anything that robs them of personal dignity. Most business meetings are a necessary bore. The issues discussed are the nuts and bolts of congregational activity.
110. Where something jugular is to be discussed which involves the whole assembly, it can easily be announced ahead of time and the whole assembly can be invited to the proceedings to hear and contribute if they wish. This kind of thing is common in Scripture. You can see it illustrated in Acts 15 and in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Should they feel confident that the leaders are more than capable of handling the matter without their presence, the interested disciple will await the outcome which will be communicated to the assembly by the leadership in due course.

111. There are times when the leaders will meet alone to deal with some serious (but as yet, not public) matter of discipline, or other. We all know of occasions when it would be irresponsible to make public, matters that should be discreetly dealt with (but dealt with!) as privately as possible to protect families and reputations from needless danger. All people of good will and critical ability gladly concede this and are happy that they have such leaders to so minister in these situations.

112. Wise leaders may often concede to congregational wishes when nothing jugular is at stake. Over and over again we see wise leaders doing this. If the leaders propose to fulfil a commitment in a certain way and a large section of the assembly feels strongly about going another way, the leaders may well back away from what they‘re convinced is a better approach. And they do it to please that section of the assembly. It isn't a jugular issue, the dissenters aren’t self-willed rebels, they’re devoted disciples and are not without wisdom in the matter. The leaders may well think more is gained by withdrawing their own plan and adopting the plan of the others. The more that's at stake, the more deliberation will be needed but it’s more than a good psychological move for leaders to concede it. It’s Christlike and since nothing jugular is at stake, peace and contentment is gained by the leaders gladly climbing down. There’s more at stake than leaders always ‘being right’ or always ‘in control’. By backing down at times, leaders would make it clear that the assembly genuinely has a voice in shaping its own congregational life.
113. Wise leaders dialogue genuinely with those who feel foundational truths are being forgotten. It cannot be right to offhandedly dismiss someone's fears that foundational truths are being lost sight of. If the fearful one is an articulate, studious and devoted disciple whose congregational loyalties are well known, leaders will have additional reasons to attend to the fears. (If the critic "has a record" as a malcontent and has a list of "fundamentals" longer than a football field, this will be taken into account when the leaders are discussing with him.)
114. With only one eye open we can all see good, wise and studious men differ on what is fundamental. Lists of essentials are numerous; they differ in length and content. It is naive to think that if two men are good and good students of Scripture that that guarantees an identical list of essentials. When a passionate disagreement arises on this matter, between disciples and the leadership, the leaders will prayerfully discuss with the dissenter. If after prolonged study, there is still passionate disagreement, the leaders will ask the dissenter to hold his faith without sacrificing the unity and peace of the local assembly. If he cannot persuade the leaders that this is indeed a jugular issue and if he cannot maintain the peace of that body, the leaders will invite him and those of his persuasion to find another assembly where he and they can hold their views passionately and vocally without distressing and fragmenting the body. That way both assemblies will be benefited. Leaders will make it clear that congregational agreement on a non-jugular issue is not nearly as important as the peace and the united testimony of a local church on behalf of Christ.
115. If the dissenting disciple refuses to comply with this, a "marking" procedure will be initiated (see Rom 16:17). It‘s possible, of course, for congregational leaders to make mistakes and to lead an assembly of people into error; they have no choice, however, but to lead in the direction they understand their Lord to be pointing! They will prayerfully research, seek advice and do whatever they must to ensure that they're understanding the Scriptures correctly. Having done that, they will make their judgement accordingly and will ask outsiders to respect the autonomy of the assembly and its leadership. If they make fundamental mistakes in this area they can only go before God saying: “Lord, we misunderstood but we taught what we taught with an eye to pleasing you. We took our stand there and could do no other.” But they will not permit a voice of dissent to fragment the body over what they judge to be a non-jugular matter. And should other assemblies oppose them, should the whole ‘brotherhood’ oppose them, then it will be them against the ‘brotherhood’.

©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

From Gary... Bible Reading May 13



Bible Reading  

May 13

The World English Bible

May 13
Joshua 7, 8
Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh's anger burned against the children of Israel.
Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the land." The men went up and spied out Ai.
Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."
Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.
Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.
Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Jos 7:7 Joshua said, "Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!
Jos 7:8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!
Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"
Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?
Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff.
Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can't stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Jos 7:13 Get up! Sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, "There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you."
Jos 7:14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man.
Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "
Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected.
Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected.
Jos 7:18 He brought near his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.
Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don't hide it from me!"
Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua, and said, "I have truly sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it."
Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh.
Jos 7:24 Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
Jos 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day." All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Yahweh turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore the name of that place was called "The valley of Achor" to this day.

Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. Therefore Yahweh's anger burned against the children of Israel.
Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, "Go up and spy out the land." The men went up and spied out Ai.
Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."
Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.
Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.
Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.
Jos 7:7 Joshua said, "Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!
Jos 7:8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!
Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?"
Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?
Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff.
Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can't stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Jos 7:13 Get up! Sanctify the people, and say, 'Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, "There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you."
Jos 7:14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man.
Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.' "
Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected.
Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected.
Jos 7:18 He brought near his household man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.
Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, "My son, please give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Don't hide it from me!"
Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua, and said, "I have truly sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done.
Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it."
Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.
Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh.
Jos 7:24 Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
Jos 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day." All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Yahweh turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore the name of that place was called "The valley of Achor" to this day.

Jos 8:1 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land.
Jos 8:2 You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except its spoil and its livestock, you shall take for a plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."
Jos 8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night.
Jos 8:4 He commanded them, saying, "Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Don't go very far from the city, but all of you be ready.
Jos 8:5 I, and all the people who are with me, will approach to the city. It shall happen, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them.
Jos 8:6 They will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, 'They flee before us, like the first time.' So we will flee before them,
Jos 8:7 and you shall rise up from the ambush, and take possession of the city; for Yahweh your God will deliver it into your hand.
Jos 8:8 It shall be, when you have seized on the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do this according to the word of Yahweh. Behold, I have commanded you."
Jos 8:9 Joshua sent them out; and they went to set up the ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua stayed among the people that night.
Jos 8:10 Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
Jos 8:11 All the people, even the men of war who were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the city, and encamped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai.
Jos 8:12 He took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
Jos 8:13 So they set the people, even all the army who was on the north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city; and Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Jos 8:14 It happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at the time appointed, before the Arabah; but he didn't know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.
Jos 8:15 Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
Jos 8:16 All the people who were in the city were called together to pursue after them. They pursued Joshua, and were drawn away from the city.
Jos 8:17 There was not a man left in Ai or Beth El who didn't go out after Israel. They left the city open, and pursued Israel.
Jos 8:18 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand." Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city.
Jos 8:19 The ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and entered into the city, and took it. They hurried and set the city on fire.
Jos 8:20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.
Jos 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and killed the men of Ai.
Jos 8:22 The others came out of the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. They struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
Jos 8:23 They captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua.
Jos 8:24 It happened, when Israel had made an end of killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness in which they pursued them, and they had all fallen by the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all Israel returned to Ai, and struck it with the edge of the sword.
Jos 8:25 All that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.
Jos 8:26 For Joshua didn't draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Jos 8:27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took for prey to themselves, according to the word of Yahweh which he commanded Joshua.
Jos 8:28 So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, to this day.
Jos 8:29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at the sundown Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree, and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised a great heap of stones on it that remains to this day.
Jos 8:30 Then Joshua built an altar to Yahweh, the God of Israel, in Mount Ebal,
Jos 8:31 as Moses the servant of Yahweh commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones, on which no man had lifted up any iron. They offered burnt offerings on it to Yahweh, and sacrificed peace offerings.
Jos 8:32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
Jos 8:33 All Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, who carried the ark of Yahweh's covenant, the foreigner as well as the native; half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of Yahweh had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel.
Jos 8:34 Afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law.

Jos 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua didn't read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the foreigners who were among them.

 May 12, 13
Luke 23

Luk 23:1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate.
Luk 23:2 They began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king."
Luk 23:3 Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "So you say."
Luk 23:4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."
Luk 23:5 But they insisted, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place."
Luk 23:6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean.
Luk 23:7 When he found out that he was in Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.
Luk 23:8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him.
Luk 23:9 He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers.
Luk 23:10 The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him.
Luk 23:11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate.
Luk 23:12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other.
Luk 23:13 Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
Luk 23:14 and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and see, I have examined him before you, and found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him.
Luk 23:15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him.
Luk 23:16 I will therefore chastise him and release him."
Luk 23:17 Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast.
Luk 23:18 But they all cried out together, saying, "Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!"-
Luk 23:19 one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.
Luk 23:20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus,
Luk 23:21 but they shouted, saying, "Crucify! Crucify him!"
Luk 23:22 He said to them the third time, "Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him."
Luk 23:23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed.
Luk 23:24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done.
Luk 23:25 He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus up to their will.
Luk 23:26 When they led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus.
Luk 23:27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him.
Luk 23:28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
Luk 23:29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'
Luk 23:30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and tell the hills, 'Cover us.'
Luk 23:31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?"
Luk 23:32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death.
Luk 23:33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
Luk 23:34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.
Luk 23:35 The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!"
Luk 23:36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar,
Luk 23:37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
Luk 23:38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
Luk 23:39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!"
Luk 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Don't you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong."
Luk 23:42 He said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
Luk 23:43 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Luk 23:44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.
Luk 23:45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
Luk 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" Having said this, he breathed his last.
Luk 23:47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man."
Luk 23:48 All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts.
Luk 23:49 All his acquaintances, and the women who followed with him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Luk 23:50 Behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man
Luk 23:51 (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), from Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was also waiting for the Kingdom of God:
Luk 23:52 this man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body.
Luk 23:53 He took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid.
Luk 23:54 It was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing near.
Luk 23:55 The women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid.
Luk 23:56 They returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.