Law

Parting the Red Seas of Life

When Israel left Egypt, they walked away from a past of servitude, brutality, dehumanization, and pain into a future of redefined moral values, total freedom, and adventure with God.  They were carved out to become a community that would serve as the historical framework within which the Messiah, the Savior of the world, would be revealed. They became recipients and custodians of strict dietary, social, spiritual, health, and legislative laws for that same reason. Their entire culture was drastically changed. But at the Red Sea their past began to close in on them with all its horrendous and cruel bondage. Their unfolding freedom and promising future was suddenly threatened by the churning and menacing waters of the sea. The Red Sea was literally an open grave. Precipitous mountains and rocks stood on either side, and a massive army wielding formidable military weapons was closing in on them from behind. There seemed to be no way of escape for them. It seemed as if their short-lived freedom would soon be snuffed out. The way things appeared, it was more reasonable to surrender and be led back into slavery than to pursue Moses’ ill-conceived and abortive attempt to free them. Unarmed former slaves were no match for a renowned world Empire’s seasoned army. But God had other plans. He never leads us backwards. His plans are to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Call onto Me, He says to us, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know, (Jeremiah 33:3). Moses called out to God on behalf of the people of Israel and God responded by commanded nature to intervene with a night wind that parted the water and paved a path for the people to cross safely to the other side on dry ground, leaving clouds of dust behind them in the middle of the sea!! Water was standing on either side like a solid wall. Sadly, Egypt mistakenly thought God’s plans for Israel were theirs, too.  Their cup of iniquity, arrogance, and irreverence was so full they assumed a sense of entitlement even toward God to their utter destruction. They believed they were entitled to be masters over other people forever. It was a fatal mistake that devastated the entire Empire.

Our painful experiences can be daunting.  Each one of us has our share of Egypt experiences, as it were. They are often characterized by painful and harrowing suffering. Sometimes, severe trials akin to a fiery furnace beset us and plunge us into seasons of darkness devoid of even the promising glimmer of distant stars against the night of anguish. Our faith in God wavers; becoming almost fickle and hollow under the burden of intense pain. Chronic unhappiness and sadness endlessly stalk us, threatening to envelop us in a seemingly inescapable blanket of gloom. I do not know what type of sorrow the reader is facing right now, but I take heart in knowing that God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, is shining in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, our Lord (2 Cor. 4: 6). God has given us Jesus Christ as our Eternal Light to guide us and carry us through our earthly pilgrimage. He is our victory. In God, the past has no power over us. He makes all things new by making a new creation of us, in His Son. Jesus has parted our Red Sea and the Enemy has lost his grip on us.

Two Types of Exodus

Moses is known to believers as the leader of that historic physical Exodus from Egypt. He was the man God used to deliver Israel from physical bondage; from the iron grip of the world’s most formidable empire then. Moses stood before Pharaoh who was regarded as a god, to demand freedom for the people of Israel with nothing in his hands but a piece of wood. But God performed unprecedented miracles with that piece of wood by the hand of Moses until Israel walked out of Egypt to their freedom in the sight of all Egypt. The exodus recorded in the Old Testament was a literal event that happened to real human beings of flesh and blood who were freed from literal slavery. This is why the authors of the New Testament exhort us to treat the record of the events in the Old Testament as our example. They are occurrences from which we can learn a lot about spirituality. But political and physical freedom do not constitute spiritual freedom. Israel struggled spiritually on their way to the Promised Land.
On Mount Sinai, God made a covenant with Israel and gave them a Moral Code, a Blueprint by which they could guard their freedom, live in prosperity, and thrive as individuals and as a nation. But Israel perpetually lapsed back into sin, even after settling down in the Promised Land. Israel was physically free, but spiritually, they lacked complete freedom. Another exodus would be necessary to accomplish spiritual freedom. Jesus came to lead this spiritual exodus. The difference between the exodus led by Moses and the one led by Jesus is that the former was limited to ancient Israelite while the latter was totally inclusive of Jew and Gentile alike. By His death and resurrection, Jesus made spiritual freedom accessible to whoever desired it. Those who believe in Him, no one else can enslave again. That is why some of the most spiritually free human beings are found in the most oppressive sociopolitical and religious environments; under despotic rule.
In actual fact, the Bible makes a startling pronouncement that no one is free (Romans 6). We are either slaves to sin or slaves unto righteousness in Christ. But those who are in Christ as slaves to righteousness are free indeed. This seems paradoxical. However, the believer has nothing to pay for deliverance from sin and by voluntarily accepting Jesus, he or she comes under His authority, not to be oppressed but to be freed from the grip of Satan. He or she enters into another kingdom, another realm where Jesus is Lord and King forever. The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets the believer free from the Law of sin and death. By being voluntarily bound to Christ, the believer becomes a free child of God and an heir to the eternal kingdom together with Jesus, our Lord.
The spectrum of the Exodus that Jesus led is characterized by unprecedented eternal benefits such as freedom from fear and eternal life. The believer passes from death unto life, and shall not come into judgment. No weapon formed against them shall prosper. They endure as trees planted by the rivers of water, in Christ Jesus.

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The Ramifications of “Killing God”

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher, a son of a Lutheran minister. His father died when he was five years old. Probably the loss of a father at such a tender age is what led him to detest religion with an unbridled fervor.
Among his literary works is the controversial parable known as the Parable of Zarathustra. In this parable, Nietzsche wrote about a momentous, cosmic catastrophe, the “death of God.”1 A mad man (probably symbolic of Nietzsche himself) announces the “death of God” to a jeering crowd of skeptics gathered in a market place for no apparent reason. The mad man proclaims hysterically, “God is dead…we have killed him.” Of course, that is impossible in the literal sense, for God is self-existent and uncaused. He is the only One whose reason for his existence lies within himself. What Nietzsche was doing here was heralding nihilism, which rejects religion and moral principles. By rejecting them, Nietzsche understood that he was rejecting their Source.
But the ramifications of having “killed God” are not lost on Nietzsche: “How can we the murderers of all murderers comfort ourselves? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now?” The magnitude of his pronouncement had the potential to unhinge the very order of life on earth, rendering everything meaningless. With the “death of God” comes the erosion of all values and morals, and the introduction of anarchy and lawlessness and unprecedented violence. Using metaphors and similes, Nietzsche admitted that nihilism could be calamitous as mankind would attempt to become his own god: “Do we not ourselves have to become gods…?” The repercussions of assuming such a morally autonomous position would result in a ghastly a debacle. Although the parable is presented in a pendulous and ambivalent manner by being both liberating and disastrous, the bottom line is that this kind of worldview would inevitably usher in an era in which the relevance of the Moral Law would be questioned if not rejected. Everything would become permissible, to echo Dostoevsky. A few decades after Nietzsche came individuals such as Sigmund Freud and others who claimed that religion was nothing more than a basic infantile intellectual level, probably classified as being at the bottom rung of the evolutionary ladder.
At the heels of the birth of such a worldview, came the 20th century; so far regarded as the bloodiest and most violent century.2 Slowly, as mankind distanced himself from the dictates of the moral values, life began to lose its sacredness. This trend continues as we hear of people getting shot or maimed or stabbed or bludgeoned to death for the most trivial reasons. Mankind is, indeed, straying through “infinite nothing.” As belief in the moral values began to wane, a wave of darkness began to encroach upon humanity, true to Nietzsche’s prophetic pronouncements: “Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?”
Nietzsche himself spent the rest of his life in an insane asylum and in the care of his family. He was silent most of the time. In his book, The Last Journey of Jack Lewis: A Conversation of C.S. Lewis with Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, Chang-Wuk Kang claims that “When he was in an insane asylum toward the end of his life [Nietzsche] recited Bible verses from time to time.” He was only 46 years old when he died in 1900.

Sources

1 Fordham University (n.d.). Modern History Sourcebook: Nietzsche: Parable of the Madman. Accessed from http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/nietzsche-madman.asp

2 Francis P. Sempa (2012). The Bloodiest Century. Accessed from http://www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2007/0103/book/book_sempa.html

Waste Management:: The Bible’s Perfect Prescription for Health

You shall have a place outside the camp and you shall go out to it; and you shall have a paddle with you; and when you sit down outside, you shall dig a hole with it, and turn back and cover up your excrement,” (Deuteronomy 23:12-13).

Waste management has become a global problem of significant proportions. The United States alone produces approximately 210 million tons of municipal solid garbage, annually. A safe and healthy waste management system is a public health imperative and a responsibility of all mankind in all societies. Hazardous waste in the form of liquids, solids, sludges as well as gases can wreak havoc to general health and well-being. Hazardous waste can also take the form of discarded pesticides and cleaning materials. An inadequate waste management system can undermine health in numerous ways. For example, we are told that the unsanitary and deplorably filthy conditions of 17th century cities became breeding grounds for flies and other vectors that transmit pathogens to human beings. Because there was no comprehensive sanitation system in place, excrement, urine and garbage lay exposed all over in streets. In the 19th century, cholera and other infectious diseases ravaged Europe simultaneously for the same reason. In the 21st century, in some countries intestinal nematode infections such as ascariasis, trichuriasis, and hookworm transmitted through soil contaminated by fecal matter are endemic due to lack of proper waste management systems. With the re-emergence of dangerously infectious diseases, medical waste has become hazardous. The World Health Organization is frantically trying to urge governments in various nations to design and implement comprehensive waste management systems. Still, a lot of people are dying from preventable diseases whose etiology stems from poor waste management.

A close examination of biblical laws concerning cleanliness, washing, and other forms of hygiene practices reveal to us that they were not merely ceremonial rituals. These laws were given to Israel to protect people from infectious diseases, contagious diseases, plagues and chronic diseases. Over three millennia ago, God gave Israel one of the fundamental principles for safeguarding their health in the biblical text quoted above. This was a comprehensive law that, from a public health perspective, addressed hygiene, environmental pollution and sanitation. If properly applied, universally, this law could contribute significantly to a global reduction in the burden of infectious diseases. This law laid the groundwork for modern sanitary laws and waste management. Learn more from the book, The Perfect Prescription by Reigh Simuzoshya from Amazon.com