The prayer given by the guest US House of Representatives chaplain for the opening of the 117th Congress is a good window into how God is being regarded today. Not only did he include references to a “monolithic god, Brahma” but the prayer concluded by reference to a “god known by many names and by many different faiths. Amen and awomen.”
This guest chaplain is not only a member of the House of Representatives, but he is also an ordained United Methodist pastor. That it was done in public view on a notable occasion ensured that this message was heard far and wide. It makes one wonder how far God is going to let men go before He intervenes.
It is the downward spiral of denigration of God that we must be aware of and take action against. We must not become insensitive to the constant prevailing anti-God direction that is building. The guest House chaplain was reading the prevailing attitudes and trying to placate the more “progressive” element.
God often allows a great deal of time for man to dig himself a very deep hole, but it is not without repercussions down the line. “Behold, against this family I am devising disaster, from which you cannot remove your necks … for this is an evil time” (Micah 2:3).
We must not mistake God’s long-suffering with a lack of concern on His part. God grants a great deal of space for mankind to learn and change. For some of the prophets, this was a frustration as they wanted God to take action shortly after they had delivered His message. But as Habakkuk notes, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3).
The lack of a lightning bolt does not indicate that God is not aware. These are evil days and God is very aware of the evil – especially as it is directed against Him and His name. God took a long time before He intervened against Israel, but He did. “But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles …“ (Ezekiel 20:9).
We carry God’s name. We are His children. As the world moves in one direction, we need to move in the opposite – closer to God. And we need to appreciate that by carrying God’s name, we are upholding everything regarding who and what He is. Through Amos, God acknowledged the evil and directed His people to a godly response. “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly” – a very common attitude today toward authority – “For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins … for it is an evil time.” Then to God’s people – and us today – God says, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate …” (Amos 5: 10-15).
To hate evil is to regard evil as an enemy. “For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate you? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with a perfect hatred; I count them my enemies” (Psalm 139:20-22).
That level of fervor will produce positive results in godly behavior. We will walk in the ways of the Lord. “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).
We are not called to placate the “progressive” elements of society. But we are instructed to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.