Meditating on Truth and Countering Straw Men

If you’re in the Legacy Reading Plan, then you need to be looking at Proverbs 22 today, because it’s the 22nd day of the month, and it is one of my favorite chapters in Proverbs. Verse 1 starts with “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (NKJV).

 

Interestingly enough, I’m also in Psalm 22. The Psalms are 150 songs in the ancient Jewish Psalmistry, and yesterday marked the beginning of the eighth full week of the new year and, which means this week I’m going to be meditating on Psalm chapters 22, 23, and 24, and I hope you’ll join me in doing that. Psalm 22 and 23 are appropriately banded together in that both contrast the valley of the shadow of death and the promise of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 24, of course, provides us with the prerequisite for dwelling in the house of the Lord: clean hands and a pure heart. Ultimately, we only have that positionally through the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also find it interesting that today, in addition to meditating on Psalm 22 and Proverbs 22, I was just starting Deuteronomy 22.

 

Yesterday, however, I was reminded, as I meditated on Deuteronomy 21, that President Barack Obama made it very clear that the Bible suggests stoning your child, if he strays away from the faith. So he asks the question, “Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith.”

 

At first blush, this kind of language, the language used in the fifth book of Moses, might jar Obama’s moral sensibilities, but a closer examination turns his moral pretensions on their head. Why? First of all, the son in question should not be thought of as a mere adolescent guilty of nothing more than slamming doors or stubbornly asserting his independence; rather the son described by Moses in Deuteronomy is old enough to be morally culpable of extravagantly wicked behavior, behavior that threatens the health and the safety of the entire community, and as such the prescribed punishment is not for adolescent decadence, but for adult degeneracy (cf. vv. 18-21). Not only that but the parents’ desire to spare their own son, serves as a built-in buffer against unwarranted or frivolous enforcement of the law. The ratification of the elders precludes a precipitous judgment on the part of the parents, and I think in that way the standard of evidence prescribed by the Mosaic Law exceeds that of modern jurisprudence.

 

For Obama, to have the temerity to claim to have the moral high ground over the ancient Scriptures, in my view is the height of hypocrisy. Rather than the civility of the Mosaic Law, our culture reflects the carnality of Israel’s Canaanite neighbors, who sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. Look, for over three decades, our civilization has sanctioned the systematic slaughter of children, and those children are guilty of nothing more than being unwanted. Worse yet, Obama himself did not have the moral conviction to vote for the civil rights of a partially born child. If his mischaracterizations serve a purpose, I think they are to remind us that we should learn to read the Bible for all it’s worth. I think if Obama could do that, he would not come up with the kinds of statements about the Bible that he does. In fact, if people in general would learn how to read the Bible for all its worth, they would not mischaracterize the message of Scripture.

 

So why do I want to get you into the Word of God and get the Word of God into you? So it can change you and so that you can also defend the faith once for all delivered to the saints. People hear the President of the United States make these kinds of derogatory remarks about the Bible and they don’t know what to say, they don’t know what to think, and they wonder, “Oh wow. It does say that”, and they have no way of countering the straw man. So again, if you have questions in this regard as you read through the Bible, simply ask the question. That’s what we’re here for.

More Questions and Answers with Hank

Real Questions for a Real Faith, and Q&A

Reaching the Global South, and Q&A

The Fine Tuning of the Universe, and Q&A

Remembering September 11th, and Q&A

Ray Rice, Inconsistent Morality, and Q&A