YE FIGHT AND WAR
By John C. Carpenter
 
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting, From whence come [what is the reason for] wars [battle, war, fighting] and fightings [battling, controversy, strife] among you? Come they not hence, even [specifically] of your lusts that war [contend with carnal inclinations, go to warfare],in your members? Ye lust [that which pleases us, sensual delight, strong desire], and have not: ye kill [criminal homicide, to kill, slay], and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:1-2). Within these verses, the apostle James teaches the relationship between our own lusts and controversy, strife, and war. But, there are other biblical reasons for controversy, strife, and war, as well. What are some of the biblical reasons why we humans have such problems with one another?
 
SOME BIBLICAL REASONS FOR ANGER, CONTROVERSY, STRIFE, AND WAR?
 
The United States has recently been experiencing a surge in anger and civil unrest. The holy scriptures make it possible for us to identify several biblical reasons why individuals, groups, cultures, and nations become angry, and fight and war among themselves. Let us take a look at what the scriptures [and God the Father] have to say about the reasons for individual and worldwide conflict.
 
JUSTICE IS UNSOUGHT, PERVERTED OR ABORTED
 
Within the world, including the United States, justice is sometimes either not sought, partial, delayed, perverted, or aborted altogether, and personal or governmental corruption is typically the reason for these injustices. In addition to legislative bodies malfunctioning, many judicial systems worldwide are corrupt, and interest in truth and justice is minimal, or non-existent. Some criminals receive minimal sentences for significant crimes, or go unpunished completely; and, periodically, the completely innocent are found guilty and sentenced to unreasonable, harsh and/or lengthy punishment. Worldwide, there are many injustices resulting in a growing anger and frustration, periodically leading to cultural, political and civil unrest. As most of us have seen, this anger, frustration, and unrest can lead to destruction of public and private property, and even lives. So, what do the scriptures have to say about justice.
 
The scriptures teach that God is merciful, but they also teach that He is a just God who will eventually judge injustice and wrongs. Throughout the scriptures, the mercy of God is evident. God is described in the scriptures as rich in mercy and for His great love (Ephesians 2:4). We should ask, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy (Micah 7:18). The LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him (2 Chronicles 30:9). The Lord described Himself to Moses with these words: ...The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6). Therefore, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). God is merciful, and man must be also.
 
However, according to the scriptures, God will also eventually commit judgment on each one of us, the righteous and the wicked. Solomon tells us that God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work (Ecclesiastes 3:17), and Isaiah says, the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18). God has said, For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people (Hebrews 10:30). It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity (Proverbs 21:15), and He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous [innocent]; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them (Proverbs 24:24-25). Christ, Himself, says that, after judgment, the unrighteous shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 25:46). God judges unlawfulness and unrighteousness, and so should man, and when local, state, or national governments refuse to commit justice, refuse to do what is right, anger and unrest within the citizens can be the result. As we all know, a current problem with this concept is that the idea of what is just and right varies greatly from person to person and nation to nation. Nevertheless, the point remains that injustices result in anger and conflict.
 
With regards to the need for justice, The prophet Amos declares, let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream (Amos 5:24), while David, the psalmist, wrote Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever:but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever. The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment (Psalms 37:27-30). God commands us, Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, anddo justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed (Isaiah 56:1).
 
WE HUMANS HAVE EVIL HEARTS
 
A second reason for conflict among humans is simply that evil actions come from an evil heart. Although many, [especially those committing unrighteousness and evils] will disagree and become angry with this statement, the scriptures abundantly testify to the evils within the heart of man. The scriptures teach us that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies [and anger, violence, rebellion, and civil unrest] (Matthew 15:19). Jeremiah prophesied that The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Even God the Father recognized the total depravity in the hearts of men: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Genesis 6: 5-:6).
 
Jesus Christ explained to us, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:20-23). Isaiah prophesied that All we [humans] like sheep have gone astray [from God]; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6), and that are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6).
 
Our evil hearts can become so calloused and deceived that God the Father may eventually let us have, to our own destruction, exactly what we are lusting after. Referring to the ungodly and unrighteous, Paul wrote to believers in Rome, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore [for this reason] God also gave them up [God removed His restraint and turned over, imprisoned them] to uncleanness through [because of] the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves (Romans 1:21-24). After his illicit relationship with Bathsheba, the guilty and broken David confessed to God, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalms 51:4-5).
 
Lastly, Christ explained the dynamic of evil when He said, Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (Matthew 7:18). A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matthew 12:35). The scriptures summarize: It is simply not possible for good to produce evil, neither what is evil to produce what is good. When the heart is full of evil, the fruit will also be evil.
 
THE ABSENCE OF CONSCIENCE
 
A third reason for controversy, strife, and war is that those who engage in such behavior, especially behavior involving the injury or death of the innocent and/or the destruction of public and private property, is that these individuals or groups have no conscience of what is right or wrong. They are angry, full of lust, self-willed, hardened, uncaring, rebellious, unfeeling, and unrepentant in their actions. Paul described this behavior in his letter to Timothy. Although, in context, Paul was speaking of believers in Christ who depart from their faith in Christ, the insensitivity and cold heart of the those who depart from the faith and those who engage in conflict with their fellow man, is clear: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared [to be rendered insensitive] with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Those who promote civil unrest have no conscience regarding right and wrong. Their conscience has become seared, or insensitive to the impact their behavior is having on others. Today, as in days of old, there are too many of us who are doing that which was right in his own eyes [understanding, perceptions, judgment, conscience] (Judges 21:25), all to the harm of men and property.
 
When the Jewish scribes and pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery, the scriptures tell us, So when they [the Jewish leaders] continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst (John 8:7-9). With hearing Jesus's words, the Jewish leaders were convicted within their own conscience that what they were intending to do, that is, stone the woman to death, was wrong.Referring to gentiles who do not know God, Paul wrote Ephesian belivers, This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding [thoughts] darkened [obscured, full of error], being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling [becoming apathetic, separation from God] have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness (Ephesians 4:17-19).
 
While appearing before the leaders of the Jewish church, the apostle Paul referred to his clear conscience regarding his preaching of the gospel of Christ: Paul, earnestly beholding the council [with the high priest and Pharisees present], said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good [beneficial] conscience [moral consciousness of right and wrong] before God until this day(Acts 23:1). Paul also said, And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence [sin against, surge against, beat upon] toward God [and His standards], and toward men (Acts 24:16). Paul made a distinct effort to do the right things before God and men.
 
The wise individual not only does what is right because of the fear of being punished, but also does what is right because he or she knows it is the right thing to do. Paul explained to believers in Rome this concept: Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath [fear of punishment], but also for conscience [because it is the right thing] sake (Romans 13:5). Writing to the Corinthian believers, both Paul and Timothy referred to their own Christian witness, behavior, and joy: For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward (2 Corinthians 1:12).
 
All of us, including those who are angry and confrontational, should strive in everything to live with a good and clear conscience. The author of the letter to the Hebrews encourages and directs us that we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly (Hebrews 13:18).
 
OUR OWN LUSTS
 
A fourth reason for conflict is lust, that is, our own strong desires to have what we think we want or need. This unfulfilled lust periodically results in anger, unrest, rage, violence, destruction, or death when we don't get our way.
 
As we mentioned in our subject verses and introduction, the apostle James teaches that our own lust is the cause of individual, national, and worldwide anger, conflict, and war when he wrote, From whence come [what is the reason for] wars [battle, war, fighting] and fightings [battling, controversy, strife] among you? Come they not hence, even [specifically] of your lusts that war [contend with carnal inclinations, go to warfare], in your members? Ye lust [that which pleases us, sensual delight, strong desire], and have not: ye kill [criminal homicide, to kill, slay], and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:1-2).
 
Scriptures also instruct us that it is our own lusts which lead us into sin [including anger, controversy, strife, and war], resulting in spiritual death. The apostle James wrote, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:13-15). The apostle Peter instructs us that lusts lead to worldly corruption, and that our lusts counter the divine nature. Peter wrote, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escapedthe corruption [defile, decay, perish] that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:3-4). One purpose of the scriptures is that they are given to us as examples, to teach and guide us as to what we should and should not do. Regarding some of the old testament attitudes and actions of Israel, which displeased God, the apostle Paul warned, these things [attitudes and actions of Israel] were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted (1 Corinthians 10:6). The believer in Christ is commanded to reject lust, which is not from God, but is a part of the world: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:15-16). Paul taught that lusts are qualities consistent with our old lives before we came to a saving knowledge of Christ: put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Ephesians 4:22). Paul instructed Roman believers to put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14), and similarly instructed the believers in Galatia,they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24). Understanding the dangers of our own desires, Paul also wrote Timothy, Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).
 
DISINTEGRATION OF FAMILY VALUES AND ROLES
 
A fifth reason for controversy, strife, and war is devaluation and disintegration of the family, family values, and family roles. Often, men are unable to lead, refuse to lead, or are denied a leadership role by a stronger family member. Sometimes, because they have other priorities, fathers either don't want to properly father, refuse to father, are inept at fatherhood, or absent altogether from the family environment. Holy scriptures identify several roles a man and father should play.
 
One, fathers should train their children the difference between right and wrong and how to have a peaceable and productive, and righteous life. As we read in proverbs, Train [initiate, discipline, guide], up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Two, fathers are to serve as an example to their children (John 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:2-3; 1 Timothy 4:12;1 Peter 2:21;), because the children are watching and learning from their parents. What fathers do in front of their children is what their children later do in front of their fathers. Three, fathers should do their best to provide materially, emotionally, and spiritually for their families. Sounding somewhat harsh, the apostlePaul warned, if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8). Four, fathers should discipline their children: He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Proverbs 13:24). Even God disciplines His own children, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not (Hebrews 12:6-7). The Godly father is instructed, Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:13-14). Five, fathers should pay attention to, spend time with, and interact with their children. God says, thou shalt teach them [your children] diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). Six, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath [anger, enrage]: but bring them up in the nurture [training, instruction] and admonition [call attention to, warning, mild rebuke] of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Seven, fathers forgive the sins of their sons and daughters, and never reject them. In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15), when the son told his father I am no more worthy to be called thy son (Luke 15:19), and ...his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke 15:20). Eight, and lastly, fathers should pray for their children (Genesis 17:18; 1 Samuel 1; 2 Samual 12:16; 1 Chronicles 29:19; ). Additionally the scriptures instructs the proper role of husbands: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church (Ephesians 5:26-29). Paul also instructed the Colossian believers, Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them (Colossians 3:19).
 
Secondly, the scriptures also outline the proper family role for wives and mothers. The believer in Christ [as well as others] should treat older women like they treat their own mother. Paul instructs, Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Children should also obey and honor their mother and father: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth (Ephesians 6:1-3). Children should not only seek the guidance and direction of their parents, but eagerly obey their instructions: Ruth obeyed even her mother-in-law:And she [Ruth] said unto her [mother-in-law], All that thou sayest unto me I will do. And she [Ruth] went down unto the floor, anddid according to all that her mother in law bade her (Ruth 3:5-6). It is also God's will that wives be obedient to and love their husbands. Look what Paul says: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing (Ephesians 5:22-24). Paul also wrote Colossian believers, Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord (Colossians 3:18). Clearly, the mother should also interact with and discipline her children: The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Proverbs 29:15).
 
Third, the scriptures give us ample instruction about the proper role and behavior of children within the family. Children are instructed to Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee (Exodus 20:12). Paul instructs the children of Philippian believers: Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right (Ephesians 6:1), and as their adult parents are instructed in the Lord, children should strive to Do all things without murmurings and disputings (Philippians 2:14). Children should not only expect, but willingly accept the discipline of their parents (Proverbs 13:24; Hebrews 12:6-7). God instructs all His children, old and young alike, My son, hear the instruction [rebuke, chastening, discipline] of thy father, and forsake not the law [instructions, teachings] of thy mother (Proverbs 1:8).
 
The apostle Paul also instructs the children of believers in Colossae, Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord (Colossians 3:20). We should try to remember, though, that in spite of the struggles of parenthood, God recognizes the value of children, and so should we. As the psalmist says, Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate (Psalms 127:3-5).
 
MANY DESPISE GOVERNMENT
 
A sixth reason for controversy, strife, and war is the fact that many despise government. So, what is this government that is so despised? The apostle Peter can help us understand. Referring to false prophets, who he knew were in and influencing the early Christian church to err, Peter gave in chapter 2 several descriptions of these false teachers and prophets. However, there is one characteristic which could stand out above all others: the false prophets despised being governed, ruled, and controlled by anyone else. Peter described these false prophets as those who walk [journey, walk, live] after the flesh [carnality, including rebellion] in the lust of uncleanness [defiled, contaminated within themselves], and despise [think against, disesteem, oppose] government [rulers, dominion, supremacy, controller, having a master]. Presumptuous [daring, audacious, bold, extreme conduct] are they, selfwilled [self pleasing], they are not afraid [dread] to speak evil [defame, speak evil, revile, vilify] of dignities [things worthy and deserving of glory, honor, praise, and worship] (2 Peter 2:10). The word government is translated from the Greek word kuriotes, which means mastery, supremacy, supreme in authority, rulers, or dominion. Government refers to being dominated, mastered, and ruled by others who have supremacy over us. Webster's Dictionary defines government as the continuous exercise of authority over and the performance of functions of a political unit.
 
The characteristic of despising being governed by others, seen in false prophets, can also be seen in those who fight and war among themselves. Those who are angry and engage in controversy, strife, and war are violent, rebellious, and commit violent and destructive acts against persons and properties. In the words of Peter, these individuals and groups despise and oppose government [control or rule] by others, live in their own carnal world, contaminating themselves in the process. They display extreme conduct, are self pleasing, and do not hesitate to defame and revile things worthy of honor and praise, especially the idea of being controlled by and submitting to others.
 
Despising governmental control eventually results in rebellion to one degree or another, and, in the extreme case, anarchy. On some level, rebellion against control has always been present in the world, but the world is being subjected to an ever-increasing level of lust, resulting in increased rebellion against government. This new level of lust is causing an increasing worldwide level of frustration, anger, rebellion, unrest, sin, violence, spousal abuse, family conflict, alcohol and drug dependence, and destruction of private and public property. Today, rebellion against all authority and government is spreading like an out of control wildfire. As a result of this rebellion against being controlled, we are seeing in worldwide media the fruit of this lust and rebellion.
 
Regarding rebellion against man or God, the scriptures warn us, For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king (1 Samuel 15:23), while A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him (Proverbs 17:10-11). Jeremiah warned, Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah; The LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth: this year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month (Jeremiah 28:15-17).
 
James, the apostle, adds, Submit yourselves therefore to God [and His standards of government]. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves [including submission to those who have rule over you] in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:7-10).
 
Christians in Rome were struggling with submitting to harsh Roman rule. In spite of this harshness, the apostle Paul exhorted, and warned, the church in Rome, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation (Romans 13:1-2). Holy scriptures clearly teach that we must be obedient to those in authority over us: Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you (Hebrews 13:17).
 
Scriptures also clearly teach that God is completely in control of leaders, and that nothing happens apart from His sovereignty: The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with [manifested only by] me; yea, durable riches and righteousness(Proverbs 8:13-18). God also promotes and demotes, according to His own sovereign will. As Daniel recognized, he [God the Father] changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings [rulers, leaders], and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding (Daniel 2:21), and that those who have been promoted [or demoted] have been promoted only by the hand of God: For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalms 75:6-7). Those with power and are in charge have that power and are in charge because it is God's will.
 
IMMORALITY IN GOVERNMENT LEADERS
 
A seventh reason for controversy, strife, and war is the immorality of government leaders. People worldwide are mourning and suffering in various places because they are being led and controlled by wicked men and governments. The scriptures plainly teach, as many of us have experienced, that When the righteous [just, lawful, one who makes right] are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked [ungodly, unrighteous, those who commit wrongs] beareth rule, the people mourn (Proverbs 29:2).
 
In many ways, the requirements to be a Godly bishop, or spiritual leader within the church, could and should be the requirements to be a civil or political leader. Paul wrote Timothy these words: This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop [inspector, lookout, leader], he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (1 Timothy 3:1-5). One can only imagine the glory of a nation led by civil and political leaders who have the same Godly qualities of the church bishop. What blessings the members of a nation would experience with righteous leaders at the helm.
 
As God tells us, It is an abomination to kings [those who rule] to commit wickedness: forthe throne [seat of rule] is established [confirmed, ordained, made right] by righteousness (Proverbs 16:12). Likewise, If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked (Proverbs 29:12). Truly, When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: andwhen the wicked perish, there is shouting. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked (Proverbs 11:10-11).
 
Sometimes we may feel as if we are just a tool in the hands of government, and that we are being governed for their benefit, not ours. We all, but especially the believer in Christ should ...Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Luke 6:27-28). Regarding those in authority, Paul wrote Timothy, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4). It may at times be difficult to contemplate, but praying for our authority figures and leaders is good and acceptable in the sight of God.
 
GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO FULFILL ITS ROLE OF TERROR AND PUNISHMENT
 
An eighth reason for conflict, fighting, warring, violence, rebellion, and unrest is that periodically governments do not fulfill their God ordained role of striking fear in its citizenry and punishing the unlawful, unrighteous, and wicked. In his letter to the church in Rome, the apostle Paul outlines the God given role of government. Paul wrote, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God:the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth [oppose] the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror [to cause fear] to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath [fear of punishment], but also for conscience [because it is right] sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour (Romans 13:1-7). It may seem harsh, especially in these times of liberality and so called freedom, but because of the prevalence of evil in man, government must fulfill its God ordained role of being a terror to evil works, bear the sword with purpose, and execute wrath upon those that do evil. When the government does not conduct this ministry unto God, anger, violence, destruction, lawlessness, anarchy and mob rule is the result.
 
MEDIA ACCEPTANCE AND PROMOTION OF EVIL
 
A ninth reason for anger, violence, rebellion, hatred, social unrest, destruction of property, verbal abuse, pride, evils associated with money, emotional and physical attacks, murder, threats, bloodshed, abusive language, and a thousand other ills, is that the media not only does not condemn these behaviors, but sanctions, and even encourages them. This encouragement stems from several motivations, including personal, financial, social, and political. Many of the popular shows on television, for example, display narcissism, anger, violence, sexuality, bloodshed, murder, crime, and property destruction as normal, even desirable, and, over time, many viewers have become desensitized to these evil behaviors, which have now been normalized in our society.
 
Because we have become desensitized and normalized to these evils, we not only do not reject these evil behaviors, but welcome them with open hearts and arms. Look what Paul wrote Timothy: For the time will come when they will not endure sound [profitable and life giving] doctrine [and reject these things]; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers [and entertainment], [because we are] having itching ears [that desire to be scratched by these things] (2 Timothy 4:3). Paul similarly explained, even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing [the dangers of these sins resulting in] the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Romans 1:28-32).
 
According to the scriptures, these behaviors are worldly and evil, and indicate that we do not love God. The apostle John teaches us, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16), but also warns, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15), for the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever (1 John 2:17).
 
Many unwholesome things in the media should be rejected by the Christian [and unbeliever as well]: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey [respond to] it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:11-14).
 
If we look closely, we can see that many are addicted to various types of media because God also gave them up [allowed them to become addicted] to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own [minds, hearts, and] bodies between themselves (Romans 1:24), and also because cares of [interests in] this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things [that we crave] entering in, choke the [gospel] word [and therefore the things of God], and it [the gospel and things of God] becometh unfruitful [within our hearts and lives] (Mark 4:19).
 
The believer in Christ is to put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14), as well as to Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). Believers in Christ should be free of obsessions with entertainment of all types. Paul explained that as Christians, Wherein in time past ye [believers] walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in [because of our media] sins, [God] hath quickened [reanimated us conjointly] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)(Ephesians 2:2-5). If the believer is to be obsessed, let him be obsessed with Christ, and Him crucified and raised from the dead.
 
REJECTION OF GOD AND HIS STANDARDS
 
A tenth reason for controversy, strife, and war is that individuals, groups, and nations reject God, and by rejecting God, we reject His standards, and by rejecting His standards, we reject His blessings and receive, deservedly so, His curses. When we reject God, our society begins to change and adopt new and ungodly standards, which bear unprofitable, even deadly, fruit.
 
Jeremiah, the prophet, warns, Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited (Jeremiah 17:5-6). The nation of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim (Judges 10:10), and God responded,ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation (Judges 10:13-14).
 
God elsewhere warns us, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God (Deuteronomy 28:1-2), But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee (Deuteronomy 28:15). Individuals and nations are not only not hearkening to the voice and will of the Lord God, but rejecting Him altogether. The fruit is obvious.
 
By rejecting and removing God from our educational, socioeconomic, and political institutions, we invite, and can expect to experience, the anger, wrath, and cursing of God. In examining our own behaviors, whether they be Godly or ungodly, we must remember one biblical principle given us by Christ, Himself: Everyone and everything [including our own human behaviors], can be identified by its fruit. As Christ explained, Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:16-20).  AMEN.



 
 
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
                                                           A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
 
"Even so every
good tree bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth
evil fruit.  A
good tree cannot bring forth evil
fruit, neither
can a corrupt
tree bring forth
good fruit.  Every tree that
bringeth not forth good
fruit is hewn
down, and cast
into the fire.  Wherefore by
their fruits ye
shall know
them"
(Matthew 7:17-20)



 
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Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he
shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no
form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire
him.He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and
we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he
hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of
God, andafflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the
LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep
before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison
and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the
land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his
grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him
to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall
prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of
the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant
justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with
the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his
soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of
many, and made intercession for the transgressors"
(Isaiah 53:1-12).