September 21, 2015
Things are getting really, really bad.
You knew that, already; anyone who is not comatose – and, can get their eyes off their smart phone/video game for a few minutes of perspective – would reach the same conclusion. But, no; it’s worse: That same headline could be posted over almost every category of life right now – in America, and beyond – without anyone contesting the conclusion. Things are getting really, really bad.
The California Republican Party met last week in Anaheim; it’s no surprise that they hosted numerous presidential candidates on their platform. One of them – (former) Governor Mike Huckabee – caught some attention because of his perspective: “Quite frankly, we have so much government because as the moral code of our population begins to break down, we demand that there be more government. More cops on the streets, more counselors dealing with people with addictions. We demand more people regulate the industries so that they don’t cheat us if we’re in the same industry. The best government that we will ever have is the self government of a moral code internally that tells us that it is better to be right than to be wrong.”
Huckabee echoes the declaration of Ronald Reagan, in his 1981 Inaugural Address: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Things are getting really, really bad.
The same headline is parked over the articles lamenting the compounding effects of the prolonged drought on the West Coast. Fires are out-of-control in multiple states; millions of acres, thousands of homes and dozens of lives have been lost to the infernos that begin – some from lightning, some from arson – and then create their own wind and weather as they consume everything in their path. The cause, according to many in modern government: global warming, caused by people whose carbon footprint is the culprit. Things are getting really, really bad.
It’s so bad that, in June, 500 people attended an “interfaith gathering” at a mosque in Chino, California to pray for rain. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the host – Imam Mohammed Zafarullah – led attendees of all religions through a prayer for rain for the drought-ravaged state: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Master of the Day of Judgment. There is no god but Allah who does what He wishes. O Allah, Thou art Allah, there is no deity but Thou, the Rich, while we are poor. Send down rain upon us…” I wonder what the “Christians” in the room were doing during that “interfaith prayer?”
About 2800 years ago, Israel – the Northern Kingdom – was in a moral tailspin. Ahab and Jezebel – the royal pair who had done their part to eliminate the worship of the One True God by accelerating the return to the gods of the Canaanites, Baal and Asherah. God had commissioned Elijah to become His spokesman, and Elijah informed Ahab that “there would be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except by my word,” (1 Kings 17:1). God then directed Elijah to go undercover, while the heavens dried up and the local economy tanked.
Ahab sent his posse everywhere, looking for Elijah; Ahab held Elijah responsible for the drought. Three years passed – things were really, really bad – when God brought Elijah back to Israel from Sidon, to confront Ahab. Elijah arranged the encounter; the opening line, from Ahab: “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” (18:17).
Elijah called him out. Mt Carmel would be the site of the Spiritual Super Bowl. Four hundred fifty prophets of Baal assembled to go against Elijah, who was solo. The Rules of Engagement called for each side to build an altar, cut wood, slaughter a bull… and call for their God to deliver fire from heaven to consume it.
A great story: Elijah wins, and Baal’s 450 are killed by the crowd as an act of divine judgment. As a demonstration of God’s power, Elijah summons rain from a blue sky. First fire, then rain from the God of heaven.
Baal has retired; Allah has taken his place. The voices from the other side are calling for rain from heaven… but Elijah’s successors aren’t saying much.
“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops,” (James 5:18).
Huckabee is right; America’s moral code is missing. There’s a face-off between competing deities. Maybe it’s time for us to call the prayer meeting?