By Paul Bawden
I ask myself this question as I watched the recent tragic developments in Afghanistan, the ongoing chaos at the US southern border, and the push to cause us all to lose our true identity and value as individuals.
Could the messes in our world be for lack of knowledge?
The old master shepherd prophet, Amos, I believe, hit the nail on the head when he told the northern kingdom of Israel in 735 B. C., “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . .” (4:6). Whose knowledge? As Amos went on to say, “you have forgotten the law of your God.”
Israel had become corrupt through their material prosperity, their arrogance, and social evils along with their paganized worship of idolatry. The nation needed to repent of their sin, and seek the LORD and live. If the nation didn’t return to the LORD, captivity was in the offing, which eventually came through the Assyrians.
So, what does this have to do with the messes in our world? Namely this. Man can’t live a life of true purpose, direction, and meaning in his own knowledge. When he lives by his own knowledge which is limited, he becomes arrogant, selfish, filled with hatred, immoral, and acts as his own god. He is beholden to no one but himself, and if he is not careful can end up destroying himself. Just look at the messes in our world today.
Man needs knowledge that is eternal and gives him the proper direction, guidance, and strength that he really needs (Psalm 46). Only the knowledge of the biblical God provides that which is found in the Bible. That’s why Amos told Israel that they had forgotten the law of their God.
Sure, one can deny or dismiss such statements, make fun of those statements, and live as one pleases. But the one who will take time to consider the historical writ, he discovers that the biblical God gives each individual true value and true identity. Each one is made in the image of God, either male or female (Gen. 1:26-28).
This means that all individuals are of eternal value and must be respected and honored. If we are just from some form of lower animal, our value is minimal, so do what one wants to oneself and others. But made in the image of God, each individual is a valuable person from conception to the end of life on this planet, regardless of one’s status in life.
Such affects directly how individuals are treated whether in Afghanistan, at the US southern border, or in regard to one’s identity and value. Certainly, the USA can’t be the Savior of the world, but leadership, in respecting all people, will seek to help as many as they can, with the proper structure, direction, and commitment without creating chaos and misleading people regarding their future. That’s why the Bible says that everything should be done decently and in order.
But, in all of this, the One who makes such a reality in one’s life is Jesus Christ, the one true Savior, who provides His eternal life to everyone who places their faith in Him (John 3:16). Those who believe in Christ will not only have His eternal life now and forever, but relying on His inner strength, the believer can show His respect and honor to others in the love of Christ (I Cor. 13:4-8a). The world will be less messy!
Be praying for the very challenging and difficult situation in Afghanistan that there will be protection for the Afghan people, Christians who are there, all the Americans, and that evacuations will take place quickly and peacefully.
Paul Bawden is married and served in the pastoral ministry for 45 years, retiring in 2011. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a B.A. in Speech and attended Dallas Theological Seminary, receiving a Master of Theology. He has taken counseling courses at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. Paul is a lifetime member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, as well as being a member of Interim Pastor Ministries (IPM), which serves churches during their time of transition in searching for a new pastor. He writes for Union Gospel Press, as well as being a volunteer writer for GotQuestions.org. Paul likes to write, read, bike, and work in the yard. The Bawdens have had the privilege to travel to Mexico and Romania on mission trips and visited various countries in Europe.
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