Balancing Faith and Patriotism - Preparation

Discussion in 'Faith and Religion' started by Watchman220, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Watchman220

    Watchman220 Watchman

    These thoughts have really been on my mind and heart alot. It is logical to prepare for what we see just makes sense as things continue to loom bigger and bigger. So I am preparing...more than I ever thought I could.

    But the issue of preparing for Armed Defense is one that people struggle with alot. Particulary, Christians can have a tough time balancing their faith with the real duties of American Citizenry as laid out in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

    God is bigger than the New World Order. But that does not negate a part we may need to play as informed, trained, and prepared citizens of the United States of America.

    Balancing Faith and Patriotism
  2. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    First of all I moved this thread here to this new sub-forum. Thought it more appropriate.

    I have had these discussions many times. I believe that Scripture tells us to be prepared and to be ready to defend ourselves. A great misconception that is unfortunately repeated as gospel is the pacifist doctrine of turn the other cheek. A careful search of scripture reveals that this is refering to your Christian, or Isrealite bretheren. How we are to treat each other, it is not a blanket statement to cover everyone in the world especially our enemies.

    Many times in scripture God's people are told to take up arms and to go to war. All of Christs disciples were armed. And Christ even tells them that if they don't have a sword to buy one.

    Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that HATH NO SWORD, let him sell his garment, and buy one.- Luke 22:36

    Many of our great Biblical heroes were survivalists.

    Wouldn't Noah have been called a "prepper" today? Warned of impending climactic chaos he built a boat, miles from any ocean, stockpiled food and supplies.
    How about Joseph? Hoarding grain in Egypt to survive the lean years ahead?

    The watchman whose job is to watch for approaching dangers and warn the people?
    I couldn't find the chapter and verse but to paraphrase:
    "A man who sees the storm approaching and does nothing to protect his family is worse than an infidel."

    Eze 33:4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head

    Eze 33:6 But if the WATCHMAN see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the WATCHMAN's hand.

    Here is a great article on the subject. I don't agree with everything that this author espouses, but he says in this article basically the same things that I would. The entire article is at the link.

    Christians tend to have two differing opinions on the answer to the question: "Should Christians prepare for hard times?" One camp holds to the view that Christians should simply "trust God" and it cites the command God gave the Israelites in Exodus 14:13 to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." The other camp believes Christians should prepare for trying times in the future and it cites the example of Joseph storing up quantities of grain in Egypt when Pharaoh’s dream warned there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Which approach is the right one for our modern times? While I am no one’s judge and I respect anyone’s personal decision as a believer, I believe the Bible strongly supports the viewpoint that the Bible warns Christians to make preparations when God warns us about approaching dangers.

    I suspect any Christian would make sensible preparations if they lived on a coastline and knew that a strong hurricane was approaching. If Christians live in tornado country (as I do) anyone would logically head for a basement or shelter if you knew a tornado was heading for your city. While we hope that our homes will be safe from such hazards as fire, hailstorms, etc., we buy homeowners insurance to guard against such hazards. Many renters buy renters’ insurance policies to safeguard their investment in their possessions. If you were on a coastline and heard a tsunami warning for your city, you would surely "head for high ground" as quickly as possible! If Christians and non-Christians alike would take such reasonable measures to prepare for any impending natural disaster, why should they not also make reasonable preparations for a prophesied danger that is imminent? I think the Bible indicates they certainly should do so. However, before examining biblical evidence to support that assertion, let’s first examine the viewpoint that Christians should not prepare for prophesied dangers and simply "trust God." Such Christians sometimes believe that it is a lack of faith in God’s promised protection if they prepare for dangers. They regard this as "relying on one’s own strength" rather than relying on God. However, let’s examine the Exodus 14:13 account which they cite and see that Christians who do not make any preparations are mistakenly taking that scriptural account out of context.

    Examining the "Stand Still and Let God Do It All" Approach:
    When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he did mighty wonders and miracles to punish and plague the Egyptians to compel them into finally letting the Israelites leave Egypt. The Israelites were slaves and there was nothing that they could do to prepare for any threats. They had no choice but to wait until God provided a way out of Egypt. However, when the Passover night approached during which God was going to send a death angel to kill all the first-born in Egypt, God did tell the Israelites to make advance preparations to save their first-born as well as to prepare to leave Egypt in haste (Exodus 12). God told them to put lamb’s blood on the doorways, eat the Passover meal, get dressed, have shoes on their feet and their staffs in hand to be ready to march the instant they received word to do so. To put it in modern terms, God told the Israelites to "have their bug-out bags" ready because their departure was imminent. This is an example that when God does give warning about something that is about to happen, he expects his people to "get ready" and make advance preparations. If any Israelites had failed to make these commanded advance preparations, their first-born would have died and they risked being left behind.

    After the Israelites left Egypt, they had no warning from God that Pharaoh’s army would pursue them and would overtake them when they were boxed in by the Red Sea and had no way of escape or retreat. Indeed, it was God who put them in this situation because he intended to show his power to deliver them from Pharaoh’s army so that they would grow in their faith in his power to protect them (Exodus 14:1-1-4, 9). This is a biblical example of how to rely on God when sudden dangers come upon you for which you have no advance warning. Since there was nothing the Israelites could do about their circumstances, they had no choice but to rely on God and God alone. It is in such a context that Moses told the Israelites in Exodus 14:13: "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." He told the Israelites this to reassure them because the Israelites had lost faith and thought they were about to be slaughtered (verses 10-12).

    God Divinely held back Pharaoh’s army (verse 19-20) that night and miraculously opened a way through the Red Sea for them to march across "dry ground" as they walked through the Red Sea’s seabed (Exodus 14:21-22). They didn’t even get their shoes muddy. God took care of every detail! When the Egyptians tried to follow them, they were drowned as God allowed the Red Sea to crash down upon them. When God led the Israelites through 40 years of wandering through a dry wilderness, they again had no choice but to rely on God for everything. There was no arable land, no supermarkets, restaurants, etc. They were forced to rely on God for food, water and their needs. God miraculously provided manna on a daily basis (Exodus 16:4) which Psalm 78:24-25 calls "angels’ food." God led them to locations with water supplies or he miraculously caused it to gush out of the desert rocks (Exodus 17:1-7). Again, all these instances are examples that one should have faith and rely on God when there is nothing you can do for yourself or when God commands you to do nothing for yourself and simply rely on Him (as he did in Exodus 14:13). However, even after the Israelites’ escape from Egypt, God did not always do everything for the Israelites on his own. When the Israelites were faced with a battle against the attacking Amalekites, God did not do their fighting for them. The Israelites had to do their own fighting against the Amalekites and God blessed their fighting skills when Moses’ hands were held high and God withdrew that blessing when Moses’ arms were weary and he lowered them. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so victory would be assured. Do I believe this actually happened? Absolutely!

    In another case, Elijah was divinely protected from a severe drought which he himself had caused to fall on the ancient kingdom of Israel. In this case, Elijah was told by God in advance what to do to save himself during this drought. First Elijah was told to go to a particular river where he was fed by ravens until it dried up after which God told him to go to Zarephath, a suburb of the Phoenician city of Sidon (I Kings 17:1-9). As I note in my book, Israel’s Lost Empires, God purposely directed Elijah to a place his enemies would least expect him to go. Ahab and Jezebel searched all over the earth for Elijah via caravan routes and via the globe-girdling capacity of the extensive Phoenician fleets (I Kings 18:10). Zarephath was a suburb of Sidon, Jezebel’s hometown, a place she and Ahab would never think Elijah would be hiding (I Kings 16:31). In these cases, Elijah obeyed God’s specific instructions re: where he was to go in order to be protected. If God gives such directions to Christians through a powerful prophet like Elijah (such as might occur during the ministry of the Two Witnesses during the reign of the beast power in the end of this age—Revelation 11), then one should obey such instructions. However, the Two Witnesses have not yet been revealed by any deeds and Jesus Christ warned in Matthew 24:11, 24 that "many false prophets" would appear in the latter days and you risk following a false prophet into danger or death unless God has already demonstrated with very powerful miracles that they are Divinely-ordained prophets like Moses and Elijah were. Now let’s examine biblical examples where God did give his people advance warnings about looming disasters and what their response proved to be.

    The Biblical "Prepare in Advance" Option:
    One of the first times God gave advance warning of an impending disaster was when he warned Noah that a global deluge was going to destroy all life on earth. God told Noah to make preparations for that event by building an Ark (Genesis 6). Noah obeyed God and built the Ark. When the Deluge came, Noah and his family (along with species of animals, birds, etc.) were spared because Noah made advance preparations. If Noah and his family had not made advance preparations by building and provisioning the Ark, all flesh would have extinct.
    A second major example of the necessity of making advance preparations when God warns about future events is the example of Joseph preparing for a great drought in Egypt. Pharaoh received a dream from God which he did not understand. Joseph, known to be an interpreter of dreams by one of Pharaoh’s staff who had temporarily been in prison with Joseph, was called into Pharaoh’s presence to interpret the dream. Joseph revealed that the dream warned that seven years of tremendous surpluses would be followed by seven years of terrible crop failures, and Joseph was exalted to become Regent of Egypt to supervise the food storage program for Egypt so the nation could survive the years of crop failures (Genesis 41). The Bible devotes many chapters to Joseph’s life so this is an important example for us to understand. If Joseph and Egypt had not prepared for the extended drought by storing immense stockpiles of food, the Egyptians and Israelites would have starved.

    In both the above cases, it would have been a severe lack of faith to refuse to make necessary preparations when God gives an advance warning about a looming danger. Choosing not to make advance preparations when God has warned of an impending disaster is to place your own life and your family’s lives in great jeopardy.

    A New Testament example in the same vein is given in Acts 11:28-30. A prophet named Agabus received a warning from God that a "great dearth" (a food shortage) was imminent. The early Christian Church took the warning seriously and made such advance preparations as they could. The elders gathered up food supplies and sent Barnabas and Saul (later named "Paul") to deliver the food to the brethren in Judea so they could survive the prophesied food shortage. The word received by Agabus must have specified that Judea was to be particularly hard hit by the food shortage for the Christians to direct their main food storage effort to that location. Again, we see the believers took the warning seriously and made advance preparations. There was no hint in any of these three examples that anyone thought the right approach was to "stand still and do nothing." Both Old and New Testaments are consistent that when God warns his people about an impending danger, he expects them to show faith by acting on his warning and preparing for it.

    ........................ The rest of this long article can be found at the above link.
    Tully Mars likes this.
  3. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    I'm not able to quote any scriptures, and have reservations with regards to many religions...
    I have to go with what works for me:
    He helps those that help themselves......
  4. medstud

    medstud Just a pilgrim

    When God created man He said, "be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over all living things". I do not see that God revoked these instructions when man sinned; though some aspects were adjusted. It is confusing to me how people get the idea that Christianity is a lazy religion where we do nothing for ourselves when it seems pretty clear in the scriptures that God has said differently. So I agree with Dragonfly that God helps those that help themselves because that means those are the people that are already doing what God has told them to do. Thus, "those that are faith in little, will be faithful in much."
  5. Watchman220

    Watchman220 Watchman

    What a great reply Minuteman. Thanks for taking the time. And thanks for the additional article reference.

    Very well stated. All.
  6. ppbenn

    ppbenn Monkey++

    Thank you for this perspective. This will be so helpful for some of us to wrap our heads around.
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