Saturday, September 24, 2005

Learning our lessons

It as interesting to see in the book of Ezra the different tactics the enemies used to get the work to stop and the way the Jews learned from their experience. In chapter 4, the opposition wrote to the king and told the king to look in his history books and he would see that Jerusalem was a rebellious city and these people would make trouble for the king. The king did the research and found their charges to be true from the perspective of the pagan nations and so the construction was stopped. When the Jews started to build again later on, the opposition arose again and when the Jews were asked what they were doing, they told the officials to check the history books and see that Cyrus gave the orders to build. In sending this information to the king, the facts were checked and it was found that Cyrus had in fact given such an order and so construction was allowed to continue. They had learned the lesson about appealing to historical precedent.
I learn from this that it is not wrong to use logic as well as the legal system and governmental agencies to accomplish the goals of God’s people, knowing all along that it is God who is at work in the hearts and lives of all involved, even the pagan leaders. When Paul was struck, he asked if it was legal to strike a Roman citizen. On another occasion, those who had been jailed publicly were released secretly, but the authorities were challenged that if the arrest was public, the release ought to be public. God’s people used the legal system to make just requests of the authorities. We should not be afraid to do the same thing in the issues that face us as Christians – issues such as abortion, parental rights, etc.