Vol. 3, No. 12
In a letter to the editor of The Tennessean, January 19, 1993, Michael Greene writes, "We learn that an Appeals Court has ruled it unconstitutional for Gideon International to hand out Bibles in public schools in Indianapolis. It is alright to hand out condoms to 13-year-olds. It is alright to graphically instruct junior high kids on how to have safe sex. It is alright to give free abortion counseling to 14-year-olds without parental consent -- but wrong to give them a Bible in America.
Now to an extent I can understand why our children need to be protected from the dangerous doctrines contained in the Bible. Have you looked at it lately? It has such "dangerous" concepts as "love thy neighbor as thyself," and "do not covet your neighbor's wife." And of course, young ears should never hear such words as "do not commit adultery" or "flee fornication." Oh, no we cannot, even under the principle of academic freedom which says that all competing ideas have a right to be heard, allow someone access to the Bible. Why they might read and believe, and live by some of those "dangerous concepts."
If that were to happen, the world as we know it would come to an end. Parents would be respected and obeyed, as would teachers. We wouldn't need policemen in every school. Hatred and racism would die. Teenage pregnancy and the perceived need to hand out safe-sex materials would soon be gone. By all means protect us from such a fate.
The author of the letter is absolutely right. Woe be unto that nation that forgets God. Woe be unto that nation that calls evil good and good evil. Woe be unto that nation that allows a homosexual teacher to stand before our children and the state condone such immorality under the guise of equal protection and then refuse the Holy Word of God to be read by those same children because of separation of church and state. America needs the Bible.
Eight hundred years before Christ, the nation of Israel was enjoying peace and prosperity. The nation of Assyria had a series of weak rulers which left the world at peace. This gave Israel's king, Jeroboam II, time to strengthen his power. With time and resources to return his nation back to God, the leader instead enlarged his borders. Through trade, agriculture and conquest, he brought prosperity to his people.
But the goodness of God did not lead these people to repent. As Burton Coffman states in his commentary on Amos, "The people had interpreted their material prosperity as tokens of divine providence and protection, but they no longer felt any compulsion whatever to be governed by divine law" (76). So God called a man, a shepherd, a gatherer of sycamore fruit to encourage the people to return to God.
Amos was not a prophet; he was not the son of a prophet (7:14). He was from a little village in Judea called Tekoa about six miles south of Bethlehem and twelve miles south of Jerusalem. He was not trained in the school of the prophets but he had a message for his people: "Thus saith the Lord."
The thrust of Amos' prophecy was against Israel for drunkenness, sexual licentiousness, religious perversion, idolatry, and scorning, chastising, and mocking the faithful of God. God warned them to repent (4:7-10). Still, the state of the union was lamentable: "Yet, you have not returned to me," saith the Lord.
"Prepare to meet your God" (4:12; NKJV). Nations as well as individuals are obligated to live up to the light and knowledge granted them. "You only have I known of all the families of the earth," God told Israel through Amos, "Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities" (3:2).
"Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord God, "That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Word of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. In that day the fair virgins and strong young men shall faint from thirst. Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, who say, 'As your god lives, O Dan!' and, 'As the way of Beersheba lives!' They shall fall and never rise again!" (8:11-14).
God did not spare his chosen nation of Israel and God will not spare America. The worst kind of famine is a spiritual famine. The greatest disease of the human race is a lack of appetite for communication from the Heavenly Father. To leave the soul destitute is more tragic than depriving the body. Jesus told Satan, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). There is "food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you" (John 6:27).
Only the word of God tells us where man originated. It is not the theory of evolution. On NBC's Dateline, November 27, 1994, Jeffrey Dahmer stated that he had always believed that if there is no God to be accountable to, there is no reason to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges. He said, "I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from slime." Dr. Douglas Dean, at the time a professor of biology at Pepperdine College, in a series of lectures on evolution said, "there is so much confusion among people today and the reason people are tending to believe in Evolution [sic] is because of the lack of exposure to the Bible" (The Bible, Science and Evolution, Arlington, TX 1966, pg. 7).
The Bible tells us what man's worst problem is. B. F. Skinner cannot. Abraham Maslow cannot. Carl Rogers or Sigmund Freud or John Dewey cannot. Without the Word of God, men stagger and run in circles. Amos says they wander from sea to sea staggering like drunken men (8:12). They are drunk alright, drunk on sin and rebellion. How pitiful it is to see a man who cannot control himself. How much more so are those whose whole lives are reeling in sin!
Sin is America's problem. Sin breaks up homes. Sin leaves little boys and little girls orphans -- fatherless and motherless. Sin lifts up the politician, makes the businessman greedy, joins man to man and woman to woman in the homosexual relationship. Sin destroys the baby while it is still in the womb.
Sin divides believers in Christ into denominations. Sin causes young people to drop out of school because of pregnancy. Sin takes the lives of the innocent on every street corner. Sin loads the welfare rolls with those too slothful to work. Sin kills the couple hit by the drunk driver. America's problem is sin!
Only the Word of God has a solution. It is the Word of God and it alone that has the remedy for man's rebellion against God. To the Israelites, God said, "Seek Me and live" (Amos 5:4); "hate evil, and love good; establish justice in the gates" (5:15). Repentance was the prescription given to the nation of Israel and it is the prescription for America today. "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:34-35).
America needs to return to God. Adulterers need to go back to their wives. Politicians need to be honest; businessmen need to throw off covetousness; homosexuals need to control their desires; abortionists need to lay down their scalpels. Denominations need to burn their manuals, disciplines and catechisms and unite on the Truth. Teenagers need to keep their hands to themselves; murderers need to control their anger; the slothful need to get to work; and the drunk needs to put down his bottle. The solution to the ills of America is to return to God.
It is the Word of God that leads us to Christ. We need the Word of God. It furnishes us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Paul said in that same chapter, 2 Timothy 3:15, that the Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation. They tell us about Christ, about the salvation he offers, the facts, threats, commands and promises.
Those who possess the Word of God should be impelled by these considerations to study it and to use it right. Neglect of the divine Word will be equally injurious today as it was three thousand years ago. The Word of God is as essential to spiritual life as bread and water are to the body. The worst kind of famine is a spiritual famine. It is a life void of divine direction and holy influence. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
"A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?" (Amos 3:8). A better America starts with me. Am I right with God? Am I living according to the Word of God? Am I standing up for God's truths? Am I trying to teach others what God's Word has to say? Because America needs the Bible.