As born-again believers, we’re called to love radically.
But what does that mean?
Jesus summed it up as loving our enemies, which means to pray for them and bless them and treat them as we would want to be treated, regardless of the circumstances.
Regardless of the circumstances.
It sounds so simple, but it’s actually the hardest thing in the world to do.
Lucky for us, Jesus showed us how to do it. Instead of berating Judas when he knew Judas was betraying him, Jesus embraced him and spoke kindly to him. Instead of cursing the people who were tormenting and ridiculing him at his crucifixion, Jesus prayed to God to forgive them. These are examples of radical love, and Jesus provided these examples to us so that we would follow them, regardless of the circumstances.
Regardless of the circumstances.
Stephen followed Jesus’ example of radical love when he prayed for the men stoning him to death. Peter and John also followed Jesus’ example by praying for their guards when they were in prison, and by choosing to remain imprisoned when they had the opportunity to escape (as they knew their escape would mean a death sentence for the guards).
We, as followers of Jesus, have an excellent opportunity right now to love radically by praying for those who support the taking away of our civil rights. We shouldn’t curse or oppose those people; we should pray for them and treat them kindly. This is what Jesus taught us to do, so this what we should do.
If we, as God’s children, don’t pray for them, who will?
Protesting is not prayer. Blasting horns at all hours of the day and night is not treating others as you’d want to be treated. That is the world’s way of dealing with things, but it shouldn’t be our way. We are called to love radically and to follow Jesus. When we instead follow the world by protesting, we are joining forces with the descendants of Barabbas. We are not loving our enemies when we protest; we are hating them and blaming them for our problems.
The only call to arms we should be responding to is the call to extend our arms in prayer and to spiritually embrace those who hate us. This is the radical love that born-again believers are called to practice every day, regardless of the circumstances. We are not called to protest, we are not called to point fingers of blame, we are not called to join forces with those who hate their enemies – we’re called to love our enemies radically, against our first gut instinct, and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
This is our mission as born-again followers of Jesus. This is our calling. If you’re having trouble doing it, you need to repent, get down on your face, and pray.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet they neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Welcome to the Foundational Tutorial lessons on the Ten Commandments! These lessons are intended for you to learn what you need to learn; they are not meant as a condemnation or judgement. As born-again followers of Jesus, we’re all still here on Earth because we’re all still learning about the Kingdom and how to live in it. As much as he was the Messiah, Jesus was also a teacher during his time here. His followers are likewise expected to teach others, after they themselves have learned what they need to learn, and practiced it.
We aren’t expected to be perfect (even Jesus wasn’t perfect), but we are expected to strive for perfection (“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect”) and to constantly work at improving ourselves.
The foundation of Jesus’ teachings was the Ten Commandments and everything that stemmed from the Commandments, so we clearly need to focus on them. They are the lifeline for staying on God’s Way, particularly in times of trouble and temptation. You’ll note that there are no asterisks (*) on any of the Commandments. That means there are no exceptions to these ten rules. You break them, you pay the price.
For an overview of the blessings that come from keeping the Commandments and the curses that come from not keeping them, see Deuteronomy 28.
LESSON ONE CONTENTS
- COVETING: A DEFINITION
- A WANT OR A NEED?
- SERIAL COVETING: Collecting, investing, prepping
- JOHN THE BAPTIST’S QUICK GUIDE ON HOW NOT TO COVET
- CREDIT CARDS, MORTGAGES, AND OTHER LENDING TEMPTATIONS
- THE EVIL ROOT OF COVETING
- tl;dr: SUMMARY
1. COVETING: A DEFINITION
Coveting is no different than any of the other Commandments that we’re not supposed to break. It’s not optional not to covet: It’s a Commandment not to covet.
But what exactly is coveting?
The world “covet” is rarely used these days, and I would argue that the word’s fall out of fashion is by design – of the devil. If you don’t know you’re doing something wrong, you’ll likely keep doing it. That’s a form of temptation. But not knowing you’re breaking a Commandment doesn’t make you entirely guilt-free, because God’s Commandments are written on your heart, just as they’re written on mine and on the heart of every person on Earth, including unbelievers. We may not call what we do “coveting”, but we do have the sense that it’s somehow wrong and is prompted by a spirit other than God’s. As born-again believers, it’s our job to know a temptation when we see one, and it’s definitely our job to know and keep the Commandments, even the ones that seem to belong to another age.
The Commandment not to covet specifically frames coveting in relation to your neighbour. However, we know from Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan that your neighbour can be anyone and everyone, not just your actual next-door neighbour. Your neighbour can even be a bank, a business, or even your enemy. So coveting has quite a broad reach.
But again, what is coveting? Simply put, to covet is to have an inordinate (unnaturally strong) desire to acquire something that you don’t actually need. It’s a want rather than a need – something or someone you desire without God’s prompting or blessing. It may also be something (or someone) that someone else has and that you want to take possession of. In this way, coveting includes aspects of greed and jealousy mixed in with desire and pride. Coveting is progressively obsessive and can lead to breaking nearly all the other Commandments in one fell swoop (think of David’s coveting of Bathsheba, and the fall-out from that).
In short, if you want what someone else has but you don’t need, you’re coveting.
The opposite of coveting is contentment with what you have, and cheerful and generous charity.
2. A WANT OR A NEED?
How can you make a distinction between things that you want and things that you need? When you covet (that is, desire something that you want rather than need), it’s almost like a game that you can’t stop playing. You strategize the acquisition; you plan the acquisition; you obsess over the acquisition. You must have the acquisition, and at any price. Maybe you saw what you want in an advertisement, or maybe you saw something that someone else has and that you decided you also must have. This is the classic “keeping up with the Joneses” that was the foundation for much of the now defunct American Dream.
Mass consumerism is based on coveting. It’s the devil’s temptation, mainly through ads, to get you to want what you don’t need, and to prompt you to act on your wants with lures and pressure tactics such as “no money down”, “zero interest payments”, and “Today Only!”. If you want to know what your neighbour has coveted in the past, go to a garage sale. Wants that weren’t actual needs are on full display, ranging from barely used gym equipment to “As Seen On TV!” kitchen gadgets with their box seals still unbroken. None of these things, obviously, were needed or they would have been used and would still be used.
Jesus says that God knows what we need even before we tell him. God knows what we need, and he’s ready and eager to provide it for us. All we have to do is say the word that we need this or that, and if God deems that it is a need, he will provide it. If you’re genuinely born-again, you’ll have extensives experience with this.
3. SERIAL COVETING: Collecting, investing, and prepping
People who engage in collecting, investing and prepping are actually breaking the Commandment not to covet, as collecting, investing and prepping are a form of serial coveting.
You can argue that a child needs a doll, but there is no arguing that an adult needs 100 dolls, or 100 collector plates, or 100 pieces of art. Collecting is a form of coveting. It is always prompted by desire or obsession to have something, rather than the need to have something. It may, on the surface, seem relatively harmless, but it is still a form of coveting and shouldn’t be done.
There is also no arguing that an adult needs 100 homes (or even more than one). Real estate investment is a major temptation in coveting, and we’re seeing the impact of this particular form of coveting today. The more people pour into the real estate investment market, the higher the demand for real estate, and so the higher the real estate valuations. The result is skyrocketing real estate prices that are not only preventing much of the world’s population from purchasing a home, but also causing rental prices to soar. The cost of basic shelter now takes up most of renters’ earnings. The coveting of real estate by investors is the reason for this. If you currently hold a mortgage, you’re part of the problem. You’re also guilty of coveting.
Investing in the stock market is another glaring form of coveting. The whole idea behind it is to get more money than you need by investing more money than you need. If ever there was a realm of mammon, this is it. Stock market investing also includes elements of obsession, greed, addiction, recklessness, and fear-driven decision-making. Steer clear of the stock market or any form of investment.
Besides, investing is a form of money-lending. Jesus says we’re to lend, expecting nothing in return, and that’s not much of an investment strategy. You’re better off taking any “extra” money you might have laying around and giving it (not lending it, giving it, no strings attached) to someone you know personally who’s working hard but struggling financially. That is far better stewardship of God’s blessings to you, and you will be bountifully blessed in return.
As much as many of you won’t want to hear this, prepping is a form of coveting. When you buy or plan to buy more food and supplies than you need at any given time, you’re coveting food and supplies. We live in New Testament times, not Old Testament times. We’re not like Joseph in Egypt, who stashed away enough food for seven years to survive a famine; we’re like Jesus, who had just enough food for his needs at any given time.
Now, your needs at any given time are linked to your access to food and supplies. If you only go shopping once a month, you should get a month’s worth of food and supplies; if you go shopping once every six months, you get six months’ worth of food and supplies. God gave us a brain and expects us to use it. It would be illogical and foolish to get one day’s worth of food and supplies if we’re not able to shop again for nearly a month. We should get what we need, not what we want or what others tell us we should want.
And there’s the crux of prepping: Prepping is an industry that is at heart a cult. As an industry, it’s built on pressure sales tactics, and as a cult, it’s driven by fear. According to preppers, you can never have enough food or supplies stashed away, so you’re always accumulating more and more, well beyond your needs. This is all done in preparation for a fabled time (SHTF) that has yet to come.
You should also keep in mind that when you buy more food and supplies than you need at any given time, the demand for the food and supplies goes up, which means the price goes up. So prepping is not only contributing to shortages in food and supplies for other people, but is also contributing to increases in the cost of food and supplies. If you’re a prepper, you’re guilty of causing hardship to others through shortages and rising costs.
If you’re still hanging onto Joseph as an example of your alleged need to prep, remember that Joseph was a prophet. Through an ability and blessing given to him by God, Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream about the coming famine. Joseph didn’t advise Pharaoh to accumulate 7 years’ worth of food and supplies because he was pressured into doing so by sales tactics and fear; he acted based on a dream interpretation given to him directly from God.
Finally, does your desire to prep come directly from God or from the prepping cult? In one of his parables, Jesus talks about a prepper-type character who had enough food and supplies to last him for a lifetime. He had so much, he had to tear down his storage barns and build bigger ones to hold everything. But did Jesus admire him for him that? No, he called him a fool. Within 24 hours of the guy thinking he could take it easy for the rest of his days, he died. All his prepping was in vain. He had put his faith in his own preps instead of putting it in God to provide for him. As a born-again believer, you don’t want to be that guy.
4. JOHN THE BAPTIST’S QUICK GUIDE ON HOW NOT TO COVET
John was Jesus’ cousin and was older than Jesus by a few months only. Even so, he’d started his ministry work well before Jesus did, and had gathered quite a loyal following by the time Jesus arrived on the scene. As a prophet, John well knew his role as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord, and to make his paths straight”. He baptised people in the River Jordan as a sign of their repentance. He even baptised Jesus.
During one of his baptising sessions, John was asked by various people how they should live their lives as newly baptised penitents. This is what he advised:
“He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise…. Exact no more than that which is appointed you…. And be content with your wages” (Luke 3: 11-14).
This is a good summation of how to live a life free of coveting, to show gratitude to God for his blessings, and to cheerfully and willingly help others in need. Being born-again doesn’t make you exempt from any of these things; in fact, being born-again makes you even more beholden to live a life that’s free of coveting.
5. CREDIT CARDS, MORTGAGES, AND OTHER LENDING TEMPTATIONS
The Old Testament tells us that “neither a borrower nor a lender be”, and Jesus tells us that we should “lend without expecting anything in return.” Both of these directives fly in the face of borrowing or lending money through common mechanisms like credit cards, mortgages, or other loans.
It’s quite possible to live without a credit card. I do. I have a “smart card” that acts like a VISA card, but is loaded with my money. If you’re a born-again believer, there’s no reason to have a “dumb card” (that is, a traditional credit card) if the smart card option is available. Non-smart credit cards act as a form of loan, which means they are a form of coveting that enables you to buy more than you need. You don’t need to use them.
It’s also quite possible to live without a mortgage or any other form of loan. I do. I rent and I make do with the money that I earn or is given to me. It’s always enough. It’s extraordinary how God provides exactly the amount I need at any given time, almost to the penny.
As my grandmother used to say: “The Good Lord provides”, and indeed he does. As long as we keep our end of the deal, God will keep his. The only time I ever went short as a born-again believer was many years ago, when I broke a Commandment and didn’t heed God’s advice to do something. I learned my lesson from these mistakes and have never done them again.
We can’t expect to live as we choose, breaking the Commandments at will, and then expect God to keep blessing us. Born-again believers are especially held to task in this regard: We’re like the family’s eldest children who have to set a good example for the younger ones. That’s also Jesus’ role for us.
There’s no need either to lend or to borrow, not for any reason. If we keep up our end of the deal, the Good Lord provides us with more than enough. If you can’t afford to buy a house, rent one. There is no excuse or justification for a born-again believer to be in debt to anyone for any reason. Jesus never was, and we’re to follow the example set by Jesus, not by the world.
6. THE EVIL ROOT OF COVETING
The root of coveting – the reason that it’s wrong – is this: When you covet, you’re saying that God is either unable or unwilling to provide for your needs. You’re saying that you know better than God, and that what God is providing for you is insufficient. Coveting is a sign of ingratitude for God’s blessings. It’s a sign of weak faith or even no faith. Instead of saying “I rely on God”, you’re saying “I rely on me”. It’s a shifting from worship of God and his abilities to a worship of you and your abilities. It’s cutting God out of the life equation.
Are you guilty of coveting?
This is the question you need to ask yourself.
Don’t tell me the answer; I don’t want to know. It’s none of my business. You’re the only one who needs to know whether or not you’re guilty of coveting, and if you are, you’re the one who needs to make the decision to stop doing it. That’s the right thing to do. God is patient, but at some point, time is up, so don’t wait too long do to the right thing when you know it is the right thing to do.
Remember that, when they got the call, Jesus’ disciples and followers walked away from everything – homes, spouses, children, jobs – everything. God then provided for their every need as it arose. The spirit of coveting drives us to acquire things that we want rather than need and to be discontented with the blessings that God has already given us. As such, coveting involves major aspects of “the grass is greener on the other side”, but we know from personal experience that it is never greener; it only appears to be greener when viewed from a distance.
If you are guilty of coveting through any of the various ways and means that the devil uses to tempt us, you need to stop doing it. That’s the bottom line. How and when you stop is up to you, but the sooner, the better. You have no idea how much more time you have on Earth, and you don’t want to be standing before God on Judgement Day, knowing you should have stopped doing something but choosing to keep doing it. That is not how you want to be standing before God when you’re time comes.
Again, when they got the call, the disciples left everything. They just got up and left. Jesus did, too, prior to starting his ministry work, and Paul followed suit after he’d converted. These are all excellent examples of lives lived without coveting. These examples are meant to be followed.
7. tl;dr: SUMMARY
- If you have more than you need or want more than you need, you’re coveting and need to stop doing it.
- Coveting comes wrapped up as all kinds of temptations, from collecting to investing to prepping, and even to borrowing money to buy a house or car. If you have to borrow money to buy something, you don’t need it. If you continue to want what you can’t afford and can only get through borrowing, you’re coveting.
- If you keep God’s Commandments and follow Jesus’ example in everything you do, God will provide for your every need. Jesus told us that God knows our needs even before we know them ourselves, and just as he provides for all his creatures on Earth, he gladly provides for us.
- If you’re grateful for and content with what you have, you will avoid coveting. Be grateful and content. Keep God’s Commandment.
“Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in my affliction.”
(Psalm 119: 92)
FOUNDATIONAL TUTORIAL: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: Deuteronomy 28: The rewards of obedience and disobedience
Lesson One of the Foundational Tutorial (on coveting) will be posted shortly. However, I think what’s in order first is to remind ourselves of the very clearly stated consequences both for obeying and for disobeying God’s Commandments. God gives us equal capacity to obey and to disobey him, and he also lets us know in no uncertain terms the rewards for our obedience and disobedience. He lays all the cards on the table for us. He always does. It’s up to us how we choose to play them.
References to these rewards for obedience and disobedience appear throughout scripture, but Moses gave the most complete and detailed run-down of them in Deuteronomy 28. As you read through them, note how many of the blessings and curses came to pass already in Old Testament times, and how many of them are coming to pass today.
Below is the chapter in its entirety. The contents were originally included as a companion to the 10 Commandments, so that whenever the Commandments were read aloud to God’s people (which was at least once a year, at Passover), the blessings and curses were also read aloud. That tradition fell away over the centuries, with only occasional come-backs (depending on who was king), but the tradition has been completely lost in Christianity. It needs to come back. Even a cursory reading of Deuteronomy 28 helps to explain a lot of what’s happening in the world today, both on an individual and a collective level. In fact, Deuteronomy 28 pretty much explains everything that’s happening.
Take a read through the chapter and see how you measure up. It can be very sobering to see aspects of yourself, as a born-again believer, reflected in the list of curses. But it’s better that you know now, than to find out too late on Judgement Day. If you are living the rewards of disobedience, you need to find out what you’re doing wrong, and you need to stop doing it. That’s the main reason for the Foundational Tutorial on the Commandments: To help you get right and stay right with God.
Deuteronomy 28 (King James Version)
28 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.
3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
7 The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways.
10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.
11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
24 The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
25 The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
27 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
29 And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
32 Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in thine hand.
33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
35 The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.
36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee.
38 Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
40 Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
43 The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.
44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
45 Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee:
46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever.
47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
49 The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;
50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young:
51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.
52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee.
53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee:
54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave:
55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates.
56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter,
57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.
58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God;
59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
60 Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee.
61 Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
62 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God.
63 And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.
64 And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:
66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:
67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
68 And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
You don’t get rid of your chains by rattling them – you just further enrage yourself and provide amusement for those who applied your chains.
The only way to get rid of chains is to repent and live the Gospel.
I mention this because there is currently a “Freedom Convoy” converging on Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Thousands of truckers are rolling in from all points in Canada and the U.S., cheered on by roadside flag-waving supporters and a multi-million-dollar gofundme campaign. The participating truckers and their supporters are protesting Canada’s health-related mandates. The truckers plan to remain in Ottawa until all the mandates are dropped.
As a Canadian, I wish I could be happy about the Freedom Convoy. I wish I weren’t a party-pooper. I wish that regaining freedom were as simple as rolling into a nation’s capital in a big rig and waving a laundry list of demands like a magic wand. But that’s not how the world works because that’s not how God’s justice works.
The world is the way it is as the result of people’s thoughts and actions, mitigated by God’s mercy. The world is God’s justice playing out in real time. The mandates are part of it. The more godly the thoughts and actions of the people living in a particular place, the freer that place is. When I say “godly”, I mean treating other people as you want to be treated. I mean fearing God and following the Ten Commandments. I mean being honest, polite, and hard-working, and having integrity. This is the way most people in former Christian countries used to be, which is why those countries used to be free. The countries weren’t free because the citizens protested their way into freedom. Protesting brings only negative rewards, not positive ones. Moses very clearly explained that freedom is the reward of a godly society, which is why former Christian nations have now devolved into medical dictatorships. The mandates and those who decree them aren’t to blame for this state of affairs; the people living in the nations are.
You don’t gain (or regain) freedom by protesting the way the world is, because what you’re essentially doing is protesting God’s justice. When you protest, you’re fighting against God. This is why Jesus never protested the Roman occupation of Israel and Judah, like Barabbas did. Jesus’ only arguments were against people in positions of authority who misrepresented God and scripture. But the way the world was, Jesus let be. It was not his concern. He was not interested in fighting against the well-deserved Roman occupation of Israel and Judah because he wasn’t interested in fighting against God.
As born-again believers, we have to be very, very, very careful not to fall into the trap of believing that freedom and justice can be achieved by protesting and killing. This is a temptation of the devil, to believe that good can come from bad. Good can only come from good, just as bad can only come from bad. The trucker protest in Canada is a protest against the earned rewards of a society that has rejected God and his Way. Canada has fallen into a state of medical tyranny not because the country’s politicians and policy-makers have imposed draconian mandates, but because the thoughts and actions of the people now living there have earned the tyranny. The imposition of the mandates is the reward for Canada’s devolvement into an ungodly nation.
In other words, the worse the thoughts and actions of the people living in Canada, the worse the living conditions will be there. The politicians and policy-makers are only administering God’s justice. Even if the mandates were dropped, the negative rewards that are due would simply manifest as something else equally unpleasant. There is no escaping God’s justice. In fact, trying to escape it only makes the negative rewards worse.
I’m reminded of a young child who is told to go to his room as a punishment for being naughty, and he protests the punishment by throwing a tantrum. When you support protests, you’re participating in the tantrum. Born-again believers need to stay far, far away from supporting protests. We understand that the world is the way it is as the result of God’s justice playing out in real time, and that fighting against the way the world is, is fighting against God.
We need instead to be like Jesus and to focus on preaching and teaching the Kingdom. We need to treat others as we would want to be treated, and we need to fear God, keep the Commandments, and do our best to be honest, polite, and hard-working. We need to have integrity in everything we do. And we need to do all this in sufficient numbers, to make it count. That is how you make a nation free, not by protesting.