21 And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Jotham was innocent but was being hunted by Abimelech’s men. This innocent life was being hunted because of the unjust and murderous agenda of a would-be dictator. The story of Jotham is grabbing us by the throat and shaking us out of apathy today, “Go help! There are innocent lives at stake! Get up. Do Something!!” We are called to stand up for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These God-given rights must be protected by everyone in a society. We need to be people that protect the innocent regardless of our political affiliation. We must fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. When we see injustice in the world, in our neighborhood, or in our society, we can’t Stay in the Woods and say, “No Big Deal.” We must be the voice of consciousness speaking up for the unborn. For the families dying of hunger and without water in 3rd world countries, we must speak both conviction and protection for others.
In October of 2008, when I was delivering the series of sermons about Godonomics at our church, a young woman was walking into a planned parenthood abortion clinic. She was 17 at the time. She didn’t feel like she had any options and wasn’t ready to be a mom. The doctors told her that this fetus in her was nothing more than a piece of tissue. Despite the overwhelming evidence from science, philosophy, as well as rational thought that is in opposition to this type of blind ignorance, these lies were fed to her in hopes of helping her have an abortion. She listened, she cried, and then she walked out the front door. In her womb was my soon to be adopted son Quinn. I didn’t know her. I was happily married with a 9 year old and 11 year old. I was pretty happy at the season of life I was in -without diapers, nurseries, and changing tables. I was happy that my empty nest years were only 10 years off and had comfortable plans to enjoy my time with my wife sooner rather than later.
Though a incredible series of connected God-incidents, I met Jackie and she agreed to take the baby to term and place him in our home. I got to see the challenges of being an unwed mother. The pressure to just eliminate the child and “get on with it.” My wife befriended her and walked through the process together. We picked out Quinn’s name together. My wife Beth and I chose to make Quinn’s middle name a gift to his biological mom’s decision to bring him to term. His middlename is Jaxon to remind us that he is “Jackie’s Son.” I will forever be thankful that a single girl chose to have the conviction to protect the life of the son I didn’t even know I loved until 4 months later.
6 “Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves– 17 for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother–
We can’t ignore the political ramifications of this passage. Jotham is saying, “You are allowing a corrupt leader to kill off 70 of my brothers, take money from the temple, hire murderers, and you are just going about your daily life. He says, “You killed his seventy sons” to the “innocent” citizens who stood back and did nothing as his brothers were killed. He cries out, “GET OUT OF THE WOODS!”
Whether you grew up with a persuasion toward apathy or strongly leaning in one direction (left or right), this is a call that Christians should not ignore evil. The evil of stealing from one group to give to another. The evil of political corruption in a union boss, in a CEO, a company asking the government to bail them out by enslaving our children. Christians have an allegiance to a higher kingdom of truth rather than a political party. We must not approve of the killing of children. We must not stand for the corruption or injustice of any leader: blue or red. Apathy is not enough. Inactivity is not enough.
“All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing” ~Edmund Burke
I believe strongly that the Gospel speaks to, but transcends politics. I know Christians who are very red and very blue. I’ve pastured churches where Christians passionately debated details of public policy. I’ve always loved this statement by C.S. Lewis
“Christianity has not, and does not profess to have, a detailed political program for applying ‘do unto others’ to a particular society at a particular moment. It could not have. It is meant for all men at all times, and the particular program which suited one place or time would not suit another.” ~C.S. Lewis in Social Morality
As much I I agree that the Bible doesn’t give a detailed political program; I wholeheartedly know that the Bible does give clear unwavering principles for thinking through public policy. As for me, I felt called to use my gifts to educate and get involved in a more intentional way. I was convicted by this passage in Judges which I was studying back in December of 2009. I needed to find a way with my gifts and talents to GET OUT OF THE WOODS!
Through history it’s been Christians who’ve said, “I’m getting out of the woods. I’m gonna help with unborn by adopting. I am going to help the homeless by serving them.” Doctors, Adopters. Home Building. Clean water. They all spring from a well of Christians and citizens who say, “I’ve got to get out of the woods of my own life and busyness to help impact the world.” They were mobilized by One who got out of the woods Himself.
The only way we will mobilize ourselves out of our comfortable lives. The only way we will get out of the woods. The only way we will see others in trouble and stop ignoring the flames is when we see Christ. Jesus was comfortable. Jesus was busy enjoying the cosmic delight of heaven. And yet, he didn’t ignore the flames. He saw evil and injustice in our world, but he could’ve stayed in his home. He didn’t. He left heaven. He got out of the beautiful and majestic forest of God and came to serve us. He came to help us. To take on the thorn bush of evil. To face the stings and thorns of Satan. He allowed God to pour out the flames of evil upon him.
If you and I do not step up and get involved…
If you and I do not stop complaining…
If you and I do not become actively involved in public life…
The thornbush will rule the forest. It might be a red thornbush or a blue thornbush, but it will be a thornbush. Godonomics is a challenge to get involved in proclaiming His kingdom while living in this kingdom.
For more information, check out www.godonomics.com