Friday, August 16, 2019

The Devil's Den

      Twenty five years before the fighting took place at a spot called the Devil's Den at the Battle of Gettysburg, there was a different spot Lincoln referred to as a devil's den.  Before Abraham Lincoln held any elected office, he was already making a name for himself in political circles.  In a speech made on December 20, 1839, to the House of Representatives, you can see the beginning embers that would eventually grow into a blaze during his Presidency.  He viewed the infighting, compromises, and weaknesses of Washington politics as spiritual corruption at its roots.  In that speech, he says, "I know that the great volcano at Washington is aroused and directed by that evil spirit that reigns there.  Like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of that evil spirit fiendishly taunt all those who dare resist its destroying course."  Sounds a lot like the political climate of today.

At the beginning, and throughout, till even the last year of the Civil War, powerful men continued to pressure Lincoln to give into the South's demands on slavery.  Lincoln saw Slavery not just as a flawed economic system, but as an inherently wicked system.  He believed there was no way to compromise, and let it remain as an institution of the United States.  It had to be abolished, once and for all.  Even when the war was going badly for the North, and there was a real possibility Lincoln might lose the war, he would not waver.  When the press, public opinion, and even his own party turned against him, still he would not give in.

 His words ring as truth now as they did then, "The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me... Here without contemplating consequences, before heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause."

 We, the Church, one hundred and fifty years after those words were penned, must be as dedicated.  Has anything really changed when it comes to challenges and choices?  It does not take much spiritual insight to see that it's a spiritual battle we are in.  Lincoln understood the deeper root of the conflict was spiritual in nature.  The same can be said of what is currently taking place in America.  Sadly, many of the laws of the Land conflict with our long held and cherished Biblical truths.  Many of today's accepted cultural trends stand in harsh contrast to our Christian worldview.  The temptations for us today are the same that confronted Lincoln:  abandon the cause, give into the majority, and accept their point of view as right.  This we cannot do.  This we will not do. Peer pressure is a powerful force to be sure, but the Holy Spirit within us is more than up to the task.

     "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but those who put their trust in the Lord will be kept safe."  Proverbs 29:25
    "You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, don't be swayed by the mood of the majority that surrounds you."   Exodus 23:2
    "Do not be conformed to the image of this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you can prove what the good and perfect Will of God is."  Romans 12:2

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