“Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin,” (Isaih 30:1). How coincidental that these verses about trusting in Egypt, a symbol for human support, are in today’s 66 Books Reading Plan. The tragic event in the Middle East last week occurred on the anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States, a reminder that the anger and hostility of racist, radical factions continue to boil and spew out murderous intent.
Perhaps my gender is a handicap to understanding how opinions create terrorists. I am always struck dumbfounded at that kind of violence. But I recently heard the testimony of a gentle, godly man named Tom Tarrants who was shot, imprisoned, and saved from suicide twice. He had tried to bomb the house of a local Jewish family during the 60’s when he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. As I listened, I got a glimpse of how a mind can be shackled to a deadly idea. It should scare us all that men go into the streets or hide in the dark to plot against others.
Are ‘those people’ insane? Even if they have no knowledge of or belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they are believers in the Law of Moses or just have “a law unto themselves,” God says that man can do what is lawful because of “their conscious also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them,” (Romans 2:15). So if conscious is missing, what will stop the murderous acts and brutal behavior of man? What can change man?
In Isaiah 30: 18, God says that He will wait, that He will be gracious to us; and in verse 15, God promises that “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” I imagine sitting at the table, reading God’s word, praying, and listening for His words of peace to direct me daily. This is similar to how Tom changed. His conversion happened alone in a jail cell after reading the Bible’s life-changing words. The process began with the hearing of the word, seeds planted in his heart long before his reign of terror; then reading the word, beginning as an act of boredom in prison; and finally a confession of faith in Christ who was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. Today this saintly man is no longer a racist and terrorist; he is a defender of the faith and a teacher of disciples of Christ. It seems so simple, too easy, and yet is so universal.
Terrorism, revenge, and riotous anger should be met with justice to protect the innocent. However, without judging others, shouldn’t we pray for and offer the gospel to all men? Who knows whether or not the heart of someone heading down the path of destruction will be turned back to sanity!