Choices for the people of Northern Africa
The conflict in North Africa that has resulted in the overthrow of the governments of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya now is faced with a monumental decision. Where do they go from here? Each must establish a government and each must pick a standard by which to govern. Do they govern by a council of men like the communists, do they govern by democracy where the majority rules like the French, do they govern by the rules of a theology and if so who’s theology. This is the same situation that the Israelites were faced with when they came to Canaan. Joshua presented them with this decision. Joshua 24:14 and 15
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river and in Egypt. Serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the Gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The people of these countries have the choice, they can serve another man like the dictators they just removed from power, they can serve the god of their fathers in Islam and have an Islamic government, they can serve the god of men and have an atheistic government like China or France or they can choose a democratic-republic form of government. Regardless of their choice they must also choose what form of moral code they will live by. For no government can provide and manage the morality of the people, this is left to each person to choose. John Adams said it when this nation was formed; the constitution is wholly inadequate to govern an immoral nation. The founding fathers were relying on the moral teaching of the bible to provide the personal foundation that would act as the ethics of the new nation.
In these three new countries it appears that all three will choose sharia law as the moral teaching. If history repeats its self these nations will languish in poverty and instability at best and at worst will dissolve into rule by another iron handed dictator or council. When people give to their government the power to set the moral code of the county they are left hostage to the moral interpretation of those that run that government and in time will be faced with a moral and ethical dilemma to either comply or rebel. We have seen this in France during the revolution, Germany in the 30’s and 40’s, Russia in the teens through the 1980’s and before that under the Czars, China under the Maoist dictators and currently in Iran. But the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and others who followed the teachings of Christ and called upon each of their citizens to make a personal commitment to those teachings, have prospered. Over the centuries many of their citizens have strayed away from that commitment but much of the beliefs and standards still permeate the culture.
As Jesus gave us the parable of the man cleansed of the demon (Matthew 12:43-45), these countries have been cleansed of a demon and are now left with a vacuum or emptiness that must be filled. The question is will it be filled with the truth which is Christ (“I am the way the truth and the life”) or will it be filled as the man was with another demon only seven times worse. If we look at Iran or Iraq we see turmoil. If we look at Kuwait, Saudi Arabia we see unbridled indulgence and a morality of convenience. These nations do not have a real moral compass that guides the country though they invoke one when it is convenient to fit the situation and the people involved. The leaders of Iran set the moral compass that is used to keep them in power and repress the freedom of the people. They do not acknowledge their failures for to do so would bring their authority and divine appointment into question.
Even though the U.S. is not perfect (it has never claimed to be perfect) it is one of the few countries that acknowledges its failures, deals with the fall out of those failures and makes an attempt (however belated) to correct the wrongs. Because of this and the acknowledgement that our government exists by the grace of God and the will of the people, Americans are in many ways free. In few countries will you see a people free to discuss their beliefs, their hopes or their wishes. We do this regularly in this country without consequence from the government but not without consequence from the competing opinions of other people. In the court of public discourse we hold one another accountable. This is the America of free discourse and this is why, when one group tries to suppress the others free speech, there is so much backlash. But in Iran, Russia, China, the State or the powers that be, hold the right to express an opinion and only those that are in agreement may express their view point. They make the State either to be god or to be treated as the agent of god who is perfect or who cannot or should not be criticized. For who can question god?
But it was God through Moses who established representative government, created both a moral code and a civil code from which we derive our government. It is this spiritual standard that fills the vacuum and there is no place for the demon. For this government to work we the people must fill ourselves with Gods Holy Spirit and in so doing become His children by adoption. For where God’s Holy Spirit dwells no demon can reside. In America if we do not dedicate our hearts to God and search His word, and His will for us we will not be able to hold this republic together because this republic cannot sustain it’s self without a moral people behind it. This is why America is in greater discord today than at almost any time since it’s founding. America and the people in power that have the access to the most vocal public opinions have rejected the moral foundations of the Christian faith and now take delight in ridiculing those of faith. But they have no moral code to offer and no foundation on which to build. This is the madness of these times. While the liberated North African countries may be free of their dictators they are empty and looking for a leader to show them the right way morally and they can’t find a leader or a teaching so they are reverting back to the only thing they know and in the end maybe far worse off.