O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again! You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; Heal its breaches, for it is shaking. You have shown your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion. You have given a banner for those who fear you, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah That your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and hear me. ~ Psalm 60:1-5
My lesson-learned this week: Men cannot be convinced of anything they’re not prepared, ready, or especially willing to know. Therefore, most all efforts to win a man to your cause in this way is most always a fool’s errand…as the intensifying toxic stream of Facebook political discourse continues to prove. As I said to the men in my bible study this past Thursday evening, “The thing about being the warrior as God intends us to be, is knowing, dealing with, and accepting the fact you will be attacked.” As a Conservative, I have long grown accustomed to the angry tone, foul language, and harmful intent unleashed in my direction. But I saw something in the “toxic stream” this week that gave me real pause. I saw these same tones, fouls, and intentions coming from our side in the culture war. It caused me to reflect back on the relationship between Saul and David, and their eventual moment of truth in 1 Samuel 24:1-22 It also made me think back to the famous line from John Page’s letter to Thomas Jefferson in July of 1776, “Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?”
When I read Psalm 60, It feels like David is writing about today. To be cast off by God is the worst calamity that can befall a man or a people; but the worst form of it is when the person is not aware of it and is indifferent to it. When the divine desertion causes mourning and repentance, it will be but partial and temporary. When a cast off soul sighs for its God it is indeed not cast off at all. Thou has scattered us. David clearly sees the fruits of the divine anger, he traces the flight of Israel’s warriors, the breaking of her power, the division in her body politic, to the hand of God. Whoever might be the secondary agent of these disasters, he beholds the Lord’s hand as the prime moving cause, and pleads with the Lord concerning the matter. Israel was like a city with a breach made in its wall, because her God was wroth with her. These first two verses, with their depressing confession, must be regarded as greatly enhancing the power of the faith which in the after verses rejoices in better days, through the Lord’s gracious return unto his people. ~ Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David
What is the history of the world, but a series of storms separated by moments of calm on the perilous but consistent sea of human nature? King David and John Page both knew the answer to the question, “Who directs this storm?” From David’s brief retreat from King Saul in the Wilderness of En Gedi, to Jefferson’s Monticello retreat from King George at the birthing of our nation, to our Fathered by God focus on the “Warrior” God Himself fathers us to be, this past Thursday evening in Warwick, hunkered in the shadows of an even darker and far more menacing tyrant…these are the three touch-points of today’s message.
When I look at my countrymen today, I see the same lack of awareness, indifference, scattering, the flight of the warrior from the heart of men, the division in our body politic, and the very same breach David saw, and Lincoln famously warned us of in his Lyceum Address. How then shall we perform it?–At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide. ~ Lyceum Address
I see these things more clearly than the noon day sun, and realize just as David realized and saw the Lord’s hand as the prime moving cause. Michael Snyder of TheMostImportantNews suggests that our present state of “Lonely, Miserable, and Depressed is the Legacy of a Society that has Rejected Family, Faith, and Patriotism”. This must be what Lincoln was referring to when he wrote we must ourselves be its author and finisher. No?
Not a single man in the room of this past Thursday’s “Warrior” discussion saw the threat in Virginia to disarm law-abiding Americans as our battle, in spite of my best efforts to suggest otherwise. Which, to my mind, answer’s Lincoln’s either/or question on the fate that awaits this nation of freemen…
I’m an optimist. I’m also a songwriter in the middle of my third album, When the World Turns Around. On it will be my song Just When You Think which contains the lyric, No flag I would die for could deliver a pain more eternally wounding than losing your love. God didn’t bring me together with the men in my Thursday night bible study to convince them, but He did bring me to challenge them. And I could surely feel the struggle on their hearts. Its not about fighting the things we hate. It is all about fighting for the things we love. And the artillery shells are starting to fall much closer to home. As we shudder at the thought of this being our 14-year-old son on the school bus.
That your beloved may be delivered…
In closing I need to share somethings to help you understand how God nurtured the warrior inside the man once mercilessly bullied as a young boy. For me, it began on sleepless night somewhere around 2010. I felt a tremendous sense of isolation as I lay awake in the middle of a very dark night, having lost childhood friends and people I loved because of my opposition to the building of a mosque on Ground Zero in Manhattan. It was a devastating place, and a major turning point in my life. I will NEVER forget the one email of support I woke up to the next morning from a friend in Ireland. She lifted my fallen spirit with a simple quote from Winston Churchill I can’t for the life of me remember, but it had to do with “when the lead starts flying”.
One last thing…there was something about getting hit in the face with a spinning back kick from my Karate instructor’s son, Harry Hamzy Jr., years ago…I liked it! I liked it because now I knew what it was like to get hit by the best…and get back up.
Save with Your right hand, and hear me.