"SWEAT OF THE FACE"- REALLY?

February 26, 2019

For a variety of reasons, the world views the Bible with an increasing volume of contempt.  One of particular significance is a reflection of the contemporary liberal hue and cry favoring socialism.  The Scriptures stand in opposition to a “do all, be all, meet all needs” type of government.  This, of course, sounds strange to a nanny state disciple who equates God with giant statism.  Without controversy, the advancement of socialism/communism is highly dependent upon the teachings of Bible Christianity being proportionately dismissed.  Complete success can only be achieved when the state replaces God.

The principles of individual responsibility, featuring hard work and futuristic planning, are ground in the granite of Scripture.  The disobedience and fall of our first parents resulted in the following condemnation:  “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” (Genesis 3:19)  The reason given was a curse that fell upon the earth producing sorrow, thorns and thistles.  In plain words, it was the Lord’s intention for mankind to work through adversity rather than avoid it.  Low resistance develops compromised character - resulting in low achievement.  It is the sweat of the face, not the benevolent brow of the bureaucracy that produces human fulfillment.

To escape the wrath of a holy God upon a civilization that had succumbed to total decadence, Noah was obliged to spend 120 years dedicated to the construction of a giant ship.  For those who doubt the accuracy of the Biblical account of the flood, I would challenge them to visit “Ark Encounter” in northern Kentucky.  Not only is the basic structure extremely impressive, but the displays and artifacts are very convincing.  The Lord could have lifted Noah and his family heavenward as He did Enoch in the previous chapter, but his assigned destiny was the “sweat of his face.”  There have always been some who work harder at avoiding the perspiration than a real job would require.  In contradiction to the dictates of the Designer of the human race, socialism is rushing to the aid of the undeserving.

During the forty year wilderness wandering, Israel survived by manna sent from heaven.  When the time came for them to relocate unto Canaan, the manna ceased, forcing the Jews to live off the land (Joshua 5:11,12).  Canaan represented the hope of greater prosperity, but that was accompanied with the challenge of labor.

The city of Jericho housed pagan enemies that stood in the way of a divinely directed immigration:  “And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” (Joshua 6:2)  However, that assurance was immediately followed by instructions concerning Israel’s participation in the conquest.  They were required, by faith, to do some things that on the surface seemed ridiculous.  Couldn’t the God Who sustained them for forty years knock the walls of the city down, extinguish the enemy, allowing General Joshua and his army to observe the work of the “captain of the Lord’s host?”  Provided popcorn would have been a nice touch, but alas, Israel was compelled to get their hands dirty.  Once again, for the benefit of the critics, archeological digs have verified the validity of this Biblical chronicle.

After 450 years of a theocratic kingdom which emphasized individual liberty and responsibility, Israel demanded larger government under the authority of a king.  Their reasoning was based upon imitating their neighboring nations.  During the period of the Judges, national crises were met by God calling upon individuals to deal with the situation.  Usually, they were people of no reputation who were blessed with the power of God.  In due season the Philistines, the perennial enemies of Israel, were once again threatening.  They paraded a giant named Goliath out to challenge any champion of the Hebrews to a duel to the death.  The condition was…national servitude would be hung around the neck of the loser…winner take all.  King Saul’s new improved big government trembled in their sneakers, void of a plan.

The remedy was found in a young man named David who had been employed in the sheep business.  Guarding the flock in the wilderness was fraught with adversities including predatory beasts which carried lambs off for dinner.  David could have chosen victimhood but instead went on the offensive, killing both a lion and a bear (I Samuel 17:34-36). Harvard has no courses in predator whacking, but the school of hard knocks is wonderful preparation for giant killing.

King Saul insisted that David use his own government-issued armor, but the young hero declined, preferring the weapon of the wilderness, the use of which had been perfected through countless hours of practice.  A smooth stone flung from a sling travelling faster than a Randy Johnson fastball is deadly when directed by heavenly optics.  The narrative records four different testimonies of David’s confidence in the Lord’s ability to give the victory.

Today’s snowflakes have been deprived of a Bible education which would inform them of the necessity of difficulties for the preparation of giant killing; and most importantly, it speaks loud and clear about a God Who is willing to guide the stone.  The sad alternative is to rush to the king who can promise the moon but only deliver green cheese.

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