I love the Proverbs. They attracted me like a magnet from the earliest days of my spiritual youth. While rearing a family and running a small business the need for wisdom is constant. I do not read them as often now but they just keep coming back at times opportune or sometimes random it seems. However, not every hoary word derives from the lectionary of true Wisdom.
Folly of Government Proverbs
Having become more alert to the machinations of the Serpent and the government Leviathan, their own attempts to wax wise do not settle so easily on my ears. Proverbs tells us that “wisdom shouts in the streets” but she shouts not alone. There is another voice screaming for attention. Leviathan’s clanging cymbal bangs ever louder with every passing season. Click It Or Ticket – did you fasten your seat belt? Proverbs 16:17 reads, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil, He who watches his way preserves his life.” Leviathan gives a different highway message, something supposedly more practical, to keep you from putting your face through the glass. This is the way of government advice. They are forever nittering at us about proper behavior in their usurping kingdom but never have a lick of transcendent wisdom. The real, eternal kingdom, is incomprehensible to them so they pick at us like a gaggle of geese with a hapless toad.
The weird thing is that they (the government’s minions) snivel endlessly about the separation of church and state. They assert that we Christians are ready every moment to oppress them with our Biblical injunctives. They are horrified, horrified they say, at the thought of hearing a single quote from that “Book”. Yet we are to endure patiently their moralisms writ large in every avenue communication allows.
My radio belches an unending stream of sophorisms geared to the idiot. They tell me not to litter because, “Tennessee has had enough.” Well, that’s great, but do you have to use tax money to tell me that forty times a day? God told us to put the latrine outside the camp but He did not tax us for the message. The EPA tells us to, ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’. God tells us that the earth is His and the fullness thereof, meaning at least in part, don’t wreck it. I read that the English are placing cameras and scales on their dumpsters now to catch those who recycle insufficiently. They have no threat of hearing about the earth belonging to God but they better get their bottles in the right box or the government will drag them to hell before their time.
Casting Lots . . . and the Lottery
Proverbs instructs that, “The lot is cast in the lap, but it’s every return is from the Lord” and, “The lot puts an end to contentions, and decides between the mighty.” Leviathan, in a gross twisting of the blessing now begs us to gamble through every venue known to man. TV, radio, billboards, and posters all enjoin us to join the game. When I was a child it was illegal to gamble in almost every state. They used to protect us from the wiles of those unscrupulous vendors. But the state needed more cash so now we are told to help the schools by buying tickets. This is not a once in a life time request either. They badger us ceaselessly to bid up the pot. For the state, morality is whatever shoves greater power and money to the center. If the poor and the stupid get hurt they don’t care. It’s the schools after all, who can deny the good intentions? Meanwhile, the larger society and the church both would never give any credence to the idea of settling a dispute by drawing lots. That would be wicked we all know, and no Christian man would ever think it. You can not gamble with people’s lives (just their money and their schools). Proverbs is wrong obviously but we are not exactly supposed to say it like that.
Proverbs Enforced at the Barrel of a Gun
When I was a kid we were warned about the horrors of Communism. One of the things that was supposed to make the Soviet Union so deeply abhorrent was the system of citizens spying on each other. The secret networks were everywhere and your best friend would turn you in for a handful of coins and a bottle of cheap vodka. We were glad we lived in the west where people are free. Nobody reports you here in America. Oh, but wait, now there are ads and commercials everywhere assuring us of the true wisdom of turning in our neighbors. There are cash rewards, TIPS, for turning in poachers, money for helping catch litterers, and percentage programs for turning in IRS cheats (those who earn over $200,000.00) and other nefarious rascals.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good (Prov. 15:3).
Uncle Sam’s eyes are too and you can get paid for what you help him see. Those messages and moralisms pasted everywhere we go are not innocent. They define the law Leviathan enforces. His teeth will crush your bones if you do not pay attention. God’s proverbs come with His Spirit to help us obey. The government’s proverbs are enforced at the barrel of a gun. Be careful where you throw that wrapper.
Lately, with the present crises pressing our financial system my radio spouts the approved wisdom we are supposed to obey. It was about three weeks ago that I started hearing radio blurbs informing us that all of those who have removed their money from the banks should put it back in. We are assured that the banks are absolutely safe, everything is OK. Do not be foolish by storing it under your mattress (that is really what is said)! So besides their great advice about safe driving, safe schools, safe sex, safe eating habits, and safe use of our Social Security cards, now they want us to trust them when they say the banks are safe. But Solomon’s words keep coming back to me,
A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.
This article was originally published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2010.