Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Monday, 02 July 2012


By Jim Jordal

 "For, behold, the day comes, it burns as a furnace; and all the proud, and all who work wickedness, will be stubble; and the day that comes will burn them up," says Yahweh of Armies, "that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  But to you who fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings. You will go out, and leap like calves of the stall.  You shall tread down the wicked; for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make," says Yahweh of Armies.

 "Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded to him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes.  He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Malachi 4:1-6, WEB

The news is not good! Recent studies reveal that 40 percent of all American births, 50 percent of pregnancies for women under age 30 and 80 percent of pregnancies among black women occur outside of marriage. And all studies of children born into incomplete families over the past generation reveal a greatly increased likelihood of serious difficulties in later life with substance abuse, personal abuse, familial relationships, educational achievement, criminal behavior, general social adjustment and success in the field of work.

Couple this sobering information with the already-difficult situation of incomplete families living on the edges of low income, education, medical sufficiency and retirement future, and you have an explosive, almost revolutionary mix of people existing so far from anything we might call successful as to be virtually hopeless. We’re not far from social collapse, at least in many major population centers.

Families not only produce children, but are also one major avenue for socialization of the young. Families coupled with the educational establishment mould children into socialized beings, meaning they are able to exist and contribute in a positive manner to a successful society. But when families break down—as the evidence suggests is happening in many areas of American life--we can expect increasing problems with educational achievement, crime, personal and substance abuse, and employment options.

There is a definite economic component to this mess, but it seems as if the real culprit is the sea change in public moral values regarding marriage and parenthood. What only a generation or so ago was thought to be the providence of people living outside the normal value system, or perhaps just unlucky, has now become acceptable and even desirable.

The present political situation is not hopeful if you’re looking for some real leadership in dealing with these pressing social problems. Neither party seems to have a clue as to what’s going on, and even if they did, could we expect any serious progress in a helpful direction? One party seems to think more money will solve all such problems, while the other thinks that cutting off as much government aid and reducing overall government expenditures is the answer.

But money, while helpful and necessary, is not the answer. We need widespread repentance from our sinful moral climate led by civil leaders guided by principles set forth by God and upheld by the clergy presiding over our vast religious establishment. The prophets of old—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, Amos and others knew this, but we seldom hear of their protests because we’re so caught up in the "feel good" gospel that we don’t want to say anything that might trouble the people. But the people need to be troubled by their sin, and they need religious leaders willing to say this publicly and continuously.

So what can you do if this doesn’t happen? You can do as God says: "Come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sin." You can’t actually leave society unless you want to become a hermit, but you can leave spiritually and psychologically. You can refuse to give your loyalty to the system, and you can refuse to let the systems of this world control your thinking and behavior. You can be "in the world, but not of the world."

Don’t allow the giants—economic, political, or social—to rob you of your faith that God knows what he is doing, and that he will bring about his earthly kingdom no matter what world leaders decide. More about this next week.