Sunday, September 29, 2013

Proverbs 24:11-12 I didn't know . . .

I think I shared this summer that I was reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which details Hitler’s climb to power. What struck me from the beginning was the willingness of the majority of the German people to roll over as one by one their rights were taken away, and how they turned a blind eye to what was happening to their Jewish neighbors as they hoped to stay under the radar themselves. They needed to make a concerted effort “not to know.” So when I read these verses, I was struck by it’s blunt warning to those who would prefer not to know:

Rescue those who are being taken away to death;

    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.  
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”

    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,

    and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11-12)

The persecution of Jews has been going on throughout history. As God’s chosen people, they have been under attack since the beginning, as Satan tried and continues to try to prevent prophecies about the Messiah from being fulfilled - in particular the prophecy of his own doom. And other groups around them have either assented to the attacks or turned a blind eye. But this kind of selective blindness happens every day throughout our world. Whether we ignore the trafficking of young girls, or sit quietly as one population oppresses and murders another, we, too, are sometimes guilty of preferring not to know - or if we know, not getting involved. These verses say we will be held accountable for not rescuing people who are “stumbling to the slaughter.”

Once we know, we can’t undo the knowing. I’m wondering if this is why the millennial generation and many of their parents never read a paper or watch television news. I hear parents say all of the time, I don’t want to listen to bad news all day. Well, neither do I, and certainly, when you have small children in a home, you need to guard what images they see and what news they hear. However, how do we stop the evil tide if we pretend it isn’t there.

I grew up in a home in which the news was a big deal. My parents started the day with the LA Times and ended it with the 11 o’clock news. Had there been a CNN or Fox News in their day, I’m certain the TV would have been tuned to the news 24/7. My parents were actively involved in politics (our home was always a polling center on election days), and our dinner table topics were frequently current events.

These verses seem to challenge the desire to ignore the rest of the world. It sounds to me like we will be without excuse for failing to act. I know America can’t be the police of the world. We can’t rescue every child out of poverty. In fact Jesus told us there would always be poor among us. But it seems like we have been given a voice and financial blessing as a nation for a reason. Because we know we can’t do it all, there is a tendency to shrug our shoulders and not even try.

However, even though we cannot rescue ALL the children, we can save a few. We can sponsor a few through organizations like World Vision or Samaritan’s Purse. My daughter Emmy is a major proponent of rescuing through adoption. She had a T-shirt designed to help raise funds for adopting another Blakely which reads “145 Million ... minus one,” which refers to the number of orphans in the world, which can be reduced by one each time a family decides to make room for one more.

And we can be rescuing people from death every day as we share the LORD with them. People all around us are “stumbling to the slaughter,” as they march toward the end without Jesus. What are we doing to stop this? We certainly can’t claim we did not know. LORD, give us boldness and a sense of urgency about being rescuers. Open our eyes to what You see every day. Give us your heart of compassion and your will to do whatever we can do - little or big - to be light to a world in darkness.


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