"Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, “Why did you deceive us by saying, ‘We live a long way from you,’ while actually you live near us?"
This passage from Joshua, chapter 9, is a story about employing a strategy to stay alive (please read the chapter for more context).
My thinking has been challenged lately by my seven year old son who invited me to play chess with him. I have NEVER PLAYED chess in my entire life! After learning the basic moves, patterns, and strategy, it became obvious that my seven year old would have beaten me every time had not his older siblings come to rescue their dad with some explicit coaching!
So here I am, a few games under my belt, and I see all the analogies of life in how someone plays chess -- knowing that survival is all about not falling into a trap!
I don’t know much, but I recognize that sacrificing pieces is necessary to capturing a bigger prize; and that lowly pieces can become powerful if they just "make it to the other side!"
On the grand scale of life, we need to think strategically: What moves will lead to the best outcome? Who is trying to set a trap for us? What should we give up in order to advance our position? Are we always paying attention to our King?
As believers, we know there is a spiritual dynamic to life. Spiritual forces are at play attempting to eliminate Godly influence in the world. Christians have an insight into the deceptive deeds of the Devil. We know that he prowls about as a roaring lion. We know that he launches attacks with fiery darts.
The question we need to ask is, "Do we really understand that the enemy is trying to eliminate us?"
There was a time when Christianity brought significant change to the world; the type of change that freed people from slavery and poverty; eliminated diseases and caste systems; inspired education and industry; restored value to family, work, patriotism, and public faith, especially in the west. But this kind of world has always had opposition -- someone else has always wanted to be "the king" of this worldly system. As a result, we now have a boatload of history that reveals clear objectives: Nazi's had concentration camps; Communists have gulags, Muslims have "Dhimmitude;" Progressives have "Cancel Culture;" it goes on...
The very moment we publically document the historic trajectory of the "secular-humanistic-socialistic-communistic-jihadist-progressive-Non-binary-Gender-bending" advocates, we are overwhelmingly berated in the public media as, "'Extremists' who won't be satisfied until everyone conforms to narrow, fundamentalist, Biblical values!"
It's a strategy. It's deflection. It's a trap!
Who is the true "extremist?" The person who warns in public discourse the actual "end game" of the aforementioned groups, or the complete control of these same groups over neighborhoods, educational systems, governments, corporations, and the world wide web?
Isn't it a little 'ExTrEmE' to "de-platform" an individual public figure who happens to disagree with the majority's opinion? What if this individual actually represents the majority opinion and his voice is still publically silenced?
Do you think that the 'secular (perversely religious) progressives' are going to simply attempt to silence the public voices of groups they don't like?
You know what comes next: They will force us to pay the Jizya (a special tax on non-followers); they will make us wear special clothing and force us to carry special papers to identify us as "non-conformists;" they will not allow us to educate our own children at home; they will close down our churches; they will confiscate our means of communication, they will remove the "most dangerous" of us from society… this is not prediction, this is history! (And for me, it is personal family history, so I am sensitive about it!)
It's always the same strategy. So how do we win? Well, this is where the chess analogy breaks down because our King does not need defending! He has promised to ride in on a white horse and deliver all his faithful saints -- so perhaps that is our best strategy ever: stay faithful! Faithful to His word, His worship, His church, His mission, His discipleship, and His leading.
There are many places in this world where believers are outnumbered, the culture has collapsed, and the remnant is in exile. We must pray earnestly for those in this situation.
But for us, and by God's grace, we live in TN; where there is still a large number of people who demand that God's ways be followed. We need to be vocal about this because the siren songs of the Christ Haters are coming. We MUST STAND UP FOR TRUTH AND MUST PREACH THE GOSPEL! Gospel over government, Gospel over politics, Gospel over tradition! There is nothing extreme about this -- it's just plain old faithfulness.
We can think about our next move, and we can try to avoid losing pieces; but God is in control of this game! Yet at the same time, He tells us to take up our spiritual armor and defend what needs defending and advance what needs advancing (Eph. 6). Be gentle as doves, wise as serpents… Pray that around this world, God will establish His rule in righteousness!
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