For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Matthew 13:15) (This is not talking about healing of the body. It’s talking about healing the moral rottenness of their souls.)
ALMOST FORTY YEARS AGO, several thousand Christians who were involved in Christian schools for their children, were locked in battle with the State of North Carolina that had grossly overreached its power into the area of religious liberty that belonged to the churches and Christian individuals. We ended up in an intense court battle with the State on the eighth floor of the Court House in Raleigh.
“IS THE PUBLIC-SCHOOL SYSTEM OF NORTH CAROLINA an example for the Christian schools to follow?” This question was put to the State Superintendent of Public Schools while he was on the witness stand, under oath. He stammered and tried to avoid the question but could not and finally answered: “The public schools have not always come up to what we would like for them to be.” That was the core of the conflict. The issue was not over the quality of education but over government control of the church-sponsored schools in North Carolina.
A FEW DAYS LATER (or maybe it was earlier) Pastor Kent Kelly and I sat with Dr. Calvin Criner, at a lunch table in downtown Raleigh, discussing some of the problems the public schools faced. Mr. Criner was a good and fair man who inspected church schools for the State. He mentioned to us that at the heart of the matter was the wording of the N.C. State Constitution that said: “Children shall attend a public school unless educated by other means.”
THAT SENTENCE CONTAINED TWO SEPARATE THINGS: education and school attendance. They’re not the same. It was written about 1875, soon after the Civil War had ended in 1865 and the people were trying to get on with their lives. The men who wrote that sentence in 1875 were smart men. They knew human nature and knew that the State cannot command children to be educated. The State can command them to attend school, but the State is powerless to cause education to take place while the children are attending school. Mr. Criner knew that. So, we were discussing that at lunchtime in the motel restaurant, downtown Raleigh.
MR. CRINER COULD BE QUITE COMICAL AT TIMES the way he would mimic certain people in the government school system who wanted to look down on the Christian schools but didn’t have a leg to stand on. He did a take-off on “Little Johnny” who was being forced to go to school a certain number of days and wanted to do anything but learn what the teacher was trying to cram down his throat. “Johnny doesn’t want to learn anything and the best teacher in North Carolina can’t make Johnny learn if Johnny doesn’t want to learn!” I will never forget Mr. Criner’s facial expressions as he became quite animated about it. We could tell it really stuck in his craw.
HE WAS THE GOVERNMENT'S EMPLOYEE and he saw through the gross hypocrisy of the State that was pretending to be the sole guardian of the education of Children in North Carolina. When we wrote a bill and presented it to the Senate and then to the House, the legislators wished us well and broke the iron grip of public education over the church schools. The Senate voted 47-1 and the House voted 90-15 in our favor and all over the State of North Carolina, the elite in education and the news media and across America were in a state of shock at how “reckless” the N. C. Legislature had been. A few months later, the home school people rode in on the coat tail of the Christian and private schools.
IT HAS TURNED OUT WELL. It so happens that in private church schools and in home schooling, the parents are breathing down the neck of their children 24/7 and they are determined that “Johnny, indeed, is going to read or there is going to be no peace in Johnny’s life. The public schools do not have that kind of parental support.
GOD HAS HAD THE SAME KIND OF TROUBLE WITH MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN RACE since the beginning of time. People do not want to listen to God. He will not make people listen to Him. One time, he sent a big flood and drowned everybody except Noah and his seven family members on the boat. Another time, God made people unable to talk to each other by imposing new languages on them. Another time, He burned up Sodom and Gomorrah and some nearby cities for their wicked rebellion against Him.
THE APOSTLE PETER AND JESUS AND JOHN THE REVLATOR have all warned us that more is on the way before the problem is solved. God is going to kill half the population of the earth and at last: envelope the earth in fire and burn everything up on the earth and make a new earth and a new heaven around it, “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” God sent His Son to die on a cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. He will forgive the worst sinner if that sinner will humble his or her heart and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
GOD HAS BLESSED AMERICA BEYOND ANY NATION in the history of the world and we have leaders promoting the idea of killing unwanted babies after they have been born. This talk goes on like there is not a God around anywhere to stop them nor to call their hand on their wickedness.
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. (Acts 28:27)
NOT ONLY DID THE OUT-AND-OUT WICKED CLOSE THEIR EARS TO GOD, but even those who know Him have a tendency to become slack. The writer of Hebrews does not mince words in reprimanding some Christians of that day who had become dull of hearing. God does not have anything nice to say about lost sinners or saved saints who turn a deaf ear to what He is saying. Never mind what Johnny Jump-up thinks about it. “Does it matter to you what God thinks about it?”
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Hebrews 5:11-12)
ONE OF THE QUIPS I HEAR TODAY IS: “But, everybody’s doing it?” No, everybody’s not doing it. Noah and his family were not doing it. Anyway, God is keeping a record of all those people who are “doing it.” He is not impressed. Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: (Exodus 23:2) If everybody gets together to jump over a bluff, I’m not going. You’ll have to jump by yourself. This is a good day to pick up your Bible and get alone with God and tell Him: “Speak Lord…for thy servant heareth.” Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 1, 2017 – FRIDAY
A.M. Numbers 26-27 P.M. Mark 8:22-38
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame. (Hosea 4:6-7)
Song for Today:
Sweet Beulah Land (3:47) (Carroll Roberson)
(Wait several seconds. You may have to delete an ad.)
Dietary fiber essential for health. Excellent article from Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 .