Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. (Exodus 32:26)
For four thousand years, “Who is on the Lord’s side?” has remained a relevant question. People who are on the Lord’s side are in good shape with the question. Others would like for the discussion not to be so blunt and intimidating.
Moses asked this of the Jews, fresh out of Egypt. They had messed up big-time while Moses was up on the mountain talking with the Lord. When Moses asked the question, the sons of Levi stepped toward Moses, indicating they were on the Lord’s side. Their job was to kill those who were not. About three thousand men were buried that day. He is the same God today, but His game plan is different for us under the New Covenant Jesus made with His blood. Today, those who are on the Lord’s side are not favored by the masses but despised. That started a long time ago.
The ruins of the Roman Coliseum remain today as a ghostly reminder of the price some of the first Christians paid to be on the Lord’s side. They would not “give licit” to Caesar. (“licit” is the root word from which we get our word: “license.”) It was a lordship issue. Waving a smoking censor before a Roman magistrate acknowledged the submission of the individual to the Roman government as lord.
Early Christians knew that Christ was Lord. They treasured something that many Christians today have never thought about. Caesar countered that they could say Christ is Lord if they admitted that Caesar gave them permission to say Christ is Lord. Remember that Jesus was crucified with a sign above His head in three languages: “King of the Jews.” And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Luke 23:38) Is Jesus King of your life?
Pilate’s public excuse for putting Jesus to death was a trumped-up charge of insurrection. (At the same time, he found no fault with the man except the charges being made by the Temple hierarchy.)
The early Christians would not agree they needed to get permission from Caesar to say that Jesus is Lord. Because of this, hungry lions were turned loose on them in front of thousands of blood-thirsty spectators. Though the persecution of Christians took place throughout the Empire in smaller theatres, it is the huge Roman Theatre that remains as the primary symbol. (The book: Christ and the Caesars and internet sources. I found the book in the library of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. That was 35 years ago and I’m quoting from memory.)
Back in Jerusalem: Peter and John went into the Temple at the hour of prayer (Acts 3,4). In the Temple they encountered a lame man begging for coins. Peter told him: …Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Act 3:6) The healed man exploded with joy and praise to God and the noise of it brought people running from every direction to see what was going on. Peter took charge of the scene and from Solomon’s Porch (portico) began to expound on what had happened. He had healed the man in the name of Jesus. Then he explained to the crowd:
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12) An interesting thing about the red-underlined portion of this verse is its possible background. Not far in their distant past, one of the Roman emperors had declared on a special day of celebration: “I am Caesar, and by me all men shall be saved and without me, no man shall be saved.” (Approx.) (This story is from a cassette tape coming from another man’s research. It does not come up on Google. However, quotes from the Roman Empire are massive.)
It was known throughout the Empire that Caesar had made the statement, including Peter in Jerusalem. Some believe that when Peter made the statement, he was raising the lordship issue and publicly announcing that Jesus Christ was the Savior of mankind, not Caesar. Such a statement in the Roman Empire would amount to sedition, treason. It would have carried a death sentence.
Peter did not go around looking for trouble and a way to spill his own blood, but he wanted the Jews in Jerusalem to know that he was on the Lord’s side. But, if Peter was indeed casting his statement into the teeth of Caesar, he was taking his life into his own hands. As you know, Peter was later crucified upside-down, that being his request. He was not worthy, he said, to be crucified upright as was his Lord.
When Paul and Silas went to Thessalonica and preached, the irate Jews who could not answer them stirred up a hornet’s nest. They had Jason, a local friend of Paul’s, arrested. They said of Paul: These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (Acts 17:6)
Paul and Silas had made their mark. They were firm in their testimony.
Part of the effectiveness of these first Christians, was that they were strongly on the Lord’s side and not just “sort-of.” I believe there are several advantages to declaring we are on the Lord’s side, but primarily, it helps your own heart to get that settled. Your basic mindset everywhere you go is: “I’m on the Lord’s side.” You don’t have to go around saying that to yourself all the time. But it needs to be so deeply settled that it’s there all the time. Somehow, people around you will know it because attitude communicates itself.
Isaiah had this message to people of his day: For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. (Isaiah 30:15) I believe I got this from Dr. Clyde Narramore about sixty years ago.
There’s a lot of horsepower in “quietness and confidence.” We can have that if we are dug in, on the Lord’s side. If we have that sure-enough connection with the Lord and no unfinished business between us and Him, the result is “quietness and confidence.” I know, I know,…Randy Grider is wired to run up and down the aisle and shout when the Lord pushes his buttons. But, his buttons are round, and my buttons are square. My strength is definitely “in quietness and confidence.”
The Lord didn’t get much of a bargain when He got me, but He knows that I’m on His side. I got that settled one night in the bean market in October 1943. That’s one of the big reasons I believe so much in daddies and mamas and Sunday school teachers who have boys and girls before them day after day. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
NOVEMBER 10, 2017 - FRIDAY
A.M. Lamentations 1-2 P.M. Hebrews 7
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)
Song for Today:
Who Is on the Lord’s Side? (3:55) (Benjamin Everson)
Please Note: This is a multiple-recording of Benjamin Everson that results in an acapella male chorus. Very unusual. Wait 28 seconds for everything to get put in place and music to start. I reviewed a dozen groups of Who Is on the Lord’s Side? And this is the best one.
You may have to adjust the volume.