Rising Above – Man as Chaplain

Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore, the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. […] My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:1-3,6 ESV
A prominent feature of the Washington, D.C., skyline is a monument to the father of our nation, George Washington. Unlike Independence Hall, which is tucked away among the skyscrapers in Philadelphia, the Washington Monument dominates the capital skyline as a result of a 1910 law that limits the height of most buildings in the District to no more than 130 feet. The resulting accidental symbolism reminds us of a timeless truth that has existed since the beginning of time: an organization or a nation seldom rises above the character of its leaders. 
What’s true for businesses and nations is also true for churches and families! In Hosea 4, the northern kingdom of Israel had begun to reflect the character, or lack thereof, of its spiritual leaders, the priests. In fact, when you read this chapter, you find a list of horrible sins that were commonplace to the point of no longer being shocking. You don’t have to travel far in the historical accounts of Israel (and Judah) to see sacrifices to idols in numerous locations, accompanied by immoral practices condoned by the priests. In the end, Hosea concluded: like people, like priest. It was a colossal failure of spiritual leadership.
Men, as we find ourselves immersed in a seemingly godless culture today, void of God’s principles and precepts being honored and championed, we must be the ones who seek the Lord and obey His Word even if few others do so—including some spiritual leaders. God has entrusted us with the stewardship of this moment as spiritual leaders, and for the sake of our families, churches, and nation, we must stand courageous in the power of God! Yes, I realize that is a tall order, especially in these dark days. But I find great encouragement from courageous men in history who prevailed against overwhelming odds. 
For example, William Wilberforce was discouraged one night after another stinging defeat in his lengthy battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written to him by John Wesley shortly before his death in 1791. Wilberforce read it again: 
Unless the divine power has raised you up […] I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villainy, which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? O be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of His might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it.
Wilberforce rose above that defeat and his discouragement; he pressed on, and he prevailed. Men, God has written us a letter, his precious Word, to encourage us to rise above the chaos of our culture and keep moving forward. Let us be led, not by the lifestyles and influences of men, even those who claim to be “spiritual leaders” yet deny the Lord by their lives. Let us be led by the Lord and His Word alone, and let us lead others by the same. Our families, churches and nation are counting on us. So, men, rise above!
  • With all that is available to draw you away from God and His Word, what are you doing to safeguard your heart and rise above temptation? What is your plan to stay connected to the Lord through His Word and live on a higher level?
  • How are you leading your family in such a way as to hedge them in against the threat spoken about in our passage from Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”? 
  • Ask the Lord to help you to facilitate real and personal experiences with God. There’s no better place to start than around the Word of God. Join our daily Bible reading journey at FRC.org/Bible.