Education and The Constitution

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Helms School of Government

Submitted To Dr. Michael Robinson

In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements of

PhD in Public Policy: Education Policy

Constitutional Connection Paper: Colonial And Confederation Era Assignment

Founding Era And The Constitution

PLCY702_B03_202230

By:

Jesse Prewitt

Constitutional Connection Paper: Colonial And Confederation Era Assignment

Education In America and The Constitution

            Do all Americans have a Constitutional right to a free education? This seems to be the general consensus, judging from personal experience. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says, yes! In fact, the ACLU quotes Title IX Education Amendments of 1972, on their web page.[1]

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972)[2]

This article, while accurate on several points, is lacking in the main one. The article notes that the U. S. Constitution is the highest law in our land, and rightly so, but it falls short of proving that every person is guaranteed a public education in America. The article mentions free speech, the Bill of Rights, freedom of religion, and due process of law, all things that the Constitution guarantees, but the article misses the main point.

Nobody in the United States is guaranteed an education; not even a free one.

The ACLU article notes the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education (1954).[3] This case, Oliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al., established that racial discrimination, and any laws that supported such discrimination are unconstitutional. This ruling partially overturned Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which declared a “separate but equal” notion.[4]

The primary point of Brown was the issue of a local black resident, Oliver Brown, whose daughter was required to ride a bus to a segregated school farther away from her home. Along with several other black families with similar situations, Brown filed the class action lawsuit in the U.S. Federal Court against the Topeka Board of Education, alleging the board’s segregation policy was unconstitutional. Brown and the others won. The Plessy case had formerly alleged that racial discrimination in itself was not a violation of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, provided the other educational facility was equal to the one in question in the suit. The Supreme Court ruled that “separate but equal educational facilities are inherently unequal.”[5] This case was a landmark case in educational equality.

However, the question still remains. Does this case and others guarantee an education in The United States? The case is about equality, but falls short of the guarantee. The case ensures that all are guaranteed the same opportunity. This leaves a small loophole that requires clarification. It would seem that if all are guaranteed the same opportunity, that it would follow that they are all guaranteed an education. As recent as 2020, the U. S. Supreme Court says, no.[6]

In the case of Gary B. v. Snyder (2016), concerning Detroit Public Schools, the question before the court was whether education in America is a constitutional right. The question is not concerning equality, but the very fundamental right to an education itself. Does the Constitution guarantee me an education?

Dorsey writes that the courts once again decided that the answer is no. There is still no federally protected right to education, as least for now.[7] This legal decision may eventually turn to a more definite answer, but not for the moment. Dorsey notes that there is not a single mention in the U. S. Constitution about education. He notes that this subject falls under the powers reserved to the states under the Tenth Amendment. And this fact is the assertion made by the Supreme Court every time it has been challenged.[8] This goes back to the 1973 case of  San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez. In this case the court opined that education “is not among the rights afforded explicit protection under our Federal Constitution.”[9]

The Gary B. case involved a small group of students who had attended public schools in the Detroit system, and had failed to gain an education. The plaintiffs attended five of Detroit’s lowest performing schools, and their rates of proficiency was near zero. Dorsey reports that the Michigan Law School summarized the plaintiffs’ situation as being pervasive conditions denying the students the opportunity to attain to literacy. The complaint included the lack of books, not enough teachers, filthy and unsafe buildings, insufficient desks, and extreme temperatures.[10] The case sought redress not from the state, but from the federal courts.

This researcher is intentionally not discussing the morality of these issues, but the legal issues alone, other than to say that no normal person would wish such conditions on any student at any location. And Dorsey notes that there has existed a certain amount of corruption at the Detroit system in the past, however, the issue is whether or not there exists a fundamental guarantee of an education in The U. S. Constitution.

Before we focus on the American Colonies and the educational concepts there, and how all this is connected, let us look at the final decision of Gary B., and how this is relevant to the colonies, as well as today. In this case, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled in favor of the students, and ignored the Supreme Court, stating, “In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.”[11] To be fair, according to Dorsey, the State of Michigan almost immediately began working on increasing educational funding and even awarded the students cash to further their education.[12]

Having won money from the state, the plaintiffs moved to dismiss their case. The Appeals Court granted the dismissal. However, it is the dissenting opinion of Judge Eric Murphy that makes the point in this case note-worthy. “The importance of a service performed by the State does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental,” was Judge Murphy’s opinion.[13] In this notable opinion, a clear distinction is made between fundamental rights, and the state’s interference, or denial of fundamental rights.[14] Legally speaking, it is as if the Appeals Courts initial decision never happened. But, the language of the opinion is still there for anyone to see, and for plaintiffs to draw from in the future.

Education In America: The Colonial Period

Early colonial America could be considered the freest civil society that has ever existed.[15] Education was a main part of that freedom. Parents were responsible for their children’s education, and they retained complete control of their children’s schooling. No such thing existed as the National Education Association (NEA). There were no local regulatory or school boards, and there were not teacher certification requirements. Parents had total control over the education of their children, and no persons were forced to pay for education they did not approve of, or did not use, as in those who had no children.[16]

Brouillette reports that prior to the Revolutionary War, most American schools operated on a laissez-faire concept. They tended to operate apart from any special interest groups. They may have been partially funded by local taxpayers, but mostly by private means. Many were church schools, or maybe charity school for the less fortunate.[17]

However, by around 1650, some townships enforced the attendance of school. Massachusetts may have been the first to enact such law. This was known as the Old Deluder Satan Act.[18] Tocqueville mentioned that some of the colonies established requirements to attend school or suffer fines for failing to do so.[19] However, by the time of the Revolutionary War there were more private schools than tax-funded ones, and many Massachusetts towns had no tax-funded schools at all.

It is of significant importance that we note America began with very little government influence in education. We have discovered that our present Constitution does not provide for a fundamental right to receive and education, although it does provide for equal opportunity for all.

We have discovered that education is left to the states under the power of the Tenth Amendment, in that all powers not specifically designated to the central government are reserved to the states, or to the people. Then why do we have an NEA? Why does the federal government fund education so heavily through such acts as Title 1, for example? Along with funding the federal government is fond of requiring accountability. Space and time will not allow us to cover these questions at this time, but we will seek answers in the future.

As it stands today, there is no fundamental right, as far as the Constitution is concerned, to an education in the United States of America. However, whatever is performed by the government, there are laws that regulate every person’s right to equal treatment. Things may have been more simple in colonial days, at least as far as education was concerned, but with the government’s finger in the educational pie, things have become quite complicated these days. A whole lot of money is being thrown at the problem and yet we still have children that are not learning, even with all we have to work with.

Perhaps over-regulation is at least part of the problem. Perhaps things could be more simplified in order to function better. Maybe we should have more actual teachers—current teachers on decision-making committees. Maybe we should rethink everything.  

Bibliography

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Your Right To Equality In Education”, Produced by the ACLU Department of Public Education, 125 Broad St. NY, NY 10004. (2022) https://www.aclu.org.

Brouillette, M. “Early Colonial Period To The American Revolution: A Free market In Education.” (1999) Mackinac Center For Public Policy. https://mackinac.org/2033.

Dorsey, D. “Education Is Still (For Now) Not A Fundamental Right Under The U.S. Constitution. (2020) http://www.kansaspolicy.org.  

Mansfield, H.C. & Winthrop, D., Eds. Democracy In America. Alexis De Tocqueville. The University of Chicago Press, (2000) pp. 41-42.

The Supreme Court of The United States. Oliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al. (1954).

_________________________________ Homer Plessy v. John H. Ferguson (1896)


     [1] American Civil Liberties Union, “Your Right To Equality In Education”, (2022)

     [2] Ibid

     [3] The Supreme Court of The United States, Brown v. Board of Education, (1954)

     [4] Ibid, Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896)

     [5] Ibid, Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

     [6] David Dorsey, “Education Is Still (For Now) Not A Fundamental Right Under The U. S. Constitution”, Kansas Policy Institute, 2020

     [7] David Dorsey, “Education Is Still (For Now) Not a Fundamental Right Under The U. S. Constitution” (2020)

     [8] Ibid.

     [9] Ibid.

     [10] Ibid.

     [11] David Dorsey (2020)

     [12] Ibid.

     [13] Ibid.

     [14] Ibid.

     [15] Matthew Brouillette, “Early Colonial Period To The American Revolution: A Free Market In Education”, (1999) Mackinac Center For Public Policy

     [16] Ibid.

     [17] Ibid.

     [18] Ibid.

     [19] Harvey Mansfield, Delba Winthrop, Eds., Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy In America, University of Chicago Press, (2000) p. 41-42

Is The Christian Conception Of Natural Law Indispensable To A Coherent Moral Theory Of The State?

By: Jesse Prewitt

LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Helms School Of Government

Submitted To Dr. Douglas Walker

In Partial Fulfillment Of Requirements For

PhD in Public Policy: Education Policy

Natural Law, The State and The Gospel

PLCY701_D0_202220

By

Jesse Prewitt

May 06, 2022

Is The Christian Conception of Natural Law Indispensable To A Coherent Moral Theory Of The State?

Abstract

            The question proposed for this assignment can only be answered when we discover the beginning, or source of the natural law. For natural law to support a coherent moral theory of the state, we must explore natural law as far back in history as possible, and determine who established it. Could it have been Plato? Plato is said to have lived somewhere between 428 – 347 B.C. We most assuredly find traces of what we can call natural law theories in his writings. In The Republic, Book 1, we find a rather lengthy discussion between Plato, his brothers, and a young man named Thrasymachus.[1] In this discussion the subjects of both injustice and justice are parsed until the young Thrasymachus admits, though reluctantly, that his previous position on the matter was in error. They finally agree that a bad soul rules things badly, but a good soul does all things well.[2] This would give an answer to the morality question. They also discover in their exposition of the subject that just people live better and happier lives than the unjust, as the latter are constantly encountering life coming back at them.[3] I think we all witness this daily, as I know I do. The element of being coherent is also answered here, because it is rather easy to understand. This may be due to our having lived our own lives, and having the benefit of history to help us understand what happens to those choosing to live life outside the law.

            Aristotle lived from 384-322 B. C. This student of Plato had some ideas of his own that were critical of Socrates and his guardians of the ideal society Socrates had envisioned. In his Politics, Book 2, Aristotle makes it clear that the Socratic idea of these protectors of his ideal society having wives and children in common,[4] would dilute love and families would be torn, and although he didn’t use the term, moral, he used sufficient language to describe what being immoral is like when it comes to wives and children.[5] This example also answers to a coherent moral theory of life and society.

            In the following pages we will explore, argue, question, and work our way through this subject matter, and I intend to demonstrate that the natural law did not begin with either of these aforementioned philosophers, nor with their contemporaries, or even their philosophical progeny in the years after. The concept of natural law has lively roots as far back as King Solomon, some 900 years before Christ. In the pages to follow, we will demonstrate that natural law is actually precepts or principles established long before any of the philosophers of whom we have secular records. There is a Biblical record that establishes this natural law. It comes from God Jehovah. We find it in the Book of Proverbs and even in the Decalogue—The Ten Commandments.

Natural Law From The Beginning

            Is natural law a real thing? Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger thinks so. “He views it as a fact”, writes philosopher, professor, and best-selling author, J. Budziszewski.[6] The cardinal, later pontiff, says that natural law is a feature of the world that has much to do with the constitution of the human person, and also with all of created reality as a whole.[7] Budziszewski notes that natural law is actually original law. He gives the concept of murder, and the natural law forbidding it.[8] No reasonable person would argue with murder being a law. But where did that come from? Who wrote that law, inscribed it into the books, and promulgated it for enforcement? The Ten Commandments are recorded in the Bible in Exodus 20:1-17, and again in Deuteronomy 5:7-21. Budziszewski eluded to the second tablet,[9] and it is plain to see that the first half of these are Godward, or vertical, while the second half are manward, or horizontal. I have often referred to this as a requirement for us to make our lives right with God, first, then we are equipped to make life right with our fellow man.

            The Decalogue far outdates any of the philosophers we mentioned earlier. Since the first five commandments deal with man’s relationship and fellowship with Almighty God, then the remainder deal with our relationship with each other. I think this equates to the regulation of morality and justice in our society. So much so that leading business management professors are pointing to the Ten Commandments (TC) as a document that needs to be viewed as “general moral guidelines.”[10] The authors note that students of business ethics and management seem to agree, even though the paper reviews the Ten commandments in light of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, that the Ten Commandments are rules that should be the general moral guidelines for both individuals as well as groups. Authors Ali and Gibbs (1998) have previously argued for the regard of the TC as guidelines for personal and business conduct. The article notes that debate and discussion is something that is more often found in religion and philosophical studies, however, most scholars, in general, tend to avoid invoking religious dogma in the academic world, yet issues involving spiritual life are something not to be meddled with. These ancient rules are general rules for living and conducting business in a global society. Christians consider this as the basis of our moral conduct. Penny Noyes writing for Christianity Today says that the Ten Commandments still influence our society today.[11] Noyes states that the law given to Moses provided the foundation for Israel’s society and they also provided the foundation for personal and property rights in our modern legal system. Noyes also notes that although most Christians do not view keeping the 10 Commandments as necessary to, or required for, their salvation, yet they still hold these basic laws as the foundation of God’s moral law. Jesus called us to an even higher standard than simply, mechanically obeying the moral law, but keeping its essence in our hearts. Jesus pointed to the commandment not to commit adultery, found in Exodus 20:14 and also in Deuteronomy 5:18,[12] and noted that even though the physical act is not committed, it is committing adultery in one’s heart to look at a woman with lust.[13] This points to Christians’ conception of natural law as indispensable to a moral society. The Ten Commandments are the original law, therefore the source of natural law.

            This original law is further enjoined in the Proverbs. As Dr. Harry Ironside notes, “The last seven verses of Ecclesiastes forms a fitting introduction to the book which in our Bibles immediately precedes it.”[14] Dr. Ironside states that these seemingly, “common-sense epigrams” are meant for the “every-day godliness” of the follower of Christ.[15] This introduction says that the conclusion to all learning is to fear God and keep His commandment, because this applies to every person.

            Dr. J. Vernon McGee notes that, “the Book of Proverbs is not a haphazard book.”[16] He states that this book tells a story—a connected story. It is about a young man that is learning from his father and mother about the world and living a moral, godly life, one that honors God. This researcher/author notes that the propositional statement of the book of Proverbs is found in Chapter 1, verse 7: The fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge.[17] The idea here is that this young man finds his initial knowledge from God’s Instruction and builds upon that foundation in his life. I have been reading Proverbs, a chapter per day, for most of my adult life, as a devotional. Once I was instructed by Dr. McGee that the book is a connected story, I have never seen Proverbs the same, it comes alive as I read it. I am instructed to live a godly, moral life as I travel through this life with Christ as my King. This expansion of Godly Truth stems from the original law—God’s Law, and it is indispensable to my Christian life.

            The ancient pre-cursors of natural law, namely, Plato and Aristotle, were able to extract something of divine origin from that which is apparent to any human being, and it is what we refer to as natural law. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes: “If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence; and this will be that of the best thing in us.”[18] Aristotle then notes something very profound. He says: “Whether it be intellect or something else (italics mine) that is this element which is thought to be our natural ruler and guide (italics mine) and to take thought of things noble and divine.”[19] I italicized phrases to draw attention to that which can be easily overlooked. Aristotle is musing on what that something may be which is thought to be our natural ruler and guide. That natural ruler is the natural law, which is easily understood to be that which is in our nature as humans to understand. We instinctively know that certain things are right and others are wrong. This is easily seen as what the philosopher is referring to as our guide.

            Aristotle knew over 2000 years ago what J. Budziszewski wrote of concerning natural law.[20] Budziszewski notes, “A law is written on the hearts of men, but it is everywhere entangled with the evasions and subterfuges of men.”[21] He is referring to our conscience. The Apostle Paul spoke of it in that God did not leave Himself without witness, even though He had previously permitted the pagan nations to go their own ways.[22] God left us with this “witness” of Himself and His law, the original law, natural law. As mentioned earlier, humans know that sleeping with someone else’s wife or husband is wrong, humans know that stealing is wrong, and this is why they flee from authorities. It is common knowledge that the willful taking of another’s life is wrong. The human conscience is wired with this knowledge. If we were computers we could say we come pre-loaded with this software in our psyche. God has not left Himself without witness to His natural law. It is vital to the concept of a moral society.

            Cicero refers to this as being from the origin of laws, or the source of obligations, which he notes as the universal nature of things.[23] Cicero is said to have sought to convince his fellow citizens who held the sentiment of national honor, that the integrity and excellence of the state must also consist of, and be practiced in, the excellence of their lives and manners.[24] As a philosopher as well as a statesman, he knew that the state must be reflected in the morality of the people who make up that state. He knew that man is degenerated and therefore manners are corrupted.[25]

            Cicero proclaimed that those who preside over the state should obey the precepts of Plato, that the should ignore their own private interests and watch over the well-being of the citizens of whom they are charged to protect. The other is that the benefit of those in whom they are placed to oversee is to come first.[26] This answers to the question of the coherent moral theory of the state, and whether natural law is necessary to that condition.

            With the idea that natural law is derived from original law—from God’s law, and seeing that the ancient philosophers could understand where it came from, or at least that natural law was of divine origin, and further that Cicero understood that natural law was necessary to govern, then it follows that this same natural law is necessary to our society today.

            Augustine noted that, “The universal and eternal law governing all things created is but the divine wisdom.” And that, “The divine will itself is the divine law.”[27] Augustine held that the personal will and wisdom of God not only created the moral order of things, but constitutes and maintains it, as well. He further maintained that this fact leads everything to its proper order, which he held was divinely ordained by God. Seemingly hidden in these statements is that it all has an end, a purpose. He also held that this supreme reason/intellect which must be obeyed, but by this same law the wicked deserve their misery (they receive the punishment of their disobedience), but the righteous receive the blessed life, referring to the temporal life lived on this earth, assumed they modified that life to the supreme law.[28]

            Augustine believed that not only was God’s law the eternal order of everything that exists or moves, but also is not the only basis for morals and law. He believed that that which is orderly is also good, and the most orderly constitutes the most good. He held that nothing is above God Himself.[29] He believed that the moral value of man’s action and will is not to be found in the freedom of his action, but in the determination of his will, viewed through this eternal order, and man’s acceptance of it as law and good.[30] To this researcher, the crux of the matter, as far as Augustine is concerned, is that he believed the natural law is “imprinted in our soul.”[31] This position held by Augustine, as well as the previous philosophers mentioned in this study, draw a conclusion that what we refer to as the natural law, is not only natural to man in the sense that it is imprinted on man’s soul, but it is placed there by man’s creator, and man cannot help but be aware of its existence. It is natural to him. This imprinted law affects man’s morals, to the good or to the bad, depending on man’s reaction to this law. Man is the owner of a fallen spiritual nature due to the event of the Garden of Eden. Man of the age of maturity, or accountability, is responsible for his own condition, and answerable to God who created him. There is an initial choice to be made. This choice is more like an option seeing that man is already living in his sinful state. Man has the option of continuing as he is to his eternal demise, or turning in faith to the One who extends the offer of Grace, based upon the vicarious work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. The very One who created man is the same One who paid the price for man’s rebellion, and offers Grace to repent and be reconciled to his creator.

            In the City of God, Augustine discusses the ultimate ends of good and evil.[32] He mentions that the nature of man sets limits to man and his ability to keep on the right track. He notes that the ultimate good and evil must be found in the man’s soul, body, or both.[33]

            Thomas Aquinas wrote that the light of reason is placed by nature in every man.[34] He says that this is to guide him in his acts, toward his end, or purpose. He notes that if man was intended to live alone, he would need nothing further to guide him to his purpose in this life. He would therefore be a king unto himself and God would direct him from on high. However, he states that man is a social being, a political being. He is meant to live with others in a group.

            He states that animals are given instincts to guide them; they know their enemy, naturally. This inborn skill, or instinct, is given by God, and they can find food and water by these senses. Aquinas reports that man is not like this. He says man has a general sense of what is needed for his life, but has an inborn need to learn the rest. He holds that man is not capable of learning all these other necessary things alone, but must live in a group so each can help the other. Each has been endowed with different talents or gifts that demonstrate the need for man to live and work together to survive.[35]

            This creation of man, as distinguished from the animals, causes man to need to live in villages, or communities with others. It is natural for man to live in this society of many other humans. This need to live with others renders the necessity to have rules to govern this society. There must therefor be a governing body to rule this society. In chapter 2, he discusses the different kinds of rule. He makes it clear that if an unjust government is ruled by one that seeks his own benefit, and not the benefit of the society, he is called a tyrant.[36] In the next section he notes that when many govern, the tendency is to have many differing opinions as to how to govern, and this can create a problem. He makes it clear that his preference is that of a king, a good king, that has the best interest of his people in mind and not simply his own.

            As we progress, we can see that this natural law, or original law, is not only present, but necessary for the society of man. It requires that man have rules to live by, because man is a social being and needs to live in groups. There must therefore be rules in place to keep the evil in check. This speaks to the question of the moral theory of the state.

            Luther wrote on the subject of secular authorities and to what extent they should be obeyed.[37] Luther holds that the penal law was established from the beginning of the world. He says that when Cain killed his brother Abel, he knew it was wrong, and he lived in terror of its punishment. He would not have had this fear if  the knowledge of right and wrong had not been placed in him by his creator. God then declared that whoever sheds man’s blood, that by man shall his own blood be shed.

            Luther knew that all power and authority comes from God. This is declared in Romans 13. He went on to say that though many believe that Christ abolished the law, Christ actually came to fulfill it. He goes on to say that the tow kingdoms of this earth are the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of the world. Those who belong to the kingdom of God have Christ as their King. These do not live to break the law, but to serve their Lord. The kingdom of this world is where the secular law is needed. He notes Paul’s writings in 1Timothy1:19, where Paul writes that the law is not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. The unrighteous does not obey the law, therefore there must be the sword (of the law) to compel them to behave.

            Now, this point needs to be made. Those of the kingdom of God are not above the law; if we disobey we will suffer the wrath of the sword of the law, as well as those who are of the kingdom of this world. The difference is that we have the spirit of God in our lives and therefore we are guided to obey God, and thus not disobey the law. Those without Christ do have not have the benefit of the leadership of the Spirit of God living and present in the lives, compelling them to do what is right to please God. Luther knew this very well and I have never had the fullest understanding of the principle before I read his treatise on the subject. I am blessed by it.

            Hooker got into some trouble in a sermon he presented which went against the teaching of John Calvin, or so some thought. Hooker held that there are two wills in the Lord. The first is an antecedent and the second consequent. The first is that all men should be saved, and the second is, “that those only should be saved that did live answerable to that degree of grace which he had offered, or afforded them.”[38] It has been noted that Hooker no more saw himself as the first Anglican, than Calvin did see himself as the first Calvinist. Hooker was born when Calvin was 45 years old. Hooker grew up reading Calvin. He had some interesting ideas in regard to Calvin’s writings.

            I see this as a good thing. I am not of the reformed group; I am a whosoever believer. I fail to see in the Scriptures where God has predetermined any to not believe in Him. In fact He says plainly that He desires all to come to Him in repentance and faith, yet He knows all things, and He knows who will and who won’t. This knowledge does not equal predestination, or determination beforehand. Just because God happens to know the future does not mean that He desires it, or has determined it to be so. The key is that He left that decision to man. The only predestination in Scripture is when He predestinates us to become like Christ once we exercise faith and trust in Him for salvation. Once the Holy Spirit takes residence in us at the salvation experience, God sets us in motion to sanctify us to be like His Son, Jesus. This is a promise to the believer; we are sealed with His Spirit, according to Ephesians 1:13.

            This is what every human needs, life and peace in Christ. Without this life in them, they are of the kingdom of the world, and lawless. They are subject to the sword of the law.

            John Locke’s, ‘where-ever law ends, tyranny begins”, concept serves as the lynch-pin of the modern notion of the rule of law in a democratic state.[39] This treatise holds that when the law is transgressed by one to the harm of another, even if he is a magistrate, he then ceases to be a magistrate, and is rendered by his violation as simply another individual. He loses his authority when he violates the law he is sworn to uphold. When this sort of lawlessness occurs, he may be legally opposed as if he were simply a robber or a thief.

            This concept is vital to our rule of law, and serves to prevent those who would abuse their power. It may not prevent every occurrence, but it prevents most. In a just society, those who represent the law, the authority, should live by that law, or step aside and allow one to fill the position that respects the law. No person respects one in authority who does not respect the law and not only live by it, but acts according to it in their office. All persons under the law of the state are equal in the sight of the law and therefore must be treated with such respect. This was also part of Locke’s philosophy.

            Rousseau held that when the prince, or authority, ceases to administer the state in accordance to the law, and usurps the Sovereign power, a change takes place, he says. He stated that the state undergoes a change, and the state is then dissolved. It is replaced with another form of government than that which was before. The one who usurps the power would place himself as master and tyrant over those who he is to lead, and the social contract is broken.[40]

            This concept is vital to any society. Those who rule must abide by the law and not fall into pursuing their own private interests, but serve the interest of the society.

            John Rawls was a humanist.[41] Rawls is difficult to read, and Pogge states that early on. But this book is a shock to one when we have read others leading up to the end of this study. Rawls is the opposite of all the others. He travels far around the block to find something that has been right there before him all along. He consistently rails about how society should be something that essentially makes everyone happy, or one that best suits the masses. This is an impossible task, and he spent his life in search of it. Like many others, I respect his hard work and his apparent education and knowledge of so many things. However, he takes off from the premise that we don’t have the opportunity we have in this country. He kept mentioning about how that we could find a system of governing that all could essentially agree on in its fundamental structure, leaving room for disagreement and diversity in other areas.

            We have this in America! Why do so many attempt to change the basic structure we have already in place? Our founding fathers did not put into place a government structure that forces one religion over another, but to the contrary. Every time I look at our structure, I am amazed at the way it was put together. Our legal system allows all to worship as they please, and as we have noted in those mentioned before this, one cannot take precedent over another, especially to the harm of another. Yet, I witness so many claiming they want more freedom. How much more freedom do you want when you have more personal liberty than any other nation in the world?

            There are certain things one cannot do that would infringe upon the liberty of another. My freedom ends where yours begins. As long as I am not taking from your freedom, I can have all of mine I desire. I can’t come over to your house and have a part in your yard without your permission and tear up your property. But, I can have one in my own, and if I tear up my own it is my own problem.

            You can worship how you please, or not worship if you please. You cannot come to my church and disturb me, and I cannot come to yours and disturb you, but we are both free to worship or not worship every day, or once a week, as we please. I can’t tell you what to do in your church, and you cannot tell me what to do either.

            We all have the right to be safe and sound in our own homes, and free from illegal searches and such. This is not the case in many nations. As I have noted in the paper where some have publicly taken a stand on these subjects, it was not always that way in this country, until the Constitution was written, and some Amendments added.

            Through the past couple hundred years, this nation has come a long way. Many have fought for rights that were written down but not enforced. They were a matter of principle and now they are a matter of practice thanks to some who were not afraid to take a stand for what is right.

            Rawls seemed to be searching for something he already had but could not see. This also seems to be the case of many others today. Some are screaming for freedoms they were born with, yet don’t realize they have. To demand more rights often is to impede the rights of others, your neighbor. You have the right to live any way you wish, you don’t have the right to insist I agree with it, and say it is okay. Why do you need my approval?  

            It has been shown that man is a social being and needs others to survive as he was meant to. Of course, we could live alone, but it would be difficult. We were created to be part of a group of other humans. This is a society. This society must have rules to prevent those who live to break rules from imposing their lawlessness on those who obey the law and live the right way.

            When lawbreakers protest for the right to break the law, we have a breakdown in our society. One main hot topic is that of the right to abortion. I have people I greatly respect on both side of this issue. Communication is often difficult when many fail to listen to each other. Some say they don’t want to see the unborn harmed in the womb, but stand with those who have been molested, or other circumstances. The current decision is reportedly to simply return the final decision to the states, which is where is should be.

            Some are sensitive about this, but there have been millions of babies killed in the past years for the sake of convenience. This is not acceptable. The part that so many seem to ignore on this issue is that of the personal responsibility of those who engage in the sexual act that brings about the issue.

            God never intended we be a promiscuous as we are in this world. He intended that people leave that to marriage and that not be something people rush into. We are all guilty before the Lord of lust and other sins, but somewhere we really must admit that all this is not the fault of the innocent ones, who are the unintended victims of our willfulness.

            The question we began with was if the Christian conception of natural law is indispensable to the coherent moral theory of the state. I think that we have shown that it is. Some have said that we cannot legislate morality. This is true. We cannot make anyone be moral, that requires a change of heart and only God can do that. However, the rule of law must exist and any society that means to survive must have law. There must be rules. These rules are already there in the form of natural law—God’s law—original law. It has existed since the beginning; it didn’t start with the classical philosophers nor the ones since then, it has always been in existence. God, our creator, imprinted these natural laws upon the minds, soul, hearts of men. Deep within our being we know they are true, this is why many fight so hard and run so fast, in attempt to escape the guilt of their rebellion. The only hope for mankind is Christ. God knew this before the beginning, that’s why He planned to provide the answer for man’s sin—Christ on the cross. He is man’s only hope.

Bibliography

Ali, A. J., Camp, R.C., Gibbs, M, “The Ten Commandments Perspective on Power and Authority in Organizations.” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol.26, No. 4 (Aug, 2000), pp. 351-361 (11 pages) Published by Springer. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25074352

Barnes, Jonathan, ed., The Complete Works of Aristotle, The Revised Oxford Translation (Bollingen Series LXXI -2, Princeton University Press, Book 2, 1984)

Budziszewski, J. The Line Through The Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction, (ISI Books, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2009)

Chroust, Anton-Hermann. The Philosophy of Law of St. Augustine. The Philosophical ReviewVol. 53, No. 2 (Mar., 1944) pp. 195-202 (8 pages) Published by Duke University Press on behalf of Philosophical Review. https://doi-org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.2307/218025

Cicero, Marcus. The Political Works of Marcus Tullius Cicero: Comprising his Treatise on the Commonwealth; and his Treatise on the Laws. Translated from the original, with dissertations and Notes in Two Volumes. By Francis Barham, Esq. (London: Edmund Spettigue, 1841-42). 2 vols.

_____________ On Moral Duties (De Officiis) Andrew Peabody, 1811-1893. Translator: Ethical Writings. (On Moral Duties, On Old Age, On Friendship, Scipio’s Dream)

Cooper, John M., ed.  Plato: Complete Works, (Hackett Publishing Company, Book 1, 1997) Indianapolis, IN  

Hooker, R. The Works of Richard Hooker, Vol. 1, Clarendon Press, 1888

Ironside, Harry A. Notes On The Book of Proverbs. First ed. 1908; sixth printing 1959. (Loizeaux Brothers, New York, 1908)

Locke, J. The Two Treatises of Civil Government (Hollis ed.) A. Miller et al., 1689

Luther, M. On Secular Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed, www.lolonline.org

McGee, J. V. Proverbs. Through the Bible Radio Series (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991) Nashville, TN.

Noyes, P. “What Are the 10 Commandments? Their Significance Today.” (Christianity Today, Dec. 2020) www.chrstianity.com

Phelan, G. B. trans. Thomas Aquinas: On Kingship To The King of Cyprus. (Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1949)

Prewitt, J. Honey For Your Soul: A Daily Devotion For Peace in a Chaotic World. (WestBow Press, A Division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, 2021)

Rousseau, J. The Social Contract and Discourses, J. M. Dent, 1761

The Holy Bible. The Old Testament. Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18.

_____________ The New Testament. Matthew 5:27-28

_____________ The New Testament, Acts 14:16-17


     [1] Cooper, John M., ed.  Plato: Complete Works, Hackett Publishing Company, Book 1, p. 978-998.

     [2] Ibid., Book 1, 353, e.

     [3] Ibid., Bok 1, 353, d.

     [4] Barnes, Jonathan, ed., The Complete Works of Aristotle, Bollingen Series LXXI -2, Princeton University Press, Book 2, 1262, 4, 25-40.

     [5] Ibid., Book 2, 1262, 5-20.

     [6] J. Budziszewski, The Line Through The Heart: Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction, ISI Books, p. 2

     [7] Ibid.

     [8] Ibid., p. 11

     [9] J. Budziszewski, p. 23

     [10] Abbas J. Ali, et. al, The Ten Commandments Perspective on Power and Authority in Organizations, Journal of business ethics, 26:351-361, 2000. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

     [11] Noyes, P. “What Are the 10 Commandments? Their Meaning and Significance.” Christianity Today, 2020

     [12] The Holy Bible. The Old Testament. Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18.

     [13] The Holy Bible. New Testament. Matthew 5:27-28.

     [14] Harry A. Ironside, Notes On The Book of Proverbs, Loizeaux Brothers, NY, 1908

     [15] Ibid.

     [16] J. Vernon McGee, Proverbs, Through the Bible Radio Series, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991 p. 26

     [17] Jesse Prewitt, Honey For Your Soul: A Daily Devotional For Peace in a Chaotic World, WestBow Press, 2021, p. 2

     [18] Barnes, J. ed. The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, Princeton/Bollingen Series, Book 10.7, 15.

     [19] Ibid.

     [20] J. Budziszewski, p. 14.

     [21] Ibid.

     [22] Acts 14:16-17

     [23] Marcus Tullius Cicero, Treatise on the Laws, Edmund Spettigue, -51

     [24] Ibid.

     [25] Ibid.

     [26] Cicero, Marcus, On Moral Duties (De Officiis). Little, Brown and Company, -44.

     [27] Chroust, Anton-Hermann, The Philosophy of Law of St. Augustine, The Philosophical Review, Vol 53, No. 2 (Mar., 1944), pp. 195-202 (8 pages)

     [28] Ibid. p. 196

     [29] Ibid., p. 197

     [30] Ibid.

     [31] Ibid.

     [32] Saint Augustine, The City of God, Books XVII-XXII, Gerald Walsh, Daniel Honan and Daniel J. Honan, Catholic University of America Press, 1954, pp. 183-184

     [33] Ibid., p. 184

     [34] Gerald Phelan, trans., Thomas Aquinas: On Kingship To The King of Cyprus, Toronto: The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1949, Book 1, chapter 1, 4

     [35] Gerald Phelan, Thomas Aquinas, Book 1, chapter 1, 6

     [36] Ibid., chapter 2, 11

     [37] Martin Luther, Secular Authority: To What Extent It Should Be Obeyed

     [38] Richard Hooker, The Works of Richard Hooker, Vol 1, Clarendon Press, 1888

     [39] John Locke, The Two Treatises of Civil Government, 1689

     [40] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses, 1762

     [41] Thomas Pogge, John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 44

No, The Covid Vaccine is Not The Mark of The Beast!

Image result for photo of hypodermic needle

By: Jesse Prewitt

The coming Biblical phenomenon widely known as The Mark of The Beast transcends any simply physical imprint, chip, or blemish on the epidermis or under the subcutaneous layer of skin of the human body. The outward is but a visible representation of a deeper spiritual condition. It is a condition of the heart of man.

The Bible describes this as being visible on the forehead or hand of the person, but something much more is visible in the spiritual realm. Think of it as an individual with a dark and evil heart that dresses the part. The outward is only symptomatic of the inner self.

Much chatter and concern arises each time some event occurs such as the vaccine for covid, or the possibility of some computer micro chip being potentially injected under the skin of a person’s hand. Although the chip idea may very well play a part in the upcoming days, still the true Mark of The Beast goes deeper than just on the outside.

Think of this as you would cattle being herded into corrals to be sold or transported. What we are witnessing in these current days is more akin to the masses being herded up and conditioned to what is about to happen. The mark is more like the final step in branding the cattle for market or identification. The ownership is already established yet the mark, or brand, is placed upon the animal as a final step in identifying who the owner is.

Every person on the face of the globe, regardless of social status, race or national origin, enters this world sharing the same spiritual condition—a condition of the heart known as sin. We are all sinners. The only antidote or “vaccination” against an eternity apart from God is a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the only way, the only Savior.

Don’t waste your time simply attempting to avoid some physical mark while ignoring the spiritual condition of your heart and life. Place your trust in Christ before  that day comes and in Him you can have eternal life.

Honey For Your Soul

http://www.westbowpress.com

By Jesse Prewitt

HONEY FOR YOUR SOUL (Sneak Preview)

Daily Devotions for Peace in a Chaotic World

JESSE PREWITT

Copyright © 2020 by Jesse Prewitt

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and review.

All Bible quotes or references are from the King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

Some quotes taken from the Amplified Bible:

“Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright 1965, 1987, by The Zondervan Corporation, The Amplified New Testament copyright 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”

Books may be ordered through booksellers, by Kindle Direct, or by contacting the author:

Jesse Prewitt

4220 FM 3277

Livingston, Texas 77351

936-522-6549

jesseprewitt@yahoo.com

www.jesseprewitt.com

ISBN: 979-8-6422-9872-5 (sc)

Printed in the United States of America

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.

Proverbs 24: 13, 14 (KJV)

Preface

This work shall by no means claim to be an exhaustive exposition of the book of Proverbs, but simply to delve into the riches of the blessings available to those who take the time to let the Wisdom of the Lord make entryway into their souls. Psalm 119:130 gives us a hint at what awaits our gaze into this sumptuous feast of life-giving nourishment for our souls. He says the entrance of Thy Word gives light. Another version says the unfolding of Thy Word. And best of all it gives understanding to the simple. I need that! I think we all do. There is a natural curiosity to understand the events that occur in our lives. We are never going to fully comprehend everything that happens to us, but much can be unfolded when we gaze into His Word and trust His Plan. It is here, as we engage in the daily nutriment of Scripture, that He often gives us a glimpse of what is going on in our lives and in the world around us.

Just as our bodies and minds need nourishment, so do our souls. If you are a child of God by a new birth in Jesus Christ, you absolutely need spiritual nourishment. You see, God gave us His Word, The Bible, to reveal Himself to us. Christ is the very embodiment of this Word. From Hebrews 1:3 we understand that Jesus Christ is the exact representation of who God the Father is. If we want to know about God and who He is, we can look at Christ and there we see all we need to gain understanding of who God really is. The Apostle John, in his Gospel, tells us that Jesus Christ is the Logos, The Word. John further writes that this Logos—Word—became flesh and dwelt among us. The Greek term is “tabernacled”. This Person is Jesus Christ, The Lord! Again, John records Jesus’ statement that he who has seen Me (Jesus) has seen the Father. (John 14:9) The Lord of heaven took on the robe of human flesh and dwelt in our midst. This was all in the plan of the Father that Jesus take upon Himself our sins and pay for them in full as our substitute, on the cross. This is the greatest news of the ages!

When Christ left this earth, He not only sent the Promised One, The Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth, as John writes in John 16:13, but The Holy Spirit will abide with us and be in us. (John 14:17) I begin with this because of its importance to the reading and understanding of God’s Word, but also for this study. When we experience the new birth in Christ, The Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts. It is here that we can begin to gain such insight into the Scriptures. Proverbs 28:5 tells us the wicked do not understand justice, but those that seek the Lord understand all things. This, as we will see when we get to that chapter, is not a guarantee to comprehend every single incident in life, but have a general understanding of life, itself. Those who do not know Christ cannot understand the Bible, though they may claim to do so. In fact, the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2;14 that the natural man, those unsaved by God’s Grace, not only do not accept or receive the things of God, they do not understand them, because such things are only understood by possessing the Spirit of God in our lives. Are you beginning to get what I am saying? Do you see the importance of being in a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, so that we may understand spiritual things? God’s Word is clear on this matter. It is vital, not only to your eternity, but to your comprehension of the Bible, to have Him in your life. This is where it all begins. This study is intended to be read with your Bible in the other hand. I cannot stress this enough. My purpose is for you the reader to experience a fresh, life-changing insight into The Word of God and what God has to say to you, today. He is speaking. Are you listening?

I encourage reading the day’s chapter prior to reading the devotion I have written. God’s Word is so much more important than what any of us can say about it. Each day read the text first, then as we study it, keep your Bible along side as we reference the various portions. This will greatly enhance your understanding of what God is saying to us all.

Our Key Verses

 I think that verses 13 and 14, in chapter 24, give us an insight into what awaits those who seek His Wisdom. These verses seem to serve as an exhortation to the study of wisdom. And to wrap it up, neatly, Proverbs 9:10 states plainly that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. This is where we begin our devotions. God’s Word will be honey for your soul.

Introduction

The Book of Proverbs is revered in the Hebrew as: Mishle Shelomoh, or The Proverbs of Solomon. Time and tradition have abbreviated it to: Mishle. We are told that among the early Christian writers, Sophia, or Wisdom, was the term used for the sacred writings of Solomon, who was considered the wisest man in his day. (Spence, H.D.M. & Exell, J.S., 1890)

Why study Proverbs? In the third chapter of 1 Kings, The Lord appeared to the young King Solomon in a dream and instructed him to ask what he wished to be given to him. Solomon, being humble in nature, asked God for an understanding heart with which to rule over and rightly judge God’s people. This request pleased The Lord and God told Solomon that because he had not asked, selfishly, for long life or riches, God granted the king a wise and understanding heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. (1Kings 3:13)

There are at least two great takeaways we can glean from this. First, Solomon is said to be the wisest man in his own time, and after that. We surely want to learn from a man like that. Second, the fact that the young king was selfless in his request, we see that God gave him that which he had not asked for, as well—riches and honor. This reveals something of the grace and blessing of God. I should think that we would want to participate in this blessing. We do not seek wisdom so that The Lord will make us rich, but simply because it pleases Him. He is looking to bless His people when we get our priorities in the correct order. God knew what Solomon was going to ask for and He gave Him the world.

As we study these sage words straight from God’s bountiful table, we too can expect to gain understanding in our hearts for not only what is occurring in our own lives, but a unique comprehension of what is happening in the world around us.

We all have questions. I have always been that kid. Even now as a grandfather, I have questions about life. It is natural for us to have a desire to understand life as it is happening to us. We will never understand it all, but as we dive deep into the Holy Writ we can have full assurance that God is in complete control and at the very least have a firm grasp of life which tends to give us a measure of peace from God. I am looking forward, with great anticipation, to our journey through this wonderful portion of God’s Holy Word together. Please know that every page is bathed in prayer as it pours forth from my heart. I pray that you find that peace with God that only He can give.

Day One

Chapter One: The Objective

It is believed that King Solomon spoke or penned over 3000 proverbs in his day. 1 Kings 4:32 relates this. Chapter 25 begins with stating that the proverbs following are from those copied out, or transcribed, by Hezekiah’s scribes. The book is basically a collection of the king’s sayings. It is natural then for the Jews to ascribe their king’s name to the entire work, but it is probable that two other authors contributed the final two chapters. Some hold that at least one of these is a nickname given by his mother to the king. Neither of these opinions constitute a hill on which I would choose to die. I think that our focus should be aimed at the content and intent of the proverbs rather than minor issues that have little impact on our lives.

Chapter one begins with the statement of who is writing—Solomon the son of David—king of Israel. Then, he gets right to his point. The first step is to know wisdom and instruction. Throughout this book we find that terms like wisdom, instruction, knowledge and understanding are used, and some may consider such terms to be simply interchangeable. It is true that in our day we tend to use these in such a manner. However, as we look closer, we can see that they are distinct. I like to frame it as instruction being something we receive, beginning at an early age, whether we are speaking chronologically or spiritually. We first receive instruction or teaching. This instruction is intended, even presumed, to be continual and repetitive to the extent that through it we gain knowledge. This knowledge, stored in our mind and pondered upon, grows into wisdom. This wisdom, coupled with life’s experiences, can flower into understanding. Understanding is the mature stage we reach when we can look at most of life with a certain insight—a sort of knowing—that transcends many of the problems and storms we go through with a firm belief that our God is in total and complete control of all that is happening around us. This is the goal of receiving wisdom, by that first glimpse into God’s Word, that when continued, grows into the full flower of faith. This will become increasingly clear as we study chapter three. From chapter 9, verse 10, we know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Verse 7, of this initial chapter, contains what many believe to be the motto or symbol of the book. We might go so far as to say it could be the propositional statement of the book. What is meant is that the reverential fear of The Lord God is where it all begins. Here it is stated that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. One may simply read the Scriptures with no commitment to be instructed, but to approach the Holy Writ with a heart that is humbled before God, ready and teachable, is where the seeds of change are planted. Someone has said that to even approach an opposing concept requires a sliver of faith. The unbeliever may approach the Bible with such a sliver of faith to investigate whether these things are true. If the condition of the heart is right, God will plant those seeds and instruction begins. The Christian that has never fully committed to the study of The Word may do so making use of that same fear of the Lord. This knowledge will germinate into godly wisdom.

How sad that many professing Christians suffer from a lack of godly wisdom and understanding of life as God intended us to live it. The latter part of verse 7 spills the beans: fools despise wisdom ad instruction. How sad to live in a relative state of spiritual poverty when we are the children of The King. How tragic to go through life not having a firm grip on God’s plan for us, simply existing instead of experiencing His Goodness and Grace to the fullest measure.

Verse 3 says that we can know righteousness (how God expects us to live toward Him), justice and judgement (knowing right from wrong in life), and equity (or simply, integrity). Without getting too deep, here, we can easily take from this how vital it is to have a worldview that is consistent with God’s. Scholars differ in the nuance of these terms, but the bottom line is that we learn how to live and act from the principles found in the Scriptures. Especially the youth and the naïve can gain prudence and discretion which is severely lacking in our society, today.

The first part of this chapter completes the picture with an admonition to hear and do not fail to follow our father’s instruction, and further not to leave our mother’s teaching. This is sadly evidenced in the world around us. Tragically, many have never had the opportunity to be instructed and taught by parents that love them. The instruction from the father referred to here, is said to correspond to our relationship with our heavenly Father. We are expected to be obedient to Him. The teaching of our mother refers to the oral instruction in the daily experience of our youth. This is of enormous import. This is where this sort of teaching begins, at the early age where the mind is open to it. The loving and instructive words of our mothers still sound in our ears, even as we age. I can often hear the voice of my mother as she taught me things that I could have never learned any other way. Oh, how I miss her! Such instruction and teaching promises to decorate our lives as a living testament to their love and care for us, to grow into the adults they desired us to become. (Proverbs 1:8)

The Alternative

From verse 10 through the remaining of this first chapter mainly give us the alternative to failing to take advantage of God’s teaching. Verses 10 to 19 put us in mind of some current gang activity we may observe on the street or television. Still wisdom shouts in the streets and lifts her voice for the simple and naïve to turn toward good sense and away from their foolishness. The promise is that if they do so, God will pour out His Words to them and make them to understand them. (Verse 23) However, in the remaining verses the tone changes to the consequences of refusing to acknowledge God and His way.

The final verse brings this chapter to a close with a final word of encouragement. He who listens to me shall live (or dwell) securely. This is what we are all looking for, isn’t it? He writes further that this person shall be at ease from the terror of the world and essentially be at peace. Thank God for the peace that comes from His Hand and Heart. This is peace in the middle of all that is going on in this chaotic world.

Day Two

Chapter Two: Searching for Silver

Once again, the Teacher speaks: My son. This is followed by one of the smallest words in our language, yet one of the most formidable ones: if. The message is that the end-result is predicated upon our action: the inclination of our ear, and the application of our heart. This end-result is found beginning in verse 5: Then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.

The Teacher admonishes us to receive His sayings, and further to treasure His commandments, with apparent candor and sincerity. There is a noticeable ascension in terms, here, increasing in emphasis from receiving to treasuring. What God is speaking about is the fact that He wants us to search for His Truth, in His Word, as if we were digging for a chest of gold on some tropical island. The whole of our being is referred to here, beginning with our ears. We are instructed to incline our ear to His teaching, apply our hearts to understanding, cry out with our mouths for discernment, lifting-up our voice for understanding. (Proverbs 2:2-4) He does not deliberately and specifically mention every part of our body, however, what is mentioned is the essential part of us that represents our person. This is a spiritual matter rather than one of physical effort. Indeed, such requires a lot of dedication, but more so of our inner person—our spirit.

Our first step is always the inclination of our ear. In this present world, it is difficult at times to be still long enough to sit and listen to the Lord. I find this true with my own children sometimes. As children, full of life and energy, they can get so amped-up that it requires effort to calm themselves down enough to sit still and listen to instruction. You and I are not that different when it comes to listening to God’s Voice. With all that life seems to throw at us each day, we tend to find it more and more inconvenient to take that time alone with God. Yet, this alone-time is so extremely vital to our spiritual health, not to mention the physical and psychological application to our lives.

Verse three urges us to cry for discernment, lifting-up our voices for understanding. This is illustrated in searching for hidden treasure. I have no doubt that if we knew for certain that valuable treasure was buried on our own property, we would excavate until we dropped. If we were sure that silver, gold or some other form of precious stone, was buried underneath our property, and it was ours for the digging, we would spare no effort nor waste time finding it. The roses and azaleas would simply have to be replanted later. We would not stop until we found that first priceless nugget. Then, like a goldminer panning in the mountain stream, we would continue knowing there is always another just like the first one. This is the attitude that God wants us to have in searching for His wisdom and understanding in our lives. We must search for it as if for silver.

Dr. Harry Ironside writes: “It is to be feared that even among those who hold and value much precious truth, diligent Bible Study is on the wane.” (Ironside, H.A., 1908, p. 29) Please notice the date on this citation. The publishing date was 1908, yet the manuscript was penned at least a year earlier. I have these books in my personal library. It amazes me to think that even then, over 113 years ago, that such was the case. It seems that today we witness a rise in everything but the diligent study of God’s Word. I recently read an article published by a pastor that flatly denies the substitutionary atonement of Christ. His premise was that God’s intent was not for Jesus to die, but He allowed it, and sort of went with the flow. My friend, anyone involved in diligent Bible Study easily recognizes this as absolute heresy. So, when we speak of devotions, as in this book, we are not referring to carving a single moment out of our day, taking a surface glimpse at a couple of verses, and then going on our way, only to repeat again tomorrow. I refer to putting God first in our day and making certain that we spend adequate time alone with Him in His Word, daily. This requires us to prioritize our schedule. We must make time and put things in the correct perspective.

Dr. McGee reminds us that the Book of Proverbs is not simply a random collection of mysterious maxims, but rather that they tell a “connected story”. (McGee, J.V., 1991, p. 26) This speaks of the importance of the study of Systematic Theology. (Chafer, L.S., 1948) Systematic Theology is the study of The Bible as a book that tells a story, with a single theme and purpose. Anyone can cherry-pick and select random Bible verses as a basis for some preconceived ideal rather than studying God’s Word as the blessed book with a single story to tell. That story is Jesus. He, and He alone, is the central theme of this book.

Dr. McGee further notes, in this same vain, that the young man referred to in verse one, and to whom this instruction is given, has two primary enemies. These enemies are the evil man (verse 12) and the stranger woman. (McGee, 1991, p. 32) This strange woman, or better stranger woman, is referred to in verse 16. In chapter one, beginning in verse 10, and again in chapter two, verse 12, the young man is cautioned against association with men of evil intent. Few of us can boast of a life free of such youthful associations. Most of us can remember times when we did things we would rather not recall, but it is good for us to do so to remind us to never go there again. As this young man begins to mature, the problems arise that would involve the stranger woman. Why the stranger woman? This stranger woman was most likely a gentile. Her influence was to lure the young man away from all that he has been being taught by his parents and God. She is the enemy of all that is virtuous and good. Again, Dr. Ironside notes that this stranger woman has another meaning in a secondary sense, in that she represents false religion and her “subtle and deceptive” solicitations. (Ironside, 1948, p. 33)

My observation today is that we have a rise in the desire to worship God. I do not wish to throw a bucket of cold water on this, but my concern is the apparent lack of an equal desire to know His Word. The Bible warns us that in times like these we will witness this evidenced in people’s desire to have their ears tickled with a powerless doctrine born of their own selfish desires. (2 Timothy 4: 1-4) Again, my concern is not that people want to worship, but the absence of focus on God’s Word is a seedbed for deception. Solid Biblical doctrine is the only path to spiritual maturity for believers. In this frame the young man is admonished to walk in the way of good men and keep himself on the right path. (Proverbs 2:20) God’s Word must not only be the focus of our collective worship, but at the center of our individual lives.

Thank you for visiting! The book is set for release in June 2020! I’ll keep you updated!

Quid Pro ‘Snow’!

Quid Pro ‘Snow’

By Jesse Prewitt

Is COVID-19 the worst pandemic to hit the United States of America?

Is this the reason that we have been effectively “quarantined” as a nation? Or, could there be some sinister reason behind crashing the economy, trashing the President and causing wide-spread panic among the American people?

First, some background

The cry heard far and wide, in the previous year, reaching as far back as 2016 in its roots, has been: Quid Pro Quo! Most understand this Latin term used by the legal system to designate something received in return for something given. This term was used ad nauseum by those opposing and attempting to overthrow the duly elected President of the United States.

Seeing that nothing could prevail in the previous attempts the strategy has fallen to a back-up plan that I have dubbed, Quid Pro Snow! If you are attempting to win at any cost and determined to remove a sitting president that has done all that you have promised, yet refused to do in the past 40 years, you tend to grow desperate. When this duly elected president is loved by the heartland of America who elected him, and he has excelled in all he has put his hand to, it makes you look incompetent, to say the least. When all efforts to criticize, demoralize, and even demonize this president have totally failed, you have no choice but to go after the one thing that stands out as a shining accomplishment: the booming economy! Under President Trump, America is enjoying the lowest unemployment and the highest stock market of any in my lifetime. Business is finally growing again. People are back to work. Jobs and industry that were once the hallmark of American culture, are gradually returning to their home country.

Where have they been?

These same corporations and industries, that originated on American soil, had been jettisoned to foreign countries, by the previous several administrations’ policies. (I have made a couple of videos regarding this that can be found on my book’s FaceBook page: America: Danger Close!) I have stated for a long time that industry is much like electricity; it will follow the path of least resistance.  Higher taxes and heavy regulations are the enemy of business. You can thank the Quid Pro Quo’s of the past few administrations for that.

Why is America in panic-mode?

Is it because COVID-19 is the worst pandemic to hit the US? Who pushed the panic button?

Let’s look at the facts.

Under Obama’s administration, H1N1 flu affected millions in the United States and around the world. The CDC states that almost 61 million Americans had the virus in the first year (60.8 million). This timeframe was between 4/12/09 to 4/10/2010. Almost 275,000 Americans were hospitalized (274,304), during this initial year. Nearly 12,500 Americans died from H1N1 (12,469). (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/basics/past-pandemics.html)

What was the administration’s response to this? The response was to wash your hands, protect yourselves and stay home if you’re sick. Good advice!

So, why the panic with the current situation? Could it be that to shut down small businesses which is the heart of our economy, will damage the precious economic gains this president has made? Could it be that to force people to stay home or face fines, causing the unemployment progress of the past 3 years to soar high, be at the core of this panic-imposing strategy? Could it be that all the main-stream-media can find to talk about is this same panic to the point of nausea?

Could it be that in attempts to blame the president over this tragedy, that the media fails to mention that the Obama administration failed to replenish the national supply of N95 masks, that were used up in the H1N1 pandemic?

The USA Today reports on this and finds it to be true.(https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/03/fact-check-did-obama-administration-deplete-n-95-mask-stockpile/5114319002/)

Am I the only one that can see the big picture, here? The big picture seems to contain too many coincidences to be just that. Don’t be surprised if the battle-cry of the Left is that unemployment and the economy are trash under Trump and that America needs a change.

Where have we heard that before?

What Happened to My America?

How Religious Apostasy

Resulting in Moral Degeneration

Leads to Political Anarchy:

By: Jesse Prewitt

Why is our country in such a mess? I hear it almost daily. What has happened to America? Most everyone above the age of 30 has some tender memory of the America that once was.

For those who do not, let me tell you a tale of a nation that was once a place where you could live in relative peace and safety. Children played in the street without constant fear of being stolen and attended school without fear of harm. A place of public worship was the safest place to be on a peaceful Sunday morning. That same place of worship was many times also a refuge for some wayward soul, slipping quietly through its welcoming doors, seeking solace from the previous night’s regretful revelry. Home was the place most cherished. A hot breakfast and loving hugs sent the family members to school and work, with the comfort in their hearts of returning at day’s end to a home-cooked meal around the family supper table, where laughter swept away the cares of the day and goodnight kisses tucked the children into their warm beds at night. Sweet were the dreams of our childhood.

Even politicians with polar-opposite platforms possessed the decency to treat their counterparts with a modicum of respect, at least in the public eye. These same contenders for public office could also be found on Sunday morning at a public place of worship, where everyone laid down the political hatchet long enough to raise a prayer to the Almighty, who gave them the liberty to publicly assemble in freedom and safety.

America has never been perfect. But she was respected, globally. What happened? We look around and it seems that she is a skeleton of her former self. Her spirit remains but she is battered on the outside from the constant barrage of attacks on her front lines. Despite the wear she remains the symbol of freedom and liberty to the world. America is strong, but under constant attack.

A look back in history reveals a similar situation. The nation of Israel had taken possession of the lands given to her by The Lord God. Yet they had neglected to continue to serve Him and resorted to worshipping the idols and pagan gods of the nations among which they dwelt. This religious apostasy had sunk into moral degeneration, which led to political anarchy. (McGee, J.V., 1991, p. 221) The last 3 chapters of the book of Judges, reveal this example of what happens when a nation forgets their God. Israel had forgotten the God that brought their ancestors out of Egypt and across the Jordan, into the promised land. They wanted to be like the other nations and have a king, worship idols and live as they pleased. As is always the case, freedom tends to lead to excess, which in turn leads to a neglect of responsibility, and finally to our ruin, if not kept in check. This is because of man’s sinful nature. We’re born with it and we tend to desire going our own way. It is so easy to get caught up in our luxury and ease as to forget where we came from. God has truly blessed America. Our challenge is to remember where those blessings came from and appreciate everything we have.

Israel’s apostasy resulted in everyone living as they pleased. “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, was they way the book ended. (Judges 21: 25) There was no rule of law and civil war among the Jewish tribes resulted from grievous sin in their midst. The offending parties refused to own-up to their evil deeds and ended in the death of thousands.

In chapter 19, certain men of the city of Gibeah of the Benjamites, surrounded the home of one of the city residents housing a Levite visitor and his wife. Pounding on the door, these men demanded the homeowner turn over the man who came into your house, that they might have illicit relations with him. The night ended with these men of Belial who stormed the house, raping the visiting man’s wife, instead, and murdering her. This action led to a civil war to rid the community of the grievous sins of those men. The book tragically ends with the summation of the reason for all the tragedy. The nation had no true leadership and therefore everyone did as they pleased. This important point is worthy of repeating.

Religious apostasy results in moral degeneration and leads to political anarchy. America has degraded herself to the point that she has, in a large capacity, lost the inability to recognize the right kind of leadership. The prognosis is ever darkening. It is too soon to give up, but we must realize the seriousness of the situation. America needs a miracle. There is only One that has that power. The answer is not in a political party, a man, woman or any human ideal. The answer is in The Lord God and His Christ.

References

The Holy Bible, Old Testament, Book of Judges, chapters 19-21

McGee, J.V., 1991, Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Through the Bible Commentary, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

NO GRIT!

No Grit!

The Story of a Nation That Forgot Where They Came From, and the consequences of failing to follow The Lord.

By: Jesse Prewitt

Our story comes from Judges 4 and 5. If this was a modern western, I would name it: NO GRIT, with the apparent reference to the John Wayne classic.  As we begin looking into this narrative, I cannot help but notice the irony associated with the name of the commander of the armies of Israel, Barak: Commander-in-Cowardice; General Grit-Less!  I will attempt to keep myself in check, but it glares at me. I can find numerous similarities to America in this narrative, but I will attempt to confine my comments to the Biblical account and the exposition of it. I will allow you to draw your own conclusions as to the modern application, but most of it is apparent.

Let’s start with a little history so we get the Paul Harvey on the situation. Joshua, the son of Nun, had died, along with Eleazar, the son of Aaron. We find recorded in the final chapter of the book of Joshua, that their able commander’s last words to the people of Israel were to remind them of all that The Lord God had done for them, how He had brought their fathers out of Egypt, delivering them from slavery and suffering. He reminded them how that their fathers had lived in the wilderness for a long time. (Joshua 24:7) Now Joshua urges them to serve the Lord with sincerity and truth (faithfulness) and put away other gods from among themselves, serving The Lord God only. (Joshua 24:15) Joshua is laying it all out in plain language, urging them to make a choice as to whom they will serve, God or idols. We find here the famous words of Joshua: As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.

The people promised to serve The Lord God even bearing witness to themselves (as Joshua challenged them in verses 22 and 23) that they would obey the voice of The Lord. To further commemorate their commitment, they made a covenant with Joshua by way of a statue with the reminder of what God has commanded, lest they forget. Now, we must bear in mind that this is a generation mostly removed from war, as their fathers had known it. We find, as we read the preceding history, that time and time again it is recorded that Israel did not totally drive out the inhabitants of the land they had been given, by The Lord God, to dispossess them of it and claim it as their inheritance from God. There is also much discussion across the global scene, as to who is the “original owner” of the land of Palestine, but God’s Word states plainly again and again that The Lord God is the Original Owner, and that He is the One commanding Israel to go in and dispossess those living there, because the inhabitants were committing grievous sins against God. “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that The Lord your God is driving them out before you”. (Deuteronomy 9:5) God was evicting the previous tenants because of their evil doings! He is giving it to Israel.

The Tail and Not the Head

I find it interesting that many are quick to point out the promise of being the head and not the tail, as found in Deuteronomy 28, but upon closer examination we find that this promise is conditional upon Israel’s obedience and faithfulness to The Lord God. (Deut. 28:13; 15) In fact, God goes on to promise the opposite will occur if they do not listen and observe His Commandments, living their lives as is pleasing to God. It is not my intention to major on the negative, but God’s blessings always come to us as a result of our obedience. Now, I realize we live in the age of Grace, and that means receiving that of which we are not worthy, in reference to salvation and all that involves. But I am not speaking about our eternal destiny, but about our temporal walk, here on this earth, until He returns to take us home. If we are in Christ, our eternity is settled. It is our daily walk to which I refer. We are free from the penalty of sin, but we are not free to live in disobedience to Christ. We expect our children to obey us and do right, and God expects no less.

When They Thought God Wasn’t Looking

Even though they had promised Joshua to follow God and Him alone, the Biblical account reveals that they “forsook the Lord and followed after Baal.” (Judges 2:13) As a result of this disobedience, everywhere they went the hand of the Lord was against them for evil. (Judges 2:15) In the same chapter we find that they did not listen to their judges which God gave them to lead them in victory against their enemies. Each time one of their leaders would die, they would turn back to their idolatrous ways, even more corruptly than before. In the tenth verse of chapter 2, we are told that one generation died and the next one “did not know the Lord nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.” This might be easily overlooked if we are not careful. This is one thing that has happened to America. The current generation does not understand our nation’s history, nor do they understand where America came from, so they do not appreciate it. How can this happen? It happens when one generation fails to pass on, to the next generation, who we are, where we came from and how we got here. We wonder why they don’t respect our history; it’s because they are not familiar with it. It has been suppressed in the classroom. It has not found its way across the pulpits of America, because many have failed to see its importance to the next generation and others have been intimidated by the culture in which they live. We need men of God that won’t be intimidated by anything or anyone. America needs men that stand strong and speak the truth, no matter what. This is the only way future generations will know the God that brought us to where we are, today. We must tell it to our children! It is not the responsibility of the public school to teach our children about God and how to live, it is our job! The school is only a reflection of our society. It is the responsibility of parents that take their children to church and teach them at home about God. It is the responsibility of men, husbands, fathers, to take the lead and teach their families how to walk with God and grow up to be godly men and women.

All That Was Introduction

But we also find that God’s Hand of Grace is still at work, even when we don’t understand it. Judges chapter 3 begins with this. Our God is so amazing that He can take our mistakes and use them to His Glory. This is not to give us license to continue in disobedience, but He can take the broken things in life and use them. Despite this new generation not being taught the right way, God allows their enemies to remain to “prove” them, meaning to allow them to go through the fire in order to strengthen them. They had not known war, but they would soon learn. How many times have we mistaken God’s discipline? He disciplines His own; He is making us more like Christ, if we belong to Him.

In Judges chapter 4, we find that Deborah was judging Israel. There had been 3 previous judges: Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar. Each of them led Israel to victory and the land had rest in the wake of their leadership. After each of them died, however, the people would again return to their old habits, and because of this, as God had promised, they suffered the consequences of their disobedience. Then the next judge would rise-up to deliver them. The pattern kept repeating itself. Chapters 4 and 5 give us a good idea of the situation in Israel. Chapter 5 consists of song that they sang about their days of battle. The description is that many days they were at war. Verse 8 tells us that there was not a shield, or a spear seen among 40 thousand in Israel. It also gives us the reason for all this; “New gods were chosen.” The people were defeated, disarmed, and suffering. Some people become defensive when you suggest that nations suffer when they turn against God. We can see that not all suffering is meant to harm us, as in the case of our text, but suffering exists in this world because of sin. Our first parents made a choice to disobey God and we all bear the consequences of a sinful nature. This is the reason Christ came. He came to offer Himself for us on the cross. He came to take our place and redeem us back to God. The fact is, however, that though redeemed in our souls, we still live in this body destined for the grave.  

Barak: Commander-in-Cowardice; General Grit-Less! 

This brings us to the main idea. Deborah was about to lead Israel to victory against her enemies, because God had heard their cries for help. Deborah called a certain General named Barak. When reading this account, you cannot help but wonder why this general couldn’t just lead them to defeat the enemy, but soon we discover why. When Deborah told him what he was to do, he chickened out! He said that he would go, but only if she would go with him. He was to lead 10 thousand men to attack the enemy and he wants her to hold his hand. Now, to be fair, Barak is indeed mentioned in Hebrews 11:32, the chapter many refer to as the Hall of Faith. It is just that, a mention. Barak did indeed lead the armies into battle, but we can’t escape the shame that was dropped on him by Deborah, in that he would not receive the honor of this victory, but that the Lord will deliver Sisera (the commander of Jabin’s army) his counterpart, into the hands of a woman. We discover later in chapter 4 that Jael, a gentile woman, is the one that took out the enemy general with a hammer and a tent stake. (Judges 4:21)

I’m sure by now many have pegged me and placed me in the complementarian category, but I wonder how many times we as men have failed to claim the honor of victory over struggles in the lives of our families, due to the fact that we have simply lacked the courage to go on with God. I wonder how many men could have saved their families had they stepped up and been the man that God wanted them to be. I admit I have been guilty of this in the past, myself. But, my friend, it is not too late to claim what God has given into your hands. That is one of the wonderful things about living today, in this day of Grace. God is a longsuffering God and He forgives and heals our hearts. He can make you into the man, the husband, the father, that God intended you to be.

It all can start right here, right now. Give it to Him. He uses broken things. If you are a Christian, don’t forget where you came from and let your family suffer the consequences of not knowing God and all He wants to do in their lives. Let Him begin in yours! Become the man, the leader you were intended to be.