Friday, January 21, 2011

Temptation in the Desert and its Twentieth Century Parallel III

With each temptation Jesus countered with the words of God; specifically from the book of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy, as you might know, is a series of speeches given by Moses to the Hebrews at the end of their forty year journey in the desert; just before they went into the Promised Land. Moses reviewed all that happened, both good and bad, and what would happen if they would obey or disobey God. The choice was clear. He said, “I have today set before you life and prosperity, death and doom.” (Deuteronomy 30:15) Obedience to God leads to life and as such, the people of a nation will grow numerous; and disobedience will lead to death- not just for the soul -but for the nation because a self-absorbed, ungodly people inevitably develop an intolerance for the rearing of children. Depopulation and economic decline are but the sad result.

When we look at the twentieth century, as with previous centuries, we find that life and death; prosperity and doom; happiness and misery; all stem from two related sources: spirituality and sexuality. The belief in God and attitudes about sex determine if one is fulfilled in life; if marriages last; if families happily stay together; if nations prosper; and most importantly, if souls are saved. From the French Revolution to the Russian Revolution, Satan did a number on man’s belief in God. If he could not completely eliminate it, he was content to falsify it. In the twentieth century, he fixed his eyes on the next best thing: sex! God and sex have one very important thing in common: the ability to create life. Indeed, both are needed for the creation of human life. Sex furnishes the material and God, the soul. When these two principles of life are misunderstood and misused, a whole series of repercussions are set in motion.

To understand how Satan tempted Jesus in the desert is to understand how he tempted the human race in the twentieth century. He understands that vice, as well as virtue, rarely exist in isolation; that is, apart from other vices. To inspire one sin or vice with seemingly little consequence, is to set off a sequence of other vices which are of greater consequence. For instance, contraception, which gained currency from 1930 to 1970 is sex without life. A couple could have sex without conceiving a child. The sexual revolution gave us sex without love. Marriage was no longer necessary for sexual intimacy. And finally we come to legalized abortion, which is life without love. The mother has a child in her womb but without the love to see it to full term. As Mother Theresa said, if the womb is not safe then neither will society be safe.

In short, the twentieth century temptation began with sex without life; then sex without love; only to be peak at life without love. What seemed so innocuous in the beginning has led to not only the death of millions of unborn children; but it has led to a demographic winter (declining birthrate) in Western Civilization that is only getting worse with each generation. Today in our public discourse a word is being used with more frequency; and that word is “survival.” Will America and the rest of Western Civilization survive? Perhpas we should learn the lessons that Israel had to learn through many painful experiences.

Reading the Old Testament we come to understand Israel’s defeat and subjugation as a nation began with the sins of the individual person. The greatest assault that Satan leveled against the people of God throughout bible was to convince them that sinning against the Almighty was of little consequence. The irony is that the more experience people have with sin, the less they know it and the more gullible they become with each temptation Satan proffers. Every avalanche begins with a snow flake. And that snow flake which causes avalaches for individuals and nations is the same: we used to call it sin. Our best defense against temptation and sin is something that Jesus used against the Devil in the desert; and that defense is a living fidelity to God's Word.