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Happy Is the Man…

Happy Is the Man…
By Dr. John Oswalt

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the ten commandments of God” – (James Madison, fourth president; primary author of the U.S. Constitution).

“Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” – (John Adams, second president).

If a people prove themselves incapable of governing themselves from within (which the US constitution assumes to be possible), the only alternative to chaos is state coercion. What the Framers of the Constitution over-optimistically believed was that the unaided human spirit was capable of governing itself according to biblical principles. It is not. It is only when a person has come into a relationship with the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ and has submitted their will to God’s will that such a thing becomes possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

As America more and more brazenly rejects Yahweh along with his instructions and resources, state coercion is becoming more and more necessary. The problem with state coercion is that there are not enough enforcement officers in the world to force a people to do what they don’t want to do or to keep them from doing what they do want to. The Greeks proved that philosophy cannot defeat rampant human desire; the Romans proved that meticulous legislation cannot do it; the United States is proving that universal education cannot do it. Tragically, democracy cannot survive in the face of rampant desire. Thus, it is either social chaos or state-sponsored tyranny. In the history of the world, we have oscillated from one to the other.

What shall we believers do? Psalms 1 and 2 give us the answer. The two psalms are framed by the Hebrew word ’ashrȇ. Psalm 1 begins with it and Psalm 2 ends with it. There is no exact English equivalent for it. It can be translated as “happy,” or “blessed.” It describes a person who is in a good situation. That person refuses the counsel of the wicked and instead delights to be guided by God’s instructions (Torah). They do not rebel against him and his Messiah, but instead, take refuge in him. There is our chart and compass, and there is our safe harbor in the storms that are coming. Choose happiness!

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