John Steward of Jesus
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Our Choice

January 21, 1982

Recently I have talked with several people who know that freedom under law is the path to prosperity and happiness, and that government control is the path to poverty and misery. Yet these people feel that even the United States may soon enter a period of government control similar to that in Poland today.

While I still believe that restoring freedom under law is possible for us, I recognize total government control as a growing possibility.

Present laws permit our president to begin such control simply by declaring an emergency, as was done in Poland. Our governor has stated that 1982 is the year to enact land control. A Michigan state representative is proposing that farmers must brand and register all livestock. All the talk of less government has not significantly reduced the bureaucracy. Government spending, government deficits, and taxes, continue to grow. Most people put their faith in the government to save us if things get worse.

We can put such thoughts into perspective if we remember that our situation is nothing new.

The Israelites blamed their troubles on the lack of a king, rather than on their own disobedience and rejection of God. They demanded a king who would control them.

God warned them through Samuel that a king would take their sons and daughters and make them his servants and soldiers. He warned them that a king would take the best of all their property as a tax and use it for himself. He warned them that they themselves would become slaves of the king, and God would not hear them when they cried for relief.

Yet the people wanted a king like the other nations. God gave them what they wanted. They suffered the predicted results.

When people have “hardness of heart”, God often gives them what they want, even though it is bad.

Out of the misery which follows, God calls his people to plant the seeds for another time of freedom under the king of kings.

This king gives people more than he takes from them. He leads them by giving them the wisdom to choose what is good.

This cycle of slavery and freedom has been repeated many times in history. God does not treat us as puppets. He works through our wills. We get what we ask for. We reap what we sow.

If we, as the Israelites, blame our troubles on the weakness of our government, we will get a much stronger government. Then we, too, will walk toward slavery.

If we repent before God, ask forgiveness, and resolve with his help to obey him, while accepting the risks and responsibilities of freedom under law, God will have compassion on us and our children. Even the people of Nineveh could testify to that.