Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Christian Response to Health Care Reform pt 2

In America today, you would have to be hiding under a rock not to have heard about the health care debate and you'd have to be pretty unusual not to have an opinion on it. I believe that God's word is the answer to any trials we face or concerns we have. With that in mind, I am reposting an exposition of Psalm 23 I did a few years ago as a reminder to all my brothers and sisters in Christ that it is not we nor the government that takes care of us and our needs--it is God. Regardless of how the health care debate shakes out, our God is still on the throne and we can trust Him. Be encouraged.

As I noted in the last study of this wonderful psalm, sheep are difficult to take care. It takes a lot of work and a tremendous amount of attention to the details to provide a safe, productive environment for sheep to flourish. In the end, the condition of a flock rests solely on the shoulders of the shepherd tending that flock.

Since we have a loving Shepherd, we can rest safely in His care. David, in the second verse of this wonderful psalm, describes what a blessing we have to be tended by such a kind and gentle Shepherd. First of all, we notice the condition the Shepherd puts the sheep in. It says, in the beginning of verse 2, that “He makes me lie down”. This, from everything I have read, is quite a feat. Sheep are naturally skittish creatures. They re easily frightened and quite high strung. They do not relax easily. There are two reasons I would suggest for this constant state of agitation. First of all, sheep have no natural defenses. They do not have claws or big, sharp teeth. No one has ever heard of another person getting mauled to death by a sheep. They are not fast or agile. In fact, a 100lb sheep might well have legs of only 5 lbs. While I am joking a little about that, it probably is not too much of an exaggeration. Secondly, most animals probably consider the sheep to be very tasty. Your life in the animal kingdom is going to be very stressful when other animals are looking at you and thinking “Man, I bet that’d be good with some Dale’s” or “I’d like to throw that on the George Forman”. Therefore, in order for a sheep to lie down as is stated in this verse, that sheep must be absolutely sure that it is 100% free from any danger.

If the sheep is not in a danger free situation, it will not be able to rest. What David is saying, then, is that because the Lord is his Shepherd, he knows that he is safe and secure. He is not going to be harmed by his enemies. He knows that God will protect him and keep him safe. Isn’t that such a blessing for us to meditate upon as Christians? I mean, no matter how bad things get, no one can hurt us as far as anything eternal goes. Even here on the earth, we are blessed by His providence and protection. That is not to say that nothing bad happens to Christians. Rather, He is there with us in the midst of it. We too can relax and cast our cares upon Him, as Peter said, knowing that He is our Shepherd.

David goes on to describe the circumstances the sheep find themselves in. He says that the Shepherd causes him to lie down “in green pastures”. David, as a shepherd, would have known first hand the kind of hard work that involved. The area where he kept sheep was rocky, hilly, and oftentimes barren compared to what we would think of as pasture land. If a shepherd was going to provide pasture for his flock, he was going to have to work to provide that pasture. This meant hours of backbreaking, sweaty, painful work of clearing rocks, planting good grass, and pulling up weeds which were poor quality feed at best or poisonous at worst. A shepherd spent a lot of time preparing pasture for his flock in order to provide the best for them.

This is a picture of the kind of hard work our Shepherd provides as He cares for the sheep. Not that it is difficult for Him to provide for our needs but rather that He is diligently, constantly working to provide for us. Of course, we know what grueling torture He endured on Calvary’s cross where He shed His precious blood for you and me. However, even before that, He was at work throughout human history putting the right people in the right places at the right times to accomplish His redemptive purpose. Not only does He provide green pastures for us as He provides for us materially, but even more so, He provided spiritual green pastures as He laid on His Son the sins of all who would believe.

However, this Shepherd not only provides food for the sheep but as David notes “He leads me beside quite waters”. Again, we must remember the climate in which David lived. We would probably describe much of the surroundings are barren and dry. The pools of water that you found oftentimes were polluted and undrinkable. Of course, that wouldn’t stop the sheep from drinking them. Like we’ve observed before, sheep are not known for their intelligence. If you give them two choices and one of them is good while the other is bad for them, the will more often than not choose the one that is bad for them.

So, if you left sheep to their own devices, they would drink for foul, polluted water all day long. Therefore, as a shepherd, if you want you sheep to have clear, clean drinking water, you had to go out, dig the pools or watering holes, and fill them your self. Again, the picture we get is that of tireless, constant work to provide the best for the sheep. This Shepherd, David says, does not turn the sheep out to find this still, quite water on their own. Instead, He leads the sheep. He knows the way and He lovingly takes the sheep where they will be safe and provided for. What a wonderful heavenly Shepherd we have who loves us and takes such wonderful care of His sheep. Praise His holy Name.


Christian Prophet said...

The Holy Spirit's Way can never be produced by man-made government. Obama is trying to sell his government takeover of health care by calling it moral and Christian. Exactly the opposite is true. See:

Joe Blackmon said...

I concur that there is no biblical imperative to social healthcare and that Obama doesn't have the best interest of anyone at heart. Thanks for the link.

Kimber said...

NO biblical imperative??

Rom. 13:1 - 7

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Prov. 8:15,16
By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern,and all nobles who rule on earth.

Ps. 2:2-6,10
The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say,"and throw off their fetters." The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill." (2-6)

Therefore, you kings, be wise;be warned, you rulers of the earth. (10)

Ps. 72:4, 13
He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.(4)

He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. (13)

Jere 22:15 - 16
"Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?"declares the LORD.

Does this not put President Obama in the place of King Josiah??

Joe Blackmon said...

Yes, Kimber, no biblical imperative whatsoever. Do Christians have to submit to government? Yes. Is Obama the president because God put him there? Yes. However, that does NOT mean that everything that he does is right or that it is biblical. For instance, he reversed bans on abortion funding in foreign countries and has stated that he wants homosexuals to be entitled as federal employees to the same benefits as married people. Neither of these positions are biblical.

There are no verses in the bible that say that we are mandated to turn oonrol of the health care system over to the government. However, if the boneheads in Washington decide to pass that idiotic piece of legislation and trash the greatest health care system on the planet, Christians will have to comply with that law. Christians can also take comfort in the fact that ultimately God is in control of our health care anyway.

Thanks for the visit and the comment.