"I gave them over to worthless decrees and regulations that would not lead to life." - Ezekiel 20:25
Upon their exodus out of Egyptian slavery, God instructed the Hebrews to abandon the worship of idols their parents engaged in while they were in bondage, and to direct their devotions toward the one God who had heard their pleas and secured their liberation. But according to Ezekiel, they clung to the idolatrous practices of their parents.
God's judgment upon the people for ignoring God's liberating love was not an earthquake or an onslaught of pestilence or a rain of fire from above. No, Ezekiel says, God simply left them to their idolatry, letting them sink even further into the lifeless devotion they craved and found so hard to give up.
Often, it is not denial that chastens us, but permission.
America is a gun-wielding, gun-promoting, gun-obsessed culture. Not even the unrelenting cascade of mass killings by guns in the wrong hands has been enough to convince some states and the majority of national legislators that sensible gun reform is a key ingredient for better public safety.
As a result, it's easier to get a semi-automatic weapon than it is to get mental health treatment.
And we keep sending our police into situations where they are targeted and sometimes out-gunned by gun wielding individuals with deep dysfunctions.
Jesus said: "Those who live by the sword will perish by the sword." The proliferation of that which we deem our defense is fueling our demise.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with our resolve to dismantle our devotion to deadly weapons. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.