(May 27, 2014)
There are a couple of common assumptions (on both sides of the political aisle) that seem to be contradicted by these chapters. The first of those is that Jacob is condemned not only for his unrighteousness, but also for his overthrow of the government. But if we remember, the government wasn’t particularly very righteous at that time – secret combinations had infected it and the patient was very near terminal before Jacob finished the job. What does that say to those who daydream about the revolution and armed resistance against a corrupt government (as we have seen in the Nevada BLM issue)?
While I happen to agree that governments are often corrupt, and even agree that our current government is more particularly corrupt, I don’t see any scriptural justification for the overthrow of a government through violent or non-violent means.
Secondly , I thought for a bit about the statement that the cities were destroyed because there were none that were righteous among them. Thinking about the way that I think about the world, I suppose that I tend to believe that in any sufficiently large group there will be people both wicked and righteous. This colors the way that I look at people, and in a generally positive way (I believe). If I am discussing an issue with a group that holds a differing viewpoint to mine, I am more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt because of my belief that in the group of those holding a similar viewpoint, there exists people who hold that viewpoint who are likely more righteous than I am.
But I think that, while holding that view is a positive thing and worth remembering, it is also important to recognize that when things get bad enough a certain group can become so bad and so beyond the pale that no one belonging to that group is righteous. We must not place groups beyond the pale cavalierly, but we must likewise not be afraid to do so if the situation or circumstances finally warrant it.
Finally, I look at the Lord’s language on those who are spared. I am often humbled to look at the few events in my life where my life could have easily gone another way but for Divine intervention. I don’t know what I might have done to warrant this Divine intervention, but if I had not received it I would most certainly be very far astray. The Lord’s language as to those who were spared because they were more righteous, and yet were not righteous, was language I need to take to heart. What am I doing to repent and return to the Lord in appreciation for the blessings He has given me to allow me to stay close to Him and not perish in wickedness and apostasy?