Breathing Easier

Copyright © 2005 Jordan White


            Have you ever taken an aerobic exercise class?  If you have, then you know that it’s not just lots of fun, good for your muscle tone and weight control, but is very instructive in other ways.  For instance, your instructor will actually show you how to breathe!  This may strike you as funny at first, since you’ve been breathing for a very long time!


            Your instructor, though, does not think it is funny at all.  She knows that if you don’t breathe properly, you will damage your body, most particularly, your heart.


            So how does one “breathe properly”?  Your aerobics instructor will tell you that it is very simple.  It involves only one step: “Blow out the carbon dioxide!”  She does not need to tell you to breathe in the oxygen.  That will occur naturally once the carbon dioxide has been expelled.  In fact, if you try to gasp in oxygen while the carbon dioxide remains, you will become light-headed and possibly faint.


            So it is with the truth.  If you think of carbon dioxide as lies, since like that gas, lies are very bad for you, and oxygen as the truth, you will see that we must not just decide to pursue the truth, we must also reject the lies.  And, just as in aerobics, you must actively expel the carbon dioxide, we must actually ferret out and expose the lies before they damage and destroy.


            Zionism is one of those lies that needs to be exposed and rejected by all who value the truth.  You see, Zionism is not only damaging because it is a lie, but it actually obstructs the truth.  Zionism is a particularly evil lie because it is based on disobedience.  Not disobedience to earthly laws and principles.  No, it is based on disobedience to God.


            There are so many Biblical examples of disobedience to God resulting in the same kind of destruction that Zionism brings that it is difficult to choose just one to make this  point.  But there is one that stands out in my mind as a blatant attempt by some individuals to circumvent God’s ordinances, much the same as Zionism is doing today.


            That, my friends is called disobedience, and the example I am thinking of is the folks described in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah.  Nehemiah, you see, was the Israelite cupbearer to the king of Persia, in a time when the Israelites were exiled in that land for their failure to keep God’s commandments. 


            Nehemiah thought he was on firm footing when he and some others decided that they would return to Jerusalem to build its plundered wall.  God gave that land to the Israelites forever, right?  And God surely wanted to see His chosen ones restored to that land, right?  And didn’t Nehemiah do a lot of praying to God, repenting most humbly for the sins of the Israelites, even before he approached the King of Persia about returning to Jerusalem to do the work?


            Nehemiah was wrong on all counts.  The decision to go back to Jerusalem was not his to make.  The exile of the Israelites to Persia was due punishment, administered by God, for the Israelites’ disobedience.  The punishment would be over (or not) when God decided it was over, not when Nehemiah decided he was sick of being King Artaxerxes’ cupbearer.


            God did not give the land to the Israelites “forever” without clear strings attached.  Read Leviticus, Chapter 26.  God makes all kinds of promises of blessings for these people, but over and over again sets conditions: “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out.”  “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of the forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they committed against Me” as being the conditions for these blessings (including the Covenant) to be carried out.


            Nehemiah was wrong to think if he prayed some Uriah Heep-like “humble” prayer that all would be well between God and the exiled Israelites.  God was not looking for pretty words.  He was looking for obedience!  He wanted the Israelites to accept their punishment, realize that it came from God, and then to start to keep His statutes and worship Him as He asked to be worshipped.


            This is not what happened.  Instead, it was the King of Persia who granted permission for Nehemiah and his crew to return to Jerusalem. (Not God.)  And later, in subsequent chapters, we again hear fancy prayers, readings from the law, and lots of breast-beating and yes, promises, promises, promises from various priests, Levites and so on.  A wonderful, xenophobic government is employed.  A McCarthy-like “investigation” is conducted against a guy named Tobias and various people who married foreign wives.  They are duly punished, not by God, of course, but as Nehemiah himself puts it, “I gave [the orders]”.


            And that’s the truth, because God was talked at a lot but not talked with. It was as if He was being asked to rubber-stamp Nehemiah’s plan.  After all, we never hear God speak at all, througout the entire book.  Maybe He wasn’t listening?


            Maybe He was sick of their lies and false promises.  Maybe He wanted to see real evidence of obedience.  Maybe He wanted to see them accept their punishment, that being the real repentance He was looking for.


            Maybe He was looking for a willingness to expel the lies and disobedience by asking God what He would have them do to regain the land and their blessings, rather than planning their own “escape”, for then the pure air of forgiveness and restoration could take place.


Assignment:  (1)Read the entire first chapter of Romans for details about what happens when the truth of God is exchanged for a lie.  (2) Follow the link from this site to the recommended site of Dr. R.T. Zar Zar for more examples of the danger of following lies that are based on disobedience.