One of most infuriating things about my personality is that I like to be right. I know for a fact that the way I think is the most logical and sound way to think. I know for a fact that my ideas are the best ideas. I know for a fact that I am amazing at doing a thorough job of deconstructing your argument to show you how your underlying presuppositions are wrong.
And while I am awesome at all of that, I’m not very awesome to be around when I want to be right. Just ask my wife.
Enter Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. Here I am minding my own business. I am just checking the news, looking at hipster pictures of coffee and food, and realizing that you just invited me to play Farmville with you (please stop inviting me!). Then that post comes.
You know the kind of post I’m talking about. They all follow a simple mathematical equation.
A + B = C
Where “A” is a religious, political, cultural, or nonreligious group. “B” is the terrible things that they are doing, believing, voting, or supporting. “C” is the outcome which always equals outrage in the “we are right” sort of way.
For the most part I can by pass these land mine posts in my feed, except when they touch on God. Then I struggle. I feel the urge rising up within me to defend the glorious Name of Jesus. And it really is glorious! My brain swings in to high gear. I deconstruct. I counterpoint. I bring to bear the full breadth of my apologetic arsenal. Then I post believing that my comment in all of is awesomeness has just closed the case on this argument.
The truth is that when I post like that, I fail.
Let’s switch gears for a moment.
King Hezekiah reigned in Judah as the Assyrian army was quickly trying to conquer Mesopotamia. At the time, no nation could stand up the power of Sennacherib and his mighty armies. Quickly the nations to the north of Judah fell including Israel, and Hezekiah found himself surrounded in Jerusalem.
Fielding an army 185,000 strong, Sennacherib sent his Rabshekah (general) to taunt King Hezekiah and the people of Judah. The taunting is pretty awesome and includes the people of Judah eating their dung and drinking their urine. But most importantly, the Rabshekah focused on trashing the Lord. How can the Lord save Hezekiah if none of the other nation’s gods came to their rescue?
Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The Lord will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand? ’”
Here is the kicker. How did Hezekiah respond? Did he yell back? Did he shake his fist at the general? Did he deconstruct his argument? No. Hezekiah responded with prayer.
As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord.
Hezekiah went into the house of the Lord. To worship. To pray. To seek the will of God.
And when Hezekiah received the Rabshekah’s harsh words toward the Lord in writting what did he do?
Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
He literally gave it to the Lord. And God was faithful to defend his name. Overnight the angel of The Lord utterly destroyed Sennacherib’s army send the king back to Assyria. Not only that, but just as Isaiah prophesied, Sennacherib was killed in a coupe by his own sons while worshipping his false gods.
What’s the point? As Christians we are not called to defend the name of The Lord. That is not why he has saved us. It’s not our job. And it’s a good thing because we are terrible at doing it. God will defend his own name.
What has he called us to do? Pray. Have a broken heart for the lost. Love our enemies. Do good to those who persecute us… even on Facebook. If we spent the same amount of time in prayer that we do crafting the best comeback, maybe we would see something more amazing than winning the argument. Maybe we would see God move in the hearts of the broken and bring more people into his family.