I am a quotations afficionado and I may have mentioned that before in my writings, but if you haven't heard it, you've no doubt figured that out by now. As such, the other day I was reading through some quotes that I've saved over the years and decided to offer an editorial with quotations and corresponding scriptures for today's lesson. I appreciate your consideration of these mini-lessons and I hope that you find the quotations as interesting as I do.
The format for today's editorial will be that I will cite you the scripture first and then the quotation accompanied by any comments I feel appropriate.
First scripture: "...a time to keep silence and a time to speak." Eccl. 3:7
Before I give you the quote, I'm reminded of the story of a little boy who was away from his house for awhile and when he returned his mother asked him, "Where have you been?" The next door neighbor was an elderly man whose wife had recently passed away and the little boy replied to her, "Visiting next door with Mr. Jones." She asked her son, "What did you talk about?" whereupon he told her, "Nothing, I just sat and helped him cry."
The quotation by the Greek philosopher Socrates: "There are two sciences which every man ought to learn. First, the science of speech; second, the more difficult one of silence."
My addition: "Silence" isn't always better than speech, but many times it is. As proof: how many times have you wished you'd kept your mouth shut and just listened?
Next scripture: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17
We're always hearing something about the First Amendment to the Constitution (Separation of church and state), usually in the form of a law suit regarding a supposed violation of it. We could devote many pages to this topic alone, but I'm going to be very succinct in my comments about it here.
The main problem, as I see it: I believe that "Caesar" has intruded way too much on the "things that are God's" and not the other way around. And now, here's our quote, spoken by President Reagan who was talking about people becoming afraid of violating the First Amendment.
"The First Amendment was not written to protect people and their laws from religious values; it was written to protect those values from Government tyranny."
Next scripture: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2Tim. 3:16-17 (ESV)
I believe that the answer to every situation, both good and bad, the reason for everything, for all things we experience, the key to real and lasting peace, and the solution for man's eternal reconciliation with God can be found in His Word - The Bible. Here's what Pres. Reagan thought about it:
"Within the covers of that single book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today if we'd only read and believe."
Next scripture: (Moses addressing the Israelites) "Who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me." Exodus 32:26
Before I share another quotation with you, again spoken by President Ronald Reagan, I'd like to do a little teaching on those words of Moses to his nation. They were spoken at a time when the people were behaving themselves in a most corrupt manner, with the assistance and compliance of Aaron, a member of their leadership party. Behaving so badly that God threatened to destroy everyone of them and start over making a nation of Moses's descendants, but Moses was able to entreat God to spare them and He did so. After this, Moses made his speech to the people.
You'll notice that, by asking the question "Who is on the Lord's side?" there is the direct implication that a choosing (dare I say an "election") must be made. There was another implication within the choice that Israel had to make that day that was later spelled out by Christ in Matt. 12:30 when he said: "He that is not with me is against me.."
You'll see in our corresponding quote that President Reagan urges "caution" in a certain way. I too urge "caution" but in the sense of "choosing" the right side as the wrong choice will be eternally disastrous. Now, the quote:
"We must be cautious in claiming God is on our side. I think the real question is, are we on His side?"
I'll bring today's efforts to a close by just making this observation - wouldn't it be great to hear our Presidents and other leaders speaking words such as these? I once had the honor of spending a short amount of time with President Reagan, but it was enough to recognize that he truly was a great human being. In my humble opinion, he is sorely missed these days.