Transcending Trash Talk On Marriage – Part 2

Previously, I wrote of the trash talking tactics of those who seek to redefine marriage and how there are echoes of this in the Bible. So much so, that it’s a template which we can match up with current behaviours. But it isn’t just a template for baseless intimidation, it is also a template for encouragement and the solution to it…

It Starts With Him

“Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?”
Isaiah 2:22

In part 1, a portion of the threat outlined goes like this, “Have the governments of the nations delivered them which Marriage redefinition have destroyed?” We trust not in governments. We trust not in man who are nothing but a breath, including ourselves.
Our trust is in God. Unflinching, unchanging, eternal and utterly trustworthy. Our hope has and never will be from anything down here.

And against Him there is no comparison. Never fear what man can do.

And Continues With Us

For better and for worse, God has delegated some of His sovereignty to us…

“if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

My people. Not the activists. Not the politicians. Not the world. My people who are called by My name – the church.
The solution stands on humility and as always, it starts in prayer. Let us turn from luke warm marriages which lack the passion and resolve that Christ has for His bride, the church. Let our marriages burn so brightly that it will draw all unto God and show what marriage is really all about.

Then and only then can the healing begin.
Then and only then will we have the resolve to do what needs to be done in world which tells us not to.
Then and only then can those who influence the process start to recognise what marriage really is and yearn for it.
As we begin to bring our house in order under the Lordship of God, it cannot help but bring those around us to Him too.

The problem isn’t a minority of same-sex attracted people wanting to marry, it’s the failure of wider culture to recognise what marriage actually is. And this manifests everyday in the lives of our fellow citizens, some of whom are very influential. Take for example, Bill Shorten. His support for redefining marriage stems from an attitude which has this history – he had a child with a woman while the both of them were married to other people. Little wonder then that the issue of gender means little to him given his inclination on what marriage is in the first place.

Be Encouraged By History

And speaking of trust and prayer – back to dire situation faced by the citizens of Jerusalem. As written in part 1, they were trapped by King Sennacherib, who not only conquered other lands but was well on his way to doing the same to Israel with extreme violence and cruelty. Upon hearing his threats and blasphamey, Israel’s King Hezekiah laid it before God. Literally…

And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it. Then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying, “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, who dwells above the cherubim, You are the God, even You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear. Open Your eyes, O Lord, and see, and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.

“Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their countries, and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore, they have destroyed them.  Now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.”
Isaiah 37:14-20

God heard and had this to say to King Sennacherib…

“But I know your abode,
    and your going out and your coming in,
    and your rage against Me.
 Because your rage against Me
    and your tumult have come up into My ears,
therefore I will put My hook in your nose,
    and My bridle in your lips,
and I will turn you back
    on the way by which you came.”
Isaiah 37:28-29

….and God followed through with this…

“Then the angel of the Lord went out and struck one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When others woke up early in the morning, these were all dead bodies. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived in Nineveh.

It came to pass as he was worshipping in the house of Nisrok, his god, that Adrammelek and Sharezer, his sons, struck him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”
Isaiah 37:36-38

Be alert, pray, act but never forget that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Incidentially, that’s the same Nineveh which Sennacherib ran to which Jonah tried to run from. Firstly because of the sheer fear of delivering a statement of divine judgement to a nation of such arrogance and cruelty and secondly because he didn’t want God’s mercy for them. Yes, God will ultimately judge those who continuously rebel against Him but it has always been in His nature to reach out to them before they cross the point of no return. It is no different here. Our prayers are not for vengence but for the opening of the minds, hearts and eyes of those who oppose God’s design.

Be Encouraged – Know Your History

“Australia is now the only developed, English-speaking country that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry.”
Rodney Croome, Australian Marriage Equality National Convenor.

A modern society is marked by forward-thinking, compassion and the protection of vulnerable. When marriage falters, all of society suffers, especially its women and children. Rather than being regressive, preserving marriage is an act of a progressive society. Rather than being a point of concern, Australia’s standing as “the only developed, English-speaking country that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry” is a beacon of freedom, sense and hope.

And it didn’t happen by accident. Spiritual and physical activism – these are the reasons why all 20 attempts to redefine marriage since 2004 have failed (aside from the reality that a redefinition itself is a failure of logic).

*a joint initiative of the Fatherhood Foundation, the Australian Christian Lobby and the Australian Family Association, this is a powerful demonstration of unity and strategic thinking in action.
A few weeks after this meeting, the definition that marriage is between a man and a woman was written into law with bipartisan support.

Why 2004? Vigilant to what has been happening with marriage around the world, The National Marriage Coalition* put together The National Marriage Forum. Feeling the need to meet about this within the halls of power at Federal Parliament, they thought only a few would attend. So they looked to book a small room for this but could only secure the Great Hall.

This wasn’t a coincidence. On Wednesday the 4th of August 2004, the Great Hall was overflowing with over 1000 attendees comprised  of Christians, politicians, academics and concerned community members who had gathered to show their support for natural marriage. The politicians were visibly surprised at this strength of numbers with the then Prime Minister Howard saying, it was a “..very impressive gathering, a very large crowd filling the Great Hall on very short notice on something that obviously people feel very strongly about.” It’s time for all these people and more to raise up and and express their feelings strongly again.

This is what happened only 12 years ago. There is no reason why it cannot happen again but on a grander, nation-wide scale. And not as a once off event but as an ongoing celebration of marriage.

Be Encouraged By The Numbers

^Bill Shorten’s belittling of the thoughts of his fellow Australians by mocking the plebescite as a “$160 million taxpayer-funded opinion poll” would be an example of why this may be.

A survey of 1222 people in June 2016 by the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University showed 70% wanted the people to vote on the issue of marriage with only 19% saying it should be decided only by politicians. Little wonder given the same study showed 52.4% had “no trust or not very much trust in the federal government”^.
Couple this finding with the fact that people disagree with the imposed parental loss that marriage redefinition causes, it’s no wonder some want to bypass the democratic process. They have a narrow minded perspective that only cares for their own desires and not the consequences of forcing them on wider society. They want what they want and at any cost.

Be Encouraged And Make History

Revival starts when there is unity in prayer and purpose. The Australian Catholic Church is making an unprecedented call to make October  2016 a month of prayer and fasting over marriage and the momentum is gathering as other denominations unite on this. Please join in and spread the word.

The issues plaguing our culture are the natural fruits of the world. Ours is the task of supernaturally turning it the right side up. And not just for our lives personally but for the world broadly…

“If a piece of meat goes rotten, it’s no use blaming the meat. That’s what happens when meat is left out on its own. The question to ask is, Where is the salt? If a house gets dark at night, it’s no use blaming the house. That’s what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, Where is the light? If society becomes more corrupt and dark, it’s no use blaming society. That’s what fallen human nature does, left unchecked and unchallenged. The question to ask is, Where are the Christians? Where are the saints who will actually live as saints – God’s different people, God’s counterculture – in the public square? Where are those who see their mission as God’s people to live and work and witness in the marketplace, and pay the cost of doing so?”
John Stott

As of writing, Australia’s Federal Politicians are at a stalemate over letting the Australian people vote on this issue. This may seem disappointing but it is actually an opportunity. It gives us more time to wake up the rest of the population to the fact that this is more than just discussing a legal term. It will also likely be more time for the intolerant character of those who violently oppose natural marriage to show the wider public more examples of the type of society they will vote in should they support them.

We all have a sphere of influence. All of us. And in Australia, we have a rare opportunity of magnifying it through the vote on marriage.  When it happens, Australians have the opportunity to lead the world in word and vote on marriage. We also have the advantage of hindsight – look at what is happening around the world in jurisdictions where marriage has been redefined. Know it, share it.

This is also an opportunity for us to unite and gather momentum – wake up and act church ye sleeping giant! This is the type of atmosphere from which revivals explode – let us be the generation that sparked this.
Great South Land Of The Holy Spirit – Don’t just be satisfied with sorting out marriage. SORT IT ALL OUT.

Let us join the ranks of those who lit up history by leaving today’s comforts for tomorrow’s children.


Image©Kevin Tam

3 Responses to “ Transcending Trash Talk On Marriage – Part 2 ”

  1. Nail on the head, my friend…we can appeal to powers and authorities, we can petition politicians, we can endure hostile “debate” against those of a different worldview. However, we need to do all of these things for the sake of our children, our society and for the sake of objective truth. However, it’s the earnest petition to the Almighty which decides the fate of these issues. The Sennacherib story is very apt. I will commit to praying every day of October about this specific issue. To God be the glory..Hallelujah!!

    • Thanks for your thoughts and for holding the part of the front you have been given. There’s simply no place to lose heart – we’ve read the end of the book and we know that true love wins.

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