“The righteous shall flourish…
like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12)


The righteous shall flourish…

like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psalm 92:12)

Crime Fret

The son of a friend was shot this week.  He was closing up shop when four men walked up, shot him in the face, and drove off in his car.  He was fortunate to live, the bullet only just missing his brain.  As I was driving to the hospital to be with them I was greatly struggling with this whole crazed crime story in this country.  It is outrageous!  Unacceptable!  Out of hand!  Why must we live with this (and die with it)?  When will the leaders of this land shake themselves from their slumber and rise up in outrage over the shocking nature of this largely unrestrained crime reality erupting all around us?  While I was inwardly struggling with this, refusing to sit back and quietly let this happen to my people, my family, my friends, the Lord gave a word to my heart from His Book of books, the Bible, and the mist cleared and I was helped.  It’s that help I bring to you.

In Proverbs 19:23 our God instructs;

“The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.”

“The fear of the LORD” is God’s great aim and end to which He would lead every man, every nation, every society.  It is that good and godly purpose that moves a man to do all he does in a way pleasing to God.  To sincerely seek His pleasure and the life only God can offer is to find indeed, for His promise is “seek and ye shall find”.

“He that hath it shall abide satisfied”, God assures us.  To “abide satisfied” is to remain satisfied.  Satisfied both now and foreverSatisfaction will be the forever dwelling place of the one who truly fears the Lord.

Listen carefully now.  The Lord then gives further promise that those who fear Him “shall not be visited with evil”.  “Visited” speaks of God visiting man in punishment.  As the Lord’s solemn warning to His wayward people in Isaiah 29:6, “Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and the earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire”.  Now the one walking in the fear of God may indeed face hard times in life, but such hardships won’t come as God’s punishment.  His God will be walking with him through every difficulty.  How richly rewarding is the way of the one who fears the Lord.  What a world of trouble he avoids.  It is the way to life, and abundant life.  It is the way to peace, to a life without fear.  It is the way to abiding satisfaction.  The one with God’s fear glowing strong in his heart doesn’t go to bed at night anxious or unsatisfied.

What then of the one who does not fear the Lord?  What of the society or nation refusing His fear?  The obvious.  No life!  No abiding satisfaction!  No promise to “not be visited with evil”.  In fact there is only the assurance of just the opposite.  Those who refuse the fear of the Lord will most certainly be “visited”, both in this life and in the end.  And they will be forced to face it alone!  For without “the fear of the LORD” one has no truly caring and capable hand to hold when life gets outrageous.

So what is the answer for crime, the answer that helped me?  It is simply this.  See this crime explosion in our land for what it is.  God’s visitation!  It is His visit in judgment just as He promised to those who refuse to fear Him.

So what to do?  The only right and lasting solution is to deal with the root cause of the problem.  What is the real cause of our ascending crime problem in this country?  There was a front-page article in the newspaper some years back.  Some researcher trying to get to the root of our run-away crime problem.  He didn’t get deep enough I’m afraid.  He cited policy decisions of the new government in the mid-1990’s when the decision was made to be sweeter on crime.  Since the new government had once been considered the outlaws, suffering under an apartheid government hard on crime and criminals, well it was a time for change you see.  Out with the ruthless approach and the old hangman’s noose.  In with the new kind-to-criminals era.  Of course the criminal element of our land said “thank you very much”, and has just run amok with it!  But this is merely the practical outworking of the root cause.  Please be wise to recognize that it is the godless direction of our government and society that is at the root of our crime troubles“Outrageous!” we might say of crime levels in this land.  Yet please consider some of the things that have brought on this outrage.  Is it not utterly outrageous to legalize the killing of defenceless babies by the thousands in abortion, as our “enlightened” government has done in recent years?  Without even the right to advise a woman away from such a shocking, murderous course!  Without even the right of a self-respecting medical practitioner to refuse to be a part of it!  Abortion is the work of rebels, who arrogantly end a life God has given, for “the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Ps. 127:3).  And is it not absolutely outrageous that the leaders of our land, both civil and religious, would sanction perversion in refusing to call homosexuality the evil it is?  “Vile affections” is the way God describes it in Roman 1:26.  Is it not an outrage that our government would deny God’s call for capital and corporeal punishment, refusing to kill killers and adequately discipline the unruly?  It’s God who said from the beginning, “Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9:6), and “he that spares his rod hates his son” (Prov. 13:24).

Please understand it.  Our current crime woes are a society that refuses to fear the Lord getting just what it deserves, a basketful of crime and criminals spilling right over the brim.

And what of the run-away immorality of this nation?  Is this not totally out of line as well?  Of course HIV/AIDS!  What on earth could we expect from the God of justice!?  It’s a condom distributing approach we’ve chosen, rather than any real consideration of moral decency and purity.  These are things outrageous folks!  Somebody must answer for our godless direction.  Somebody is answering for it.  We cannot divorce such wickedness in our ways from the certainty of God’s “visit” upon such actions and people.  What we are facing displays God’s righteous outrage over the evil choices of this nation, from the top down.  For this reason crime and calamity are upon us with a vengeance.  It’s time we as a nation recognized that something is very wrong here.  It’s time we acknowledged that it runs deeper than just the surface issues in the news.

Compare how the Lord handled King Solomon in I Kings 11 of the Bible when that man fell from the fear of God.  See there how quickly Solomon’s peaceful reign went to problems too serious to handle.  First the Lord stirred up a difficult adversary in Hadad the Edomite across their southern border (vs. 14).  There was a history behind Hadad’s hatred for Israel, but he could not arise to effective power until it was God’s time to give a needed hiding to His wayward king and nation.  Then “God stirred Him up another adversary” in a man named Rezon who rose to rule over Syria across Israel’s northern border (vs. 23).  He too “abhorred Israel”, his hatred stemming from the days of King David before Solomon came to the throne.  But again, God did not allow Rezon to become a serious problem until Solomon forsook the God of heaven and turned to evil choices.  Perhaps there was a newspaper article back then as well discussing the reason for Rezon.  But the root cause was in Solomon himself and his choice to refuse the fear of the Lord.  Why have the radical Muslims been so stirred up and seeing a measure of success against America and Britain?  They abhor the West like Rezon abhorred Israel.  What else but God, bringing His judgment upon those once great missionary sending nations, now quite fallen from any semblance of the fear of God.  “In God we trust” still inscribed on Yankee coinage, but a farce for the most part.  Society’s enemies are given a measure of success when society goes vrot!  These vices we endure are not cause for outrage as much as they are God’s answer to our evil departure from Him, calling us to repentance.  Hey listen.  The fact that we are facing God’s scourge of crime and AIDS in this land is in fact a good thing in one sense.  These are indication that God is still speaking to us, still willing to speak.  Woe upon us when the Lord stops speaking because we refuse to hear anymore!

It helps me to understand things in this way, that it is in fact God who allows the scourge of crime, taking it up like a sjambok in His hand.  To be inwardly angry and anxious over crime is in a measure to be fighting God’s “visit”, trying to hold back His hand from delivering the hiding our wayward nation so sorely needs.

Epidemic crime and disease, answering to errant morals and government policy, calls for aggressive action from God’s church.  And again, the answer is to deal with the root cause of the problem.  What can be done?  God’s method for His church is preaching!  His way to deal with the evils of society has always been the simple, frank, earnest proclamation of His true Word, in spite of the threat of hatred, persecution, or prosecution.  If God’s true message is hidden it is hidden to them that are lost, in whom the evil one has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them.  You who know and love the true God of heaven, let it shine!

For we who know Jesus Christ as Saviour the way forward is to ride it out, trusting in He who does all things well.  All things!!  Well!!  His old word still applies in the very worst of times;

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Please hear it again my friend.  “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life”.  Do you have life from God, the life that only God can give?  He is willing to give eternal life to any and every true seeker.  To fear God is to seek His answers for life and eternity.  Have you found His answers?  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  To find the life God offers is to receive Jesus and the cleansing and forgiveness of our sin available only in Him.  Have you received Him?  Speaking of Jesus Christ, the Apostle John said, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

Jesus was put to death on the cross, but He rose again from death in victory, and is alive forevermore!  In our place condemned He stood.  And now Jesus bids you to “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden”, with the promise that “I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).  Again, God’s promise to every man is “seek and ye shall find.  Every soul who has ever sought the true and living God in sincerity found Him, and found joy and peace and rest and satisfaction in Him.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31).

“He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36).




Who is good?

“There is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10)


Who has sinned?

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)


What is the cost of sin?

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)


Who paid the price for our sin?

“But God commendeth (shows, displays) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8)


How can I be saved from the guilt and penalty of my sin?

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13)