God's Word: A Political Tool?
Mark DanielsMark Daniels's Weblog
- 2014 Nov 21
In light of Thursday's (11/20/14) speech on immigration...for those who were wondering about the President’s Scripture reference…his speechwriter was lifting a quote from Exodus 22, verse 21: ”Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” In context, God was giving the Hebrew people—3 months removed from their slavery in Egypt—a number of dictates on how to live. Chapter 22 is an extension of the Exodus 20 discourse that produced the 10 Commandments.
But where the NIV in Exodus 22 uses the word “foreigner,” other translations offer a more precise translation of the Hebrew word: sojourner, which denotes a traveler, visitor, or temporary dweller. Giving law breakers mostly unconditional amnesty is a bit more extreme than offering hospitality, IMHO.
Remarkable to consider also that this is the same president who intoned, as a senator back in June 2006, that America, “whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.” The future Chief Executive continued, “Even if we had only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson’s or Al Sharpton’s? And which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK – and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith.” It was a statement reminiscent of “President” Bartlett’s speech years before on NBC’s West Wing.
Yet, in the same chapter Mr. Obama quoted Thursday, the Hebrew people were reminded in verse 16 that, “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.” How does THAT line up with the President’s party’s ideals about safe sex, and male-female relations? Or verse 29, where the people are told that “You must give me the firstborn of your sons.” Shall we rip that verse out of context, and use it as an excuse to offer our children as human sacrifices?
2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us to “correctly handle the Word of Truth” (Scripture). 2 Peter 3, Psalm 56, Jeremiah 22 and other passages address the penalties for misusing God’s Word, as the “untaught and unstable” tend to do. Whenever a politician quotes the Holy Bible to make a point, he or she takes a risk beyond what he or she might be capable of comprehending. We must be as the Bereans of Acts 17, and examine the Scriptures to “see if what we’re hearing is the truth.”