Scandals in the Halls of Power
Last year I got to see Alabama begin their season against Wisconsin and win. This was time for Alabama to boast. They went on to win the National Championship. Then some of my Alabama friends shared about their political crisis in Montgomery. Dr. Bentley, their second term governor, had been caught in the rip tide of controversy. Diane, his First Lady, filed to end their fifty-year marriage on August 28, and calls for Dr. Bentley to resign over possible misuse of state funds, especially money paid to Rebekah Mason, the Governor’s Senior Political Advisor, stirred the boiling cauldron. The Masons and the Bentleys were members of the same church in Tuscaloosa, took strong stands for biblical morals and righteousness, and now they are divorced. Those who oppose biblical standards now use these standards to accuse their enemy of alleged hypocrisy.
This entire Alabama affair reminds me how much we need to carefully listen to the Story God actually tells in His Word. The popular view is that the Bible is a moralistic, do-gooder book that applauds the straight arrow folks and condemns the rest who sin. Before accepting this caricature, read the Bible for yourself. Don't jump from one Sundayschool story to the next, leaving out all the stuff in between. Instead, read a book like Genesis from beginning to end to get the foundation of God's Story. It might surprise you all the stuff they left out in SundaySchool.
One thing is clear: God's inspired Word is not a moralistic tale. Most of God's Word will never get a PG rating. It's full of governmental leaders who sin with money, sex, and power. King David, one of the big stars in God’s drama, commits adultery, tries to cover things up, murders the innocent husband, and then marries the grieving widow pregnant with his child. God took this baby home to heaven, but their next son is labeled the wisest man in the world. Solomon is called the wisest man in the world, writes most of the Book of Proverbs on skillful living, and yet in the historical record in 1 Kings it's obvious he didn't practice what he preached. Does this mean what he wrote in Proverbs isn't true? No! But it does mean we need to find a greater than Solomon who actually did embody in life what He said in word. That's why they Jewish Scripture lead us straight to Jesus, the Son of David, the greater than Solomon, who didn't moralize. He died for sinners like the Bentley's and like each of us. Governor Bentley proves again that even in your 70s we need to be totally honest about the undertow of sexual temptation, the need for the Spirit’s power, and if we do fall, the need to come clean before the cross and allow Jesus to forgive and transform as we have to face the tragic consequences of our sin.
“The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, the king of Israel:” - Proverbs 1:1
“For when Solomon was old his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God…” - 1 Kings 11:4
LORD, I continue to pray for Governor Bentley, his wife, and his family. I pray for the Mason family. Reveal the truth in every aspect of this scandal, and where needed bring about honest confession and repentance. Thank you that there is no cover up in Your inspired Word. You tell the truth about Solomon, but You also included him in the line of Your Son, Jesus, the Messiah. Help me to keep getting out the truth that only Jesus is the Ruler who will never betray us by immorality and idolatry. Jesus, help me keep looking to You!
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