In a Welfare State of Mind


If you watched the 2014 State of the Union speech the other night—or read the transcript, like I did—you might have noticed how broad and sweeping was the range of topics the president covered.

He talked about childhood obesity, education funding, homelessness, “marriage equality,” everyone having access to a middle class job and a ladder of opportunity, roads and water, promotion of university research for Google and smartphone technology, the environment (“…the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact”), choking out fossil fuel production and promoting natural gas, investing in solar power, creating small business opportunities, creating better vaccines…

Take a deep breath. And then continue.

…forcing automakers to build more fuel-efficient vehicles, immigration, increasing the minimum wage, increasing/renewing unemployment insurance, forcing corporations to hire unemployed illegal immigrants, increasing federal loans for college students, more money for mandatory government education (including pre-K), giving all students high-speed Internet…

…increasing wages for part-time and lower-level working women, family life, social security retirement plans (that still exists?), IRAs for everyone, health care mandates for all, calling for kids to appeal to their parents to support Obamacare, taking away guns from law-abiding citizens, the military, terrorism, Guantanamo Bay, spying on Americans, drones, fighting poverty globally, the Olympics, and more.

Why did I list all that out, and what does it mean?

Simply this: We live in a country in which a good number of people, including the president, see the civil government as god. From cradle to grave, the state claims jurisdiction and authority over absolutely everything.

What you or your kids eat, marriage, the economy, the environment, technology, science, education—the president claims to be the final authority on all these matters, and he’ll even act against your will to rule in each category because he knows better than you—and God—what’s best.

President Obama’s State of the Union address is a claim to authority over absolutely every square inch of life. And, assuming himself to be god, he not only claims the right to govern every matter under the sun, he also assumes the right to act however he pleases, with or without Congressional approval (i.e. the elected officials who represent the citizens of our country).

In rejection of God’s law he is a law unto himself—he has decreed that homosexuals be married, the government shall steal money from its people and give it to those who did not earn it, and your children’s diet (and education) will be government approved. Cradle to grave.

The issue is this: The President has no lawful claim to such authority; what he takes, he takes from the One True King, Yahweh. This is, plain and simple, an attempted theft of sovereign power and authority. Ask Nebuchadnezzar or Pharaoh—it does not end well for the glory thief.

Worse still, there are a good number of Americans who don’t see any problem with this satanic interpretation of the world. I venture to say many Christians don’t get it, because they don’t understand the first commandment: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

Pharaoh saw himself as god, but Yahweh delivered his people to prove that it isn’t so. And God calls us never again to submit to the state-as-god. Likewise, we are called to submit to the rule and law of the true King, Yahweh, as final, authoritative and binding over all of life.

“The LORD sits enthroned [as King] forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness” (Psalm 9:7-8).

We’re in a welfare state of mind because so many people see the state as the beneficent god who’s supposed to take care of their every need. They pray like this: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master…so our eyes look to the state our god, till it has mercy upon us” (Psalm 123:2).

Our eagerness to always be looking to the civil government for a handout shows just what it is we worship.

But there is a word every true Christian must confess and profess to the people and rulers of these times:

“Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:10-11).

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