Whispers on the Playground
The women in the Bible Class were each given strips of paper bearing the names of cities. "I am giving you San Diego, Charlotte, Phoenix, Boston, Richmond, and Atlanta," I said. Now what was wrong with that picture? Before they had time to consider the meaning of my question, I asked them to read what God said to the children of Israel in Leviticus 20:24. "You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess…." There was no power in those strips of paper to give anything other than an illustration. I could not give any city to anyone because those cities were not mine to give. How could God give the children of Israel the land of Canaan? The answer is that Canaan was His to give. In fact the whole world was and forever is His to do with as He pleases. This is our Father’s world. His Kingdom does rule now and forever over all (Ps.103:19; 145:13).
Did the Canaanites think God owned Canaan? Probably not! They thought they and their gods owned all of it. Knowing the Sovereign God ruled over their pagan idolatry and abominable customs was no doubt laughable to them. They were under the curse of God and were shortly to come under His sword. Their defiled land would soon vomit them out (Lev. 18:25).
Imagine an Israelite child on the playground whispering this good news to a Canaanite playmate, “My Daddy says our God will take everything away from your family and give it to us. Have you ever seen a real live angel? My Daddy says one will be out in front and will drive all of you — the Canaanites and the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Hivite and the Jebusites — out of your land (Ex. 33:2).”
We, like the Canannites, do not believe that we, nor the world belongs to God. We think everything belongs to us and we are free to live as we please. Scripture records God’s question, “What do you have that you did not receive” (I Cor. 4:7, 8)? The correct answer is: nothing. All that we have has been given to us by God and is forever owned by God. Our answer, according to the way we think and feel, is that we have worked hard to get where we are and to acquire what we have, and nobody has given us anything. We boast that everything we have is rightfully ours. In our self-made confidence, we deny God’s ownership. We deny His law as the standard above all other standards for governing what really belongs to Him, which is everything. Our modern government, like the Canaanite government, “[A]cknowledges no law beyond itself, no law-giver save itself, no savior beyond man, and no binding power beyond time and history. …For the state to attempt, as twentieth century states do, to establish an order apart from Christ is to say that God is not the Lord, and that the universe is open to other claims of deity and sovereignty.” 1
How disgusting that we Christians, along with non-Christians, daily reckon that God’s authority over the world is limited. What could be more reproachful to our God than the denial of His ownership and authority over the very world He created?
1. R.J. Rushdoony, Chalcedon Report, Dec. 2002, #447 p.6.