The Hebrew word, ‘birthright’ (bᵉḵôrâh) designates the legal right of the firstborn son of the family to a double portion of what each child would inherit and to other rights that belong to the firstborn, as we discover in the Book of Genesis. Sometimes this word is used to designate the firstborn of flocks or herds (Genesis4:4; Deuteronomy 12:6, 17; 14:23; Nehemiah 10:36). Where it indicates the birthright, or right of the firstborn is found in other passages (Genesis 25:31-34; 27:36; 43:33; Deuteronomy 21:17; 1 Chronicles5:1-2).
There is the well-known Scripture of Esau ‘despising’ his birthright. He showed his complete materialism with no concern for his relationship with God when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red, lentil stew. The birthright included much more than material possessions. First and foremost, it was the promise of God, the covenant oath given to Abraham and passed down from generation to generation. The Hebrew word for ‘despise’ is bāzâh. It means to place little value on something and implies contempt. You show contempt for the gift, the promise, because you have contempt for the Giver.
I was pondering the story of Esau when my thought turned to Britain. From my childhood and teenage years, I can remember Briton’s turning from gratitude and thanksgiving for being delivered from the hands of the enemy in WWII, to almost despising Britain, and displaying an attitude of contempt for being British. There was a sense of self-loathing and shame; a huge paradigm-shift took place in the British psyche as we lost our way and sense of direction and purpose. This shift was noticeable in politics, on the radio, TV, our colleges and universities, in show-biz; it was widespread. There was a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome in operation, with the self-loathing on the one hand, and singing with great gusto – “Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves! Britons never, never, never shall be slaves,” on the other.
We didn’t lose the Britain we once were. We gave it away, sold it down the river! Because we have given it away, we are in danger of having it taken away, forever. We have forgotten our past and God’s hand in it. We have remembrance days for the world wars where we remember the dead and those that sacrificed their lives for their country; but we have forgotten, and not remembered, that it was God that delivered us from the hands of the enemy.
Britain is in danger of our sovereignty being taken away once and for all by the EU. If we vote to remain in the EU we will undoubtedly be signing away Britain’s sovereignty. Britain is in danger of being swallowed up by the EU, or by Islam, or both. These are perilous times! The EU Referendum is near and from much of the rhetoric you would think the words ‘Great Britain’ referred to an economy, not a nation. Fear is proclaimed from the roof-tops and we are in danger of selling our inheritance for false economical promises. We are becoming more concerned for our belly than for our spirit and our relationship with God. Politicians from Britain, the EU, and the US all claim that they know what will happen if we stay in the EU, but say they have no idea if we leave what the implications and circumstances will be for our economy; but, they suggest it will be disastrous for Britain. I would rather face our dangers with God than put my trust in man. We can look back and know that God can be trusted to deliver us when we put our trust in Him!
Britain has despised its heritage and its inheritance, and joined what was supposed to be a trade agreement with Europe when Ted Heath was Prime Minister. Having been delivered from the enemy in two world wars by the hand of God, blithering Britain blundered. It turned its back on Israel because it first turned its back on God. This resulted in Britain losing its empire. There didn’t appear to be any other obvious reason for the loss of Empire but this fact. Britain then turned its attention to Europe to be its saviour and deliverer. God, in His great mercy, is giving us one more chance, a last chance to choose our destiny. How we vote in the EU Referendum will affect us spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. Will we sell out for a bowl of pottage of ‘predictions’ of economic security – or will we return to the Lord and vote to come out of this ungodly union, putting our trust in God as Saviour, Provider and Protector? The Archbishop of Canterbury has given his lead; he is voting to stay in. His decision is not that surprising when one looks at the condition of the Anglican Church. It is like a car running without oil and fuel because it has neglected the Maker’s instructions. Honouring man has become more important and crucial than honouring and serving God. Like the rest of Britain, it has lost its way and purpose. It has become something other than what God called it to be. On this occasion I haven’t heard David Cameron tell the Archbishop that he should stay out of politics. The Archbishop said, “To be a country for the world is part of the calling of being British.” He appears not to have made any reference to God or to the Lord Jesus Christ. Britain leaving the EU would provide an opportunity to be involved with the world. Britain will eventually cease to be if it remains in the EU. The EU has officially removed all reference to the Continent of Europe’s Christian history from the European Constitution. Why would they do that if they were the transparent organisation they claim to be? Denying the past has disastrous consequences for the future.
The way to a nation’s heart is through its belly
Jacob and Esau were two nations in the womb of Rebecca (Genesis 25:23). Esau sold out for what was short-term physical satisfaction and comfort, brought about by a bowl of soup. Britain will be in the soup if it follows suit and sells out to the EU. A title to an article in The Sunday Times (12th June 2016) was: “The EU: reasons to stay in – The list of EU culinary greatest hits is endless.” But Jesus taught that “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). The Word of God should be at the top of every nation’s agenda, since “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). The world despises the Word of God because it despises the God of the Word. We might remember this when all we are hearing is, The economy! The economy! The economy! It is the Lord that gives, and it is the Lord that takes away (Job 1:21). Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Leaving the EU is simply the first step in the battle for Britain. Should the electorate vote to leave the EU, responsible citizens must turn their attention, not to the economy, but to the spiritual, moral, and intellectual decline affecting this nation. If this is going to be a land that is recognizable as Great Britain we must regain our freedoms of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to speak the name of Jesus in public places, and freedom to teach the Bible to children in schools and elsewhere. These have been eroding at a rate of knots. There must be a stand against unbiblical standards, because while this is still a democratic nation, we as citizens have a right to speak. We should not sit back on our religious laurels, but pitch in to vote out those who oppose God and His laws. Don’t say the first believers didn’t do that, because Israel was a nation under occupation and they couldn’t do that. They did oppose the authorities when it came to preaching the Gospel though – “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us responsible for this man’s blood.” But Peter and the other apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:28, 29 [emphasis mine]). Great Britain is not quite in that condition, but will be if we remain in the EU; our rights will be eroded further until they are taken away. This could happen in Britain even if we leave the EU because of powerful religious, political and secular intellectual opposition to God and to Christianity. It is important we make a stand now. Above all, Christians should preach the Gospel. Learn from the past. See how the nation was rescued from certain destruction by the preaching of the Word and individuals being rescued from Hell! The Wesley’s, George Whitfield, William Wilberforce, and the great company of men and women of that era turned the nation around by their courageous living and preaching. Take courage! In Parliament, Christians fought against injustice and slavery and won. We do not win by sitting back watching the world go by. There is no fear of the Lord in the land today and so our battle is greater than that of the past. Christians must be bold and fearless in proclaiming the name of the Lord; fearless in the fight against unrighteousness, injustice and oppression. Then there is abortion – Do we really expect the NHS to flourish when we as a nation are carrying out mass-murder against the unborn? People say the EU has stopped wars erupting in Europe. A different kind of war has arisen from European soil since WWII and I have written more on this in ‘Sword’ Magazine (May/June 2016 issue).
Others want euthanasia for the crippled and infirm; and there are those that want to kill off the elderly – and there are plenty of the Humanist persuasion that do – God says, “Honour the face of an old man”, or in the NIV, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32). There is much to be done, so “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17), and “Fight the good fight with all of thy might; Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right…” (John Samuel Bewley Monsell – 1811-1875).
If we vote to take back our nation we will have some freedom to preach the Gospel; and we can fight for more freedom by voting against the kind of injustices and godlessness that has come in over recent years; and vote out the politicians that introduce such policies and laws. If we vote to remain in the EU, we will be governed by unelected individuals that we cannot get rid of and will head into, not the sunset, but a pit of great darkness. Europe will become a State where it will not be permitted to speak God’s name or to openly worship Him. This is the EU’s destiny. The politicians don’t mention this; neither does the Archbishop of Canterbury for that matter. All that is unnatural will flourish, legally. All that is against and an offence to our God will be held in honour. The currency and how poor we will become is practically all that is preached by the ‘remainers’, but Christians need at this point to remember our Lord’s words, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
We have a choice to make in this coming Referendum, and cannot sit on the fence. It was the rapid rise of UKIP during the last general election that forced David Cameron into giving the British people a Referendum on the EU, to stay in or to come out. It seems to me that God used UKIP for this very purpose because they only came out of the general election with one MP. They received many votes but not much power. Their purpose was to bring about this Referendum. It is a gift to us from God. Europe is returning to its pagan roots and its pagan gods. Do we want to go with them? – “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).
Blessings and shalom,