We have probably all heard or used the phrase “sold down the river” when speaking of a profound betrayal.
The word “river” was a literal reference to the Mississippi or Ohio rivers. During the 19th century, Louisville, Kentucky was one of the largest slave-trading marketplaces in the USA. Louisville was the place where slaves were taken to be “sold down the river” and transported to the cotton plantations in the deep southern states. In his 2010 history of the Mississippi River, ‘Wicked River: The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild’, journalist Lee Sandlin said “the threat of being ‘sold down the river’ was seen as tantamount to a death sentence.”
For the people involved, being “sold down the river” meant a sentence of brutally hard labour. It meant separation from family and loved ones. As the global demand for cotton grew, so did the demand for more and more slave labour. Sociologist Wilma A. Dunaway has written that the global demand for cotton set off a forced migration of slaves. Close to one million were transported to the Deep South between 1790 and 1860. The importation of slaves ended by 1808. From then, much of the demand for labour was met by selling slaves who were born in one of the so-called “slave-growing states” such as Kentucky.
The figurative use of the phrase “sold down the river”, with the meaning to deceive or cheat, began in the early 20th century. An example of this usage is found in this P. G. Wodehouse's book “Small Bachelor”, 1927: “When Sigsbee Waddington married for the second time, he to all intents and purposes sold himself down the river.”
Brexit & Co
People laud the Prime Minister, Theresa May for her tenacity. We must be tenacious in prayer and in resisting Satan’s attempts to wear us down; praying from a position of strength, not weakness. That requires returning to the Lord. It means gaining a right understanding of His Word, and obedience to His Word. How many bible teachers have responded to a question on Scripture to answer, “I don’t know, I haven’t thought about it”? Some questions have been on the basic fundamentals of Christian living. The Church, seeing the failing society and lack of effective leadership around us, expects the world to live more righteously than Christian’s themselves do. We point the finger at the world to find there are three fingers pointing back at us. More to the point, the finger of God is pointing at us. In the past I have mentioned divorce and remarriage because it is entrenched in the Church. The Church ought to examine itself in all issues. Where we have strayed, we should repent and return to the Lord, and walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).
Theresa May can be tenacious in her stand on Brexit (or the lack of it) because she does not stand alone. She has powerful people propping her up, seeking to keep Britain tied and bound to the EU. Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor warns of financial chaos in Britain if there is no Brexit deal. The frighteners are being put on in all directions including chaos on the roads and ports, and an increase in the risk of terror attacks. Those that want to keep Britain chained to a Godless EU are themselves Godless. Some have a veneer of Christianity. In their scare tactics they overlook the true condition of the EU and the state it is in. It is plagued by economic instability and political disunity; and, they turn a blind eye to the rise of extremism across Europe. In the Church, Christians are living for their own “happiness” and pleasure, doing religious service to hide their sin and disobedience which causes us to stand alone, in our own strength – poor, blind, and naked before the Lord. It is when we are at the centre of God’s will that we are strengthened with His strength. It is then that we are effective in representing the Kingdom of God. It is then that we are effective in prayer. “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), and, “When we are weak then we are strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Sexual issues and the Church
Someone once said to me, “I know you are interested in sexual issues.” Let’s face it, the Church in its fallen condition is full of sexual issues! I am actually interested in a whole lot of issues; but one has to say whatever it is that the Lord is directing one to say. There is plenty of waffling going on in the Church already without adding more.
Quite recently I heard a church leader saying that of course it is alright to divorce and remarry. A church he once led was full of divorced people that had remarried; and, he said, God divorced Israel and married the Church. I suggest this understanding is far from God and far from His Word. Divorce is on the Government’s mind again. The Government wants to introduce Divorce on Demand. That might make life easier for some world religions that exist is the UK, and the population in general might possibly welcome such a move. The Government consultation closes on 10th December 2018.
Praying for the nation
It is good, right, and proper that we pray for the nation, but if we pray from a position of sin, God will not hear us however animated we become in our praying. The Church has swallowed the divorce/remarriage pill and is living in a state of sin before God. God is worthy of the best of the flock when we offer up the sacrifice of praise to Him. There should be no imperfections. Israel continued to make sacrifices to God when their lives were far from Him, and God rebuked them for it (Psalm 50; Hosea 8:13; Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8; Luke 11:37-52). We are unwilling to give up our lives and what we believe leads to our happiness. We would rather live in a lie and deception than give up those things and people we have taken possession of to make our lives perfect in our own sight. It doesn’t wash with the Lord. The One who stooped to wash the feet of His disciples knows our innermost thoughts. Walking in the world means we can pick up contamination, and need regularly to have our feet washed; but rather than be cleansed of contamination we have taken in the teachings of men and the doctrines of the devil, and made them holy…and they have become accepted practice amongst God’s people. In his new book “Shalom”, Steve Maltz speaks about how a “free-for-all was now created, allowing Christian teachers right up to the current day to be able to bend and coax God’s word to say whatever they want it to say!” A recent manoeuvre by Justin Welby is that God is effectively transgender. Since man is made in God’s image, guess where that is taking us! So it is that we have these different ‘opinions’ on what the Bible says on various topics. It smacks of “You’ve got your truth, and I’ve got mine.” We simply leave it at that and move on. The Church is like Israel in the time of Jeremiah 8:4 – “When people fall down, do they not get up? The inference is that people learn from their mistakes. Jerusalem didn’t learn because they were clinging to deceit; and behaving like nothing was wrong they refused to return to the Lord (Jeremiah 8:5-7). But – He who cleansed the Temple, will cleanse His Church. Such is God’s love for His people that He will not leave us in this fallen condition. Judgment begins at the household of God (1 Peter 4:17). Because we have refused to deal with the sin in the camp, God has no alternative but to deal with the situation Himself. How we must break the Father’s heart with our waywardness and unwillingness to hear His voice. We are not fit to stand before the Lord on behalf of the nation, and so the nation is left to those who oppose God and His good purposes. We sometimes say that a nation gets the leader it deserves. What does that say about Britain today? What does it say about the Church in Britain today?
It is argued that there are many different interpretations on divorce and remarriage. The Bible declares that God is not a God of confusion. He has given us His Word to obey and to live by. If we are willing to do His will, we will know of the teaching (John 7:17). He has given us His Spirit of truth to lead us into all truth (John 16:13). We are without excuse, and we are found wanting (Daniel 5:27). But we continue to excuse ourselves for not tackling this particular issue of divorce and remarriage. We say that we must also consider God’s grace and mercy, and that God forgives. We are only human and we make mistakes. The Bible doesn’t give us the “only human” option. It is God’s grace and mercy that leads us to repentance, and we must show the fruits of true repentance. If we were talking about a Christian that is in a homosexual relationship, we would expect him to break away from that relationship and to live unto Jesus; not to simply pray a prayer of repentance and carry on as normal. Interestingly, I have, in the past been asked to write on the issue of homosexuality, both in society and in the Church. I have never been invited to write about divorce and remarriage in either society or the Church. There is a revulsion and stigma to homosexuality; but divorce and remarriage in the Church goes unnoticed. It is a hidden cancer in the Body. This is not how it was from the beginning or ever should be. Because leaders in the Church have refused to teach the truth in love on this subject, it has become terminal. It will take the Great Physician to heal His Body.
Hell’s around the corner
The direction some Christians are taking is disastrous, and is misrepresenting the love and grace of God. For instance, the Dean of Derby Cathedral, Stephen Hance is to show a 1973 movie “Don’t Look Now”. It is a film full of explicit sex scenes and pagan sacrifice. He had shown “The Wicker Man” in the cathedral on a previous occasion; a film containing graphic sex scenes, paganism and the occult. The Dean doesn’t share his love for explicit sex movies with Bible teaching and Bible teachers. Last week he banned the University of Derby Christian Union from having Rev Melvin Tinker speak at their students’ carol concert. Nor would they accept any other preacher from St John Newland, Hull which is an evangelical Anglican church. Perhaps Hance has another diabolical film that he wants to show instead; or maybe he plans to raise the cathedral’s street-cred and popularity by holding its first sex orgy, with carols thrown in for good measure. That appears to be where this particular church denomination is heading. Having lost its way it is on the road to destruction – “Wide is the road that leads to destruction…” (Matthew 7:13).
Apparently, people are going cold on Brexit; they have grown tired of hearing about it. I can’t begin to imagine why; however, in the atmosphere of diss-May commentators suggest it is so. Some of those same commentators also suggest that Mrs May is using this public apathy to sell us down the river. She is travelling the nation explaining that she has got the best deal available. It is actuality the only deal on the table! Her mantra used to be that no deal is better than a bad deal. What she intends signing up to, and what she will put before the Commons on 11th December is a good deal…. for the EU. It is a very bad deal for Britain. The Prime Minister is not reminding the nation in all her campaigning that she, a Remainer and her Chancellor of the exchequer, a Remainer, are making sure Britain remains shackled to the EU. She is the one that proclaimed “Nothing has changed!” She wasn’t speaking about Britain’s place in the EU, but she might as well have been. We will remain, and the EU will have an even tighter grip on Britain than it had before her “deal.” Those MPs that opposed May but did not write their letters of ‘no confidence’ in the Prime Minister have not only strengthened May’s position, but they have greatly weakened future opposition and any hope of leaving the EU. We are at the mercy of the Lord. Our future as a free nation before God is on a cliff edge. Will we return to the Lord, our God and King, or will we leap over the cliff edge like a bunch of lemmings?
The ‘Clevers’ of this world are creating a new world order where the rich will become richer at the expense of the poor, who are becoming and will continue to become much poorer. The solutions to fight poverty and the various pollutions will lead to greater world distress and destruction. The answers designed to save the world will be more destructive than the problems. Because the so-called problems are presented as needing world-wide cooperation to battle them, the call for a world leader will increase. There are dangers for the world being prepared for its own union of nations. The world and the EU have rejected the KING. The world wants to be its own king-maker, and wants a king after its own Godless heart and soul. I fear Israel will feature heavily and will be used to build the deception of world unity. An invitation has already gone out from the Sanhedrin to seventy nations. You can read about it in Israelbreaking news.com. The headline reads: “Sanhedrin Invites 70 Nations to Hanukkah Dedication of Altar for the Third Temple.” The link is provided at the end of this article.
The nation and the Church have turned away from the Lord. We have little concern or understanding of the pain and hurt we cause the Lord.
“For I am like a lion to Ephraim and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them to pieces and go away. I will carry them off where no one can rescue them. Then I will return to My place until they admit their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me” (Hosea 5:14-15).
“Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us to pieces, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His presence.…” (Hosea 6:1-2).
Blessings and shalom,