The Expository Files

Camel Swallowers and Speck Pickers

As I write this, the U.S. Senate is going through the process of confirming the newly elected president's nominees for his cabinet. Most have sailed through pretty well. John Ashcroft's confirmation is the one causing the most problems presently, though he, too, is expected to be confirmed. His big problem is that He professes belief in the Bible. Some detractors have expressed concerns that a believer in the Bible who practices his faith can not possibly serve in a fair way on the president's cabinet. He would have far too many scruples, principles and too much integrity. One senator, known well for his drunkeness, marital infidelity, and misbehavior which, on one occasion, resulted in the death of a young woman, expressed his outrage that Ashcroft would even be considered for such an important position. Another man, a preacher/social reformer (probably it should be social reformer/preacher given the emphasis and priorities this man has chosen) also questions Ashcroft's nomination. This same man had prayed with President Clinton during some of his sexual escapades (depending on what the definition of "is" is). Now we find out that as he was counseling and praying with the president, he was engaging in his own extramarital affair. One political cartoonist pictured the two praying together the following, "Please do not let our wives find out."

Jesus said, "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5). Both the senator and the reverend need to take Jesus seriously about this. The two who have broken their vows before God attempt to sit in judgment on one who has taken his vows seriously.

Jesus also said, "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! (Matthew 23:24). There has been much camel swallowing of late. A brief reading of the seriousness in God's eyes of the offense of breaking one's vow ought to give anyone pause before they would ever suggest that doing so is just a minor error. Consider the following Scriptures:

Numbers 30:2 "If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth."

Ecclesiastes 5:5 "It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay."

Exodus 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain."

At any rate, the real reason behind the objections is that Ashcroft's faith means he believes that abortion is murder. The Bible plainly shows he is right about that, and the opposition is really against the Bible playing a role in the lives of government officials. There are many who do not want it to. How different it is from the sentiment expressed by our country's first president, George Washington, who said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."

By Jon W. Quinn
The Front Page
From Expository Files 8.2; February 2001