Elder Jason Malveaux
By Elder Jason MalveauxAssociate MinisterBethesda Temple Church
Psalm 24:3-4: Who can ascend the LORD's mountain? Who can stand in his holy sanctuary? Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart; the one who hasn't made false promises, the one who hasn't sworn dishonestly.
Infrequently, our political leaders are called upon to make decisions that are the better of two evils. Sometimes, their personal moral compass is thrown off its true heading by a decision whose outcome produces the greater good.
For example, the torture of a prisoner that has the probability of producing the location of bombs scattered around a US city. Furthermore, fixing an election in order to secure a much needed government subsidy for school funding.
On the other hand, and in extreme cases, it could be argued that the Turks were seeking the greater good when they executed genocide on one million Armenians. On a micro-level, an impoverished single mother might result to giving herself to a man sexually in order to produce keeping a roof for her children and food in their bellies.
How often are we presented with the opportunity to act in a way that transgresses for a really good reason? This is the definition of ‘dirty hands.' Observations of the prayer of Jabez, the role of government, and our Christian character will help us to be aware of and keep clean hands.
Jabez prayer intimated his concern for clean hands:
"And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep [me] from evil, that it may not grieve me!"
Clearly, this is a prayer for wealth. "Enlarge my coast," said Jabez. Jabez is asking the Lord for more property and that the favor of God might be with him in business. Now interestingly, Jabez pivots his thoughts toward issues of the soul. By praying "keep me from evil," Jabez essentially prays that God keep him from ‘dirty hands.'
What a model prayer! Lord, keep me from making decisions that I have the ways, means, and might to carry out, but are a transgression against the Truth. He further knows, by experience or observation that living with ‘dirty hands' brings a type of hurt, pain, torture, vexation, and internal wrest to him. The problem with ‘dirty hands' is though it may achieve the greater good; it also leaves vexation, irritation, and annoyance to the soul.
Governments, as compared to any individual, are limitless in power, sovereign in authority, and tasked with the protection of all people within its coast. Mothers and fathers are equally tasked with the protection of their family. If such daunting and awesome responsibility be not a choker around the neck, but a crown on the head, then the purpose of the heads of state, heads of households, and heads of churches must be to ‘ascend into the hill of the Lord' and ‘stand in his holy place.'
We are invited to fellowship with God. When men went to the ‘hill of the Lord,' they went to worship and inquire.
How wonderful is it to be able to fellowship with God in worship; to render before God the praises due His name; to dance in His presence; to honor Him with singing, testimony, and an offering; to know that the palpable, nearly tangible presence of the invisible God is with you as you ascribe glory to His Name? How marvelous a privilege is it to inquire in His presence?
Stay Tuned for Part 2.