–March of 2001
The Royal Order of the Unbended Knee
God comes to Washington was the title of a recent column by Tony Snow that reminded me again that God still has a faithful following, silently yet steadily, advancing His cause. As a matter of fact, we all need to be reminded of this just every so often. Even Elijah, the great prophet, needed such a reminder when he was hiding in a cave in the mountains of Horeb. God came to him there and asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” He groaned to God that he had been “zealous for the Lord God of Hosts” and that it would probably cost him his life. In melancholy tones, he reminded God that “I alone am left.”
Elijah was suffering from physical exhaustion and emotional depression. His present habitat (a dark cold cave) had afflicted him with a serious bout of tunnel vision. He felt that God’s cause was dead and that he was the only mourner at the funeral. God had to remind him that there was a silent army of 7,000 God-fearing men and women who had untarnished records of service in the royal order of the unbended knee. Elijah needed to understand that God’s work was advancing despite how things looked. He also let Elijah know that there was not only more work for him to do, but that a second generation prophet was waiting in the wings ready to pick up the torch and carry on the commission.
It is unquestionably true that sincere religious devotion has fallen out of vogue in the most visible circles. It has been pretty easy in recent years to get spiritual tunnel vision if we allow ourselves to walk by sight. Even Snow recognizes and reports in his column, “The common lot of religious activists, both liberal and conservative, embraces a Christianity that believes in the teaching of Jesus Christ insofar as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.” We do have a political and academic environment that has accepted post-modernistic view and offers cultural protection and respectability while debunking the Christian faith. Anyone who prays and believes the Bible with conviction is compared to an atavistic weirdo caught up in a dangerous cult, and for the good of society ought to be kept on a very short leash.
Nevertheless, God has to keep reminding us that you can’t set any of your spiritual gauges by the image makers, pollsters, and spin doctors that hold center stage in this present world. If you do, you will head for the hills, find a nice dark cave, and end up with a perverted perspective on what God is doing in the world.
There are still tens of millions of Americans to whom religion is not merely a tonic, but is the essence of life and truth. There are still millions who dare to lift up a standard in their community and sphere of influence. The salt and light is still working. God’s kingdom is still being advanced! Though I’ve never banked revival in the church on what happens in Washington, it is refreshing to know that even there, in the capital of the Free World, we have a President who speaks the name of God with plain reverence rather than out of political calculation.
The unfolding days will give us plenty of things to get our head down about. But for now, there is something that you can get your head up about. There are still millions who belong to the royal order of the unbended knee. Millions who pray daily, believe the Word of God, and dare to live out their convictions in the market place of this present world. It might just be that you need to get out of your cave, stand shoulder to shoulder with those who haven’t “bowed the knee or kissed the image,” and let them know that you are there, too. Who knows? This may be the ripest hour we’ve ever known for revival.