During the American civil war in the 1860s, there was a quotation from President Abraham Lincoln who said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
As a result of the war, ‘Northern victory … preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of slavery that had divided the country from its beginning. But these achievements came at the cost of 625,000 lives …’. At the end of the war, President Lincoln was assassinated! As to who were at the right side of God or the wrong side, that is the question.
In the Old Testament book of Judges, the Israelites finally came to the land of Canaan after their exodus from Egypt. However, they had to drive out the inhabitants before they could occupy the land. Then, they entered into a seemingly endless cycle of wars which flipped between defeat and victory but each time judges who had been raised up by the Lord delivered them from their enemies.
Interestingly, there was a key refrain repeated throughout –
“The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD”, “In those days there was no king in Israel”, or “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”. Did they get to the right side of God?
At the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, the Christian church was born in Jerusalem which resulted in three thousand new believers (Act 2:41). Their example as a role model church emulated Christ’s love and presence. But that did not last long as persecution from the rulers in power then forced the believers to flee; thus churches grew in distant places. Since then, many wars sprang up like the Crusades of which the infamous ones were those to the Holy Land.
Coming back to the American civil war, the backdrop leading to the war was a lot of talk by their politicians, community leaders as well as the pastors (“What the churches were saying”) which might have influenced the Southerners. If you have read what these people were saying, you would wonder which side of God they were at.
Today, we are bombarded with all sorts of information from all fronts – the advertisers tell you “Just do it” which would be another way of saying “just do as all deem fit”. This kind of talk goes well with our natural self without any doubt. Is this true of you too?
I do not know the total number of churches around the world, or even how many there are in Singapore. However, the greatest concern to me is, “On which side of God is Bethesda Chapel?” Am I on the right side of God?
Pastor Frankie Koh