In the Midst of Your Enemies
Dr. Joel McDurmon
Preachers are always looking for more preaching materials and helps, as they have to produce a steady stream of acceptable sermons. In more than one way, this was the impetus for me to start this series. First, I wanted to provide a model of exegetical sermon material written from a Christian Reconstructionist perspective and with applications to the civil and social realm. Few of these exist, particularly in regard to civil matters, and I wanted to equip pastors to begin preaching this way, and to embolden them to produce likeminded works on other books as well. There was a time when preachers preached this way. While pastors and theologians today often frown upon civil and social applications based on Scripture—especially from the context of Old Covenant history—I have been powerfully encouraged by John Calvin’s sermons on Deuteronomy and 2 Samuel 1–13. It is long past time that pastors began to realize this type of application and to deliver it to their congregations.
Second, I personally needed sermon material, since I was preaching roughly twice a month at Christ Church (CREC) in Branch Cove, Alabama. I had always been enamored with the message of 1 Samuel 8 for its direct bearings upon political tyranny in our own age. Then I saw the sanction of arms control in chapter 13. The more I read, the more I saw scenario after scenario which had overt political, judicial, and social applications, and they all seemed to apply just as directly to our own time. So I decided to make a series of sermons preaching through the whole book of 1 Samuel.
What followed was even more fruitful than I imagined at the outset. In our age, denuded almost completely of social or political and legal applications of Scripture, who would dare to think that 1 Samuel addresses nearly every possible phenomena in those realms that we have witnessed in modern times, as well as the psychological and spiritual issues behind them? In fact, if most people remember much from 1 Samuel at all, it may be the faithful prayer of barren Hannah (the subject of so many Mother’s Day sermons), but perhaps is only the story of David and Goliath. Little would most people suspect that Hannah was praying for a political and social revolution in her time or how 1 Samuel addresses, among other things, the direct link between social freedom and God’s Law, national security and God’s Law, as well as specific political issues such as biblical principles of warfare, kingship, national defense, the right to bear arms, taxation, military conscription, national greatness, political candidacy, political parties, party rivalries, jurisprudence (including biblical “common” law versus arbitrary civil or “statute” law), how to remain faithful under a regime hostile to biblical law, expatriation, political compromise, voting, the lesser of two evils, the surveillance state, and more. And it is simply staggering, once you understand the narratives involved, just how closely Samuel’s and David’s situations parallel our own in many ways, and how often the political expressions of modern Christians more closely align with Saul’s than with David’s. Among these pages, perhaps only the first sermon is mostly devoid of such subjects, and this only because it is setting the theological stage for what follows.
May the Lord bless this land with preachers bold enough to speak the whole counsel of God, even when it challenges civil leaders and criticizes cherished civil institutions and practices.