Possessing the Enemies’ Gates: A Hopeful Charge in Light of Chief’s Justice Moore’s Removal
With the sanctity of marriage under vicious attack by runaway despots and Chief Justice Moore removed from office in Alabama yesterday, it’s easy to grow discouraged at the state of our land. Yet the Chief’s legal counsel made a statement in his defense that we should take to heart: “The best antidote for unreality is reality.”1
A key point to consider is this: While we can’t deny the destructiveness that false notions of law and marriage have brought about, we must nonetheless recognize that the living out of a god-centered, mission-minded marriage brings hope and transformation to a culture, over time, that no lawless tyrants can quell. God’s command to Adam and Eve and His promise to Abraham must be remembered at this critical hour. To history’s first couple, the Almighty declared:
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen. 1:28).
It was through fruitful, dominion-oriented marriage that the world was to be subdued then, and it is through fruitful, dominion-oriented marriage that the world is to be subdued now, even as the heathen rage. In fact, it’s through covenantal family faithfulness that the seats of political power will be recaptured and the enemies of righteousness defeated. God’s promise to Abraham should encourage us as we consider its implications:
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. (Gen. 22:17)
This truth was reaffirmed a generation later—not when Abraham’s son Isaac valiantly captured some enemy fortress in Canaan—but when he married his wife Rebekah, to which her kindred triumphantly proclaimed: “Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them” (Gen. 24:60).
To be clear: It’s not that we ought to leave the gates of our nation to pot while we retreat with our families into oblivion. This last Wednesday, our family was honored to stand with other compatriots in Montgomery who were rallying for truth and justice behind Chief Justice Moore. There’s a need to fight these important battles now, as well as in the future.
But we will err if we fail to recognize that a certain order of priorities must be followed if long-term success is to be achieved in the political power-centers of our land. Righteous Lot contended in the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah, while failing to faithfully disciple his wife and children, and the cities were destroyed (Gen. 19; 2 Pet. 2:7-8). Lot’s effort was built on an anemic and profound distortion of God’s program for how cultural change in the gates of a nation is to be rightly pursued, and it ended in total disaster.
And make no mistake: Our nation has been beset with one disaster after another because we, too, have gotten our priorities askew, failing to embrace God’s program for cultural engagement which begins with the sanctity of a God-honoring marriage and the launching of well-trained “arrows”—our children—into the enemies’ strongholds (Ps. 127:3-5).
It’s to this God-created “reality” that we must return as others cling to lawless anarchy. Even as we behold increasing rebellion across America, let us joyfully embrace our duties to build godly marriages and families, come what may, making this our first priority.
Let’s also take a deep breath and realize that there’s a striking beauty in this right order of things to which the world’s hollow counterfeits pale. Though the pagan Homer got much wrong, he had a glimpse of common grace when he observed: “. . . [T]here is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”2
If such a course of matrimony is rightly pursued unto the Lord, God’s enemies will indeed be confounded and the gates of a nation will be recoverable as more such families are raised up.
This beautiful hope is part of God’s created design and eternal plan for history. So rather than despair in these dark days, let us order our steps aright and press on.