We called your attention last time to the fact that we can praise God only because He has created us with a most wonderful mind whose powers enable us to function as prophets. And by His grace and the work of regeneration through His Spirit as well as through the instrumentality of His Word, we can be prophets of the living God. In this connection we also began to call your attention to the great evil of closing our minds to that Word, thus abusing both our minds and the prophetic office. It makes no difference whether one misuses one’s mind in the prophetic office of all believers or whether one does so in the special prophetic offices of being a minister of the Word of God, in the measure that the mind is closed to the Word of God, in that measure one will fail in one’s calling to praise God from whom all blessings flow. We like to continue with this thought today.
The man who sleeps while the Word of God is being proclaimed on the Sabbath is not the only prophet who puts his mind in cold storage and misuses it. Sad to say, but a sign of the times in which we live is also the worldly magazine craze which crowds out the reading and study of God’s Word, the reading of religious material and even the faithful preparation for the catechism class and society discussion. You find homes today that are cluttered up with this magazine published by the world and that magazine that reeks with the moralism and philosophy of an unregenerated world, of a world steeped in sin and dedicated to the praise of men. The proportion of religious literature to which some families subscribe is not even fifty-fifty, but the magazines of the world far outnumber those of a religious character or else are to be found there to the exclusion of anything that even professes to have a religious character.
Of course, we appreciate the printing press. It certainly also was a gift of God to His Church. Today we all have a printed copy of His Word in our homes. To the pure all things are pure. And all things are ours for Christ’s sake. But who is ready to deny that the printing press has today become one of the chief tools of the devil? His work is far easier today than it was before the invention of this marvelous machine whereby the thoughts of man may be transferred to paper and may be duplicated by the thousands in only a few moments of time. And he certainly has made use of that invention of man. He will do all he can with it to keep man from praising God. To a very great extent he has also done this.
Nor are we convinced that the child of God must shut himself up and never consult the published newspaper or listen to the broadcast of the news over his radio. In fact we believe that it would be sin for the prophet of God to do so and would surely hinder him in his praise to God. Are we not told to watch as well as to pray? Has God not given us signs of the return of Christ for which we must look? Earthquakes in divers places, wars and rumors of wars, the arrival of the antichrist and of Gog and Magog are things for which we should look. And observing their approach, appearance and occurrence we can praise God for His faithfulness and thank Him for His grace in showing us these signs—for the signs are for the Church. And is it not also striking how much the saints in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament times knew about the ungodly world round about them? How many of the prophets in the Old Testament make mention of the ungodly kings that were reigning at the time of their prophecy. Indeed this gives us the historical setting and indicates the time when the prophecy was spoken, yet the point is here that these men knew about things outside the narrow confines of Canaan where the Church of God was in the Old Dispensation. Notice too how Luke knew about the ungodly rulers round about Canaan and indicates to us that the taxing—or registration—demanded by Caesar did not take place until the days of Cyrenius the governor. Note too how in detail he goes in chapter three to tell us that Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip was tetrarch of Iturea, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abiline. We believe that God has given us minds as well as eyes which serve these minds, to read the printed page and to learn of the things which HE is doing round about us in this wide creation.
But we are also convinced that there is a host of printed page that is not only worthless and ought never to find its way in our homes, but is positively the means whereby the devil strives to seduce and to crowd out of our lives the Word of God. There are a few magazines devoted entirely to news and news analysis. There are also a few magazines that are definitely educational in bringing to our minds, by the printed word and by pictures, things God has placed in this creation we shall never be able to visit and to see with our own eyes but which, when read and seen by the believer, the prophet of God, impress him with the majesty, the wisdom and power of his Creator. Yet even these must be read and studied as prophets of God, for even in these the devil seeks to use men to instill in our hearts the philosophies of the lie so that subtly we are taught such pernicious theories as that of evolution or else the moralism of antichristianity, so that democracy is confused and identified with Christianity, to mention only one such unscriptural idea.
The readers of these lines undoubtedly know which magazines which must not be found in our homes—even though they are! They are those you hide some place when you expect the pastor and an elder to come for family visitation. As though you were a prophet of the consistory rather than of the All-seeing and All-knowing God! And how many of the Lord’s days are not devoted to sucking up into your mind all the cheap, mundane things which are produced by the world? And this refers not only to magazines but to book-form novels, and other forms of reading which are purely for entertainment. The Sabbath was not given us for that reason. And we ought not to encourage our children to curl up on a Sunday afternoon with just any book or magazine. That day is given the prophet of God so that he may have time and opportunity to exercise his prophetic office to a greater degree than the many toils of his every day life follow him during the week. The Sabbath is not a day hemmed in and bounded by all kinds of high and thick walls. But it is a day when we are free to serve God. And so the prophet of God ought to use it. On that day he must use his mind for the enrichment of his spiritual life in the way of increasing in knowledge and appreciation of the truth. He and the little prophets that brighten his home should especially function in this phase of their office upon the Sabbath. In our first installment under the general heading “Called To His Praise”, we asked the question in our sub-heading, “Christians—Are We?” The answer for our own encouragement lies also here. How is your mind employed upon the Sabbath outside the house of prayer? How in your own house? And the article of Mr. Wildeboer of Hamilton in the last Standard Bearer certainly strikes a note that is pleasing to our ears and mind. One could almost wish that it had also been written in English for our people. And the same thing may be applied to our other publications. Read them! Study them! Discuss them! And—let me anticipate a little—as king in your home as well as prophet, insist upon the same for your family! And as priest of your family you ought to be ashamed of yourself if you can pay $10 a year or more without a complaint for the magazines where the world propagates its philosophies and prepares the way for the antichrist, and then are so loathe to part with two or three dollars in order to have material enter your home that will help you in your prophetic office. And the sad thing is that these lines are read by so few because they cannot part with the small subscription fee for this paper and have all kinds of money for abusing their minds in exposing them to the things the godless world produces.
At the same time we wish to remark about that other method of filling our minds with what the silly, foolish, sinful, lustful world produces, and so close our minds to the sobering truth of God’s Word. I mean that method which makes use of our ears instead of our eyes, namely, the radio. And at present they are even combined in the television set. The prophet of God does not spend his or her day listening to all the nonsense of soap-operas and programs of foolishness which depraved men and women who know nothing of our misery but rather in their programs reflect their evil philosophy of “let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” The prophet of God says with David, the prophet of Jehovah, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” The prophet of God appreciates this wonderful faculty God has given him. Let us ask again, Christians—are we?
You see, say what you will, those who close their minds to God’s Word and to the truth as it is explained and expounded in religious literature, will be lax in their praising of God. And you can see it too in their walk of life. Those whose minds are seldom in contact with God’s Word, let us say in contact only in the divine services upon the Sabbath, and have them wide open all week and the remainder of the Sabbath for reading and listening to what the world has to say, these seldom SAY anything about God. And the songs which praise God even sound flat to them. They must have lilting tunes and words which praise man. Discuss the truth they cannot. Discuss the works of men, they are full of it. Let us rightly understand, called to God’s praise means that we are called to use our minds and their servants the eyes and ears as God’s prophets.