There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. —Soren Kierkegaard. "…truth is true even if nobody believes it, and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity–it is simply true and that is the end of it" – Os Guinness, Time for Truth, pg.39. “He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
According to Robert Schuller, the problem with the reformation was that it was God-centered rather than man-centered. We live an age of self-esteem and self-help. Therapy has triumphed over theology. On this episode of the White Horse Inn our hosts help to recover the reformation slogan, “to God alone be the glory.”(originally aired 01-27-91)
A correspondent on Facebook recently informed me that Eric Svendsen’s doctoral thesis, about Mary in the New Testament and Roman Catholicism, can be viewed online. I’ve had a paper copy of an earlier version for around 20 years, and I never even thought to search for it online. But it’s available here for anybody who wants it. To see the thesis itself, click on the file under “View/Open” on the left side of the screen.
The life of the infant Samuel in the temple can be pictured for us with considerable detail. There were numerous children employed in the service of the sanctuary, but none apparently so young or so entirely devoted to it as he. A holy, seemingly inspired joy had possessed his mother, so that as she watched her little son she sang a hymn, which has been preserved to us through the ages, and which echoes now through all the Church services of the Christian world. It is in the second chapter of Samuel, opening with “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord,” and rising to that splendid passage, “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”
The first three years with this religious mother must have made a deep imprint upon the baby Samuel. Moreover he still continued to see her once a year, when she came to worship with her husband. She attended to his clothing and doubtless to his financial needs. Even at his first presentation, when he was but three years old, she had made for him a tiny ephod of linen, a garment such as the grown priests wore, and in which Samuel prayed.
14 Do not enter the path of the wickedAnd do not proceed in the way of evil men. Proverbs 4:14 (NASB)
There are things taking place in Christendom that I never thought I would see. The Roman Catholic Church seems to be returning to its former aggressive ways while much of non-Catholic professing Christians are seeking reconciliation with the “Mother Church.”
We are fast approaching the end of this age. These “signs of the times” will only increase not only in intensity, but frequency as our Lord lines things up in this World according to His will to bring His Kingdom to completion. What are those of us who are not blind to these things to do? As I have been saying in posts over the last several years, we must be all about drawing our eyes to our Lord alone. We are to seek Him and do as He says because this is the way of the Righteous and not the way of the wicked. View article →
I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man.
The Lord thus makes known His sparing mercies. It may be that the reader is now under heavy displeasure, and everything threatens his speedy doom. Let the text hold him up from despair. The Lord now invites you to consider your ways and confess your sins. If He had been man, He would long ago have cut you off. If He were now to act after the manner of men, it would be a word and a blow and then there would be an end of you: but it is not so, for “as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are his ways above your ways.”
You rightly judge that He is angry, but He keepeth not His anger forever: if you turn from sin to Jesus, God will turn from wrath. Because God is God, and not man, there is still forgiveness for you, even though you may be steeped up to your throat in iniquity. You have a God to deal with and not a hard man, or even a merely just man. No human being could have patience with you. You would have wearied out an angel, as you have wearied your sorrowing father; but God is longsuffering. Come and try Him at once. Confess, believe, and turn from your evil way, and you shall be saved.
12:13 The law of Moses required the death penalty for adulterers (Lv 20:10; Dt 22:22) and murderers (Gn 9:6; Lv 24:17; Nm 35:33), yet David was spared that penalty. Being king, of course, he had the ability to forestall action by whichever human authority would have dared to enforce the law. But the Lord’s hand was also at work in the situation, for he could have overridden any such efforts. The Lord is a God of grace (Ex 34:6), and chose to spare David’s life. In so doing he transformed David into a historic object lesson of divine grace. David’s immediate readiness to confess his sin, when confronted with it by the Lord’s spokesman Nathan (2Sm 12:1–7), proved that he still had a heart deeply devoted to God. The Lord gave David better than he deserved; he would not die. But the consequences of his sins would play themselves out in the history of his family, as Nathan predicted (12:10–14, 18; 13:28–29; 18:14–15; 1Kg 2:24–25).
12:13 I have sinned against the Lord. When charged by God’s prophet, David responds with an immediate and unqualified confession; contrast Saul’s confessions in 1 Sam. 15:24, 25, 30 (notes). Ps. 51, according to its superscription, is a fuller picture of David’s repentance.
12:13I have sinned against Yahweh David acknowledges his wrongdoing (see Psa 51).
you shall not die Death was the usual penalty for adultery (Lev 20:10).
12:13 God is gracious to forgive, ultimately for the sake of Christ (1 John 1:9). But sin still brings consequences (2 Sam. 12:10–12, 14). See note on 11:4.
12:13 I have sinned against the Lord. David did not attempt to rationalize or justify his sin. When confronted with the facts, David’s confession was immediate. The fuller confessions of David are found in Pss 32 and 51. The Lord also has taken away your sin. The Lord graciously forgave David’s sin, but the inevitable temporal consequences of sin were experienced by him. Forgiveness does not always remove the consequences of sin in this life, only in the life to come. you shall not die. Although the sins of David legally demanded his death (see v. 5), the Lord graciously released David from the required death penalty. There are events in the OT record where God required death and others where He showed grace and spared the sinner. This is consistent with justice and grace. Those who perished are illustrations of what all sinners deserve. Those who were spared are proofs and examples of God’s grace.
A Case Study in Repentance2 Sam. 12:13What happens when we sin and delay our repentance? Are there consequences? When David committed adultery with Bathsheba, he didn’t repent immediately. Only some time later did David admit to his sin. And even then, he didn’t do it on his own accord; God had to send a prophet to confront him (2 Sam. 12:1–14). Only after Nathan’s visit did David confess his sin and then repent of it. God’s discipline followed, in a severe form—perhaps so severe because of David’s failure to repent sooner. If you and I deal with our sin genuinely, openly, and immediately, God can lessen the severity of our discipline. This makes sense in the light of the nature of discipline. Discipline is designed to get us to change, to obey. If God sees that we want to cooperate and that we have purposed in our hearts to obey the next time, then stern discipline is not usually needed.
12:13I have sinned against the Lord: David did not attempt to rationalize his sin or to make an excuse for himself. A fuller expression of David’s confession is found in Ps. 51. The Lord also has put away your sin: God accepted David’s confession and extended divine forgiveness. you shall not die: This is an evidence of divine grace. David was deserving of the death penalty for adultery and murder (Lev. 20:10; Num. 35:31–33). God’s grace is able to circumvent His own plan for punishment.
Ver. 13. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.—The repentance of David:—If we wish to draw any lessons from the repentance of any one, it is a great assistance to us to know something of the character of the man, something of the sin from which he repented, something of the mode by which he was roused to repentance, something of the nature of the repentance itself. All these we have given to us in the case of David.
I. His general character. It is a character difficult, perhaps, to understand, but its very difficulty makes it instructive. It is full of variety, full of impulse, full of genius; it is like the characters of our own later times—complicated, intricate, vast; it covers a great range of characters amongst ourselves; it is not like one class or character only, but like many; it is like you, it is like me; it is like this man and that man. He is the shepherd, and the student, and the poet, and the soldier, and the King. He is the adventurous wanderer, strong and muscular, “his feet like steel.” He is the silent observer of the heavens by night, “the moon and the stars which God has ordained.” He is the devoted friend, the first example of youthful friendship, loving Jonathan “with a love passing the love of women.” He is the generous enemy, sparing his rival. He is the father mourning with passionate grief the loss of his favourite child: “O my son Absalom.” Again and again we feel that he is one of us—that his feelings, his pleasures, his sympathies, are such as we outwardly love and admire, even if we do not enter into them. But yet more than this, it is exactly that mixture of good and evil which is in ourselves; not all good nor all evil, but a mixture of both—of a higher good, and of a deeper evil, yet still both together. But it is the other side of his character that we are now called to consider; and yet it is only by considering both sides together that we can draw its true lesson from either. It was to this tender, and brave, and loving character that the Prophet Nathan came, with the story of the hard-hearted, mean-spirited man. Every just and generous feeling in David’s heart was roused by the story: its simple pathos, now worn through and through by much repetition, was then felt in all the freshness of its first utterance: his anger was kindled against the man. No lengthened comment can add anything to the startling effect of the disclosure of this sudden descent from all that was high and good to all that was base and miserable.
II. David’s repentance and our own.
1. Let us observe how the Scripture narrative deals with the case. It does not exaggerate—it does not extenuate. David’s goodness is not denied because of his sin, nor his sin because of his goodness. The fact that he was the man after God’s own heart is not thrust out of sight because he was the man of Nathan’s parable. The fact of his sin is not denied, lest it should give occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme. This is the first lesson that we learn.
2. The sin of David, and his unconsciousness of his own sin, and so also his repentance through the disclosure to him of his own sin, are exactly what are most likely to take place in characters like his, like ours, made up of mixed forms of good and of evil. The hardened, depraved, worldly man is not ignorant of his sin—he knows it, he defends it, he is accustomed to it. But the good man, or the man who is half good and half bad—he overlooks his sin. His good deeds conceal his bad deeds, often even from others, more often still from himself. Even out of those very gifts which are most noble, most excellent in themselves, may come our chief temptations.
3. Let us observe both the exact point of Nathan’s warning, and the exact point of David’s repentance. It is most instructive to observe that Nathan in his parable calls attention, not to the sensuality and cruelty of David’s crime, but simply to its intense and brutal selfishness. It is remarkable that even deeper than David’s sense, when once aroused, of his injustice to man, was his sense of his guilt and shame before God:—“Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight.” Dark as is the shade of the dark sin done to man, a yet darker shade falls over it when viewed in the unchanging light of the All-Pure and the All-Merciful. This is perhaps especially the case with these grosser sins. David is driven by the very fervour of his penitence to speak of this one sin as he would have spoken of all sins. Every one of us is in danger of falling into sins of which we have no expectation beforehand, of which, like David, we are ignorant even after we have committed them. Whatever be our special failing—self-indulgence, vanity, untruth, uncharitableness—and however it be made known to us—by friends, by preachers, by reflection, by sorrow, by the death of our first-born, by the ruin of our house—let David’s feeling respecting it be ours.
4. This leads us to see what is the door which God opens, in such cases as David’s, for repentance and restoration. There is the general lesson, taught by this, as by a thousand other passages both of the Old and the New Testaments—that, as far as human eye can judge, no case is too late or too bad to return, if only the heart can be truly roused to a sense of its own guilt and of God’s holiness. “Thou desirest no sacrifice;”—consider the immense force of the words; how wise, how consoling, how vast in their reach of meaning—“Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee; Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” So spoke David in the fulness of his penitence. So taught the Son of David in the fulness of His grace and truth. Two final lessons we may learn from David’s repentance. For others, it teaches us to regard with tenderness the faults, the sins, the crimes of those who, gifted with great and noble qualities, are, by that strange union of strength and weakness which we so often see, betrayed into acts which more ordinary, commonplace characters avoid or escape. And for ourselves, let us remember the still more important lesson that such a foundation of good as that which there was in David’s character is never thrown away. If it is not able to resist the trial altogether, it will at least be best able to recover from it. (A. P. Stanley, M.A.)
I. As the sin had been public, so was his repentance. His penitent confession is recorded to the end of time, to be read by every child of God, and be made the vehicle of hearty confession by every penitent sinner until the day of judgmet.
II. He puts utterly out of the account all his former faithful service; there is not so much as a hint of it; and if a person did not know how David had hitherto walked before the Lord, and been his faithful minister on many trying occasions in the Church of God, he could not have guessed it from any expression here. The truly contrite heart gives glory to God for all the good, and takes shame to itself for all the evil. Here is one of the difficult things in true repentance; how unwilling is the heart to lose sight of any thing which it can set against its sin! Even when it sees the vanity and sinfulness of doing this, it still clings to a lurking comfort in the thought of some merit; it is unwilling to forego every support of self-righteousness, to place itself at the bar of God’s judgment, and to be found speechless without one word of defence; yet so David did.
III. His repentance followed up by actions. See the utter resignation with which he submits to the first instalment of his punishment in the death of the child; see, again, how humbly he bears the curse of Shimei, when he cries out, “Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial;” thus cruelly reminding him of the very sins which we have been considering. How utterly dead was the spirit of self-justification in the heart of the man who could speak and act thus!
IV. Repentance in its true nature is not the work of a certain number of days or years; it lasts through life. As David says, “My sin is ever before me,” and as David showed by his humbleness of heart to the end of his life.
V. The sight of his forgiveness. God, who seeth the heart of man, saw the real worth of those words, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He saw in them the deeds which followed them; He knew that they were not showy blossoms, that would soon drop off, without any setting of fruit, like flowers in an unsuitable climate; He saw in them the earnest of much and good fruit, as in a tree that is in its proper soil and genuine climate. The beginning and the end are at once in the sight of God, and He knew that the words came from a heart which would make them good by the help of His grace; and therefore He accepted David’s repentance, and commissioned the prophet Nathan to say unto him, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (B. W. Evans, B.D.)
David’s fall and recovery:—
1. The history of this pious and sincere servant of God is like a broken hull deeply imbedded in the sand, and the ragged masts emerging from the waves to tell others of the danger and to warn them to steer away from the shoal on which this gallant ship was wrecked. David’s sad story has a voice to every open ear, “Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.”
2. But this history illustrates David’s character, while it brings out in parallel the character of God. Did God who has so fully recorded the particulars of his servant’s crimes—did He wink at the crime? Did God dread the exposure of David, and care to hide the crime, because the criminal was one of His own family, and household? Let him who is disposed to sneer at David’s fall, and to think that God may be partial, study well and carefully the record of David’s punishment. But is that all that David’s sin and David’s fall should teach us and has taught us of judgment?
3. Does it tell us nothing of mercy? Does it bring out nothing further, both of God’s character, and the character of His true, though fallen child? “I have sinned against the Lord.” That one thought spreads its sorrowful influence over his whole soul. “My base ingratitude against God, my foul dishonour done to God, the deep offence against his holiness, the sad requital of His unmerited goodness”—that one thought like a dark veil, shuts out all others.
4. And does not David’s feeling as a child bring out and illustrate the feeling of God as a father? “If he commit iniquity, I will punish his offences with the rod and his sin with scourges; nevertheless I will not take away my loving kindness from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.” When the child who has sinned comes back with a broken spirit, and melting heart, to his wronged and injured, but still loving father, will that father refuse the pardon which is now all in all to his repenting child? Will he turn away coldly from the returning prodigal, and not forgive the offence so deeply felt, so fully acknowledged, and so evidently repeated? And so the broken-hearted David has scarcely sobbed out, “I have sinned against the Lord,” when he who knew how true and deep that sorrow was that wrung his heart, replied by his prophet, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” (W. W. Champneys, M.A.)
Conviction of sin and recovery:—
The history of the past is the parable of the present. The shadows of the dead are the representatives of the living. Scripture history is a perpetual illustration of passing life. The sins of different ages may not be exactly the same, and yet the illustration may be very complete.
I. Men often correctly understand a message from the Lord without observing its personal application to themselves. David listens with interest and indignation to the words of the prophet. You do wonder, as you observe the appropriateness of the words, that he does not himself see the meaning of the parable. You feel in reading it as if it did not require any exposition. You understand Nathan as soon as you hear his tale. But David heard no interpreter, and in pronouncing judgment upon the unknown offender unconsciously condemned himself, the real culprit. Yet this is so like human nature that I feel the truthfulness of the account. Just like him many of you feel under a message from the Lord. You do not think of yourselves. How many times have some of you uttered your own condemnation, while you supposed you had been pronouncing righteous judgment upon others! To you he has opened his mouth in a parable, and uttered a dark saying; but only because you have not had the true interpretation. Yet often the interpreter was there, if you had consulted him.
II. The beginning of recovery from sins to produce in the heart of the sinner deep convictions of his own sinfulness. To send a messenger to David, though he brought from the Lord the most severe rebuke of the sin, was yet an auspicious omen and sign of mercy for the sinner. Notwithstanding the grievousness and aggravation of the sin, God had not utterly cast off His servant. In wrath He remembered mercy. Mercy he did obtain; but it is for you to observe the sorrowful way he had to travel in order to find mercy of the Lord. The words of Nathan were never forgotten. Let no man think he may sin with impunity. Let no backslider comfort himself with the thought that he will be restored in due time. Restored he may be; but he will retrace every step with many tears. He will be brought back with many stripes, and made to feel, in the sadness of his soul, the evil of his sin, that never, as long as he lives, he may think lightly of it any more.
III. For heinous sins a provision of mercy is made, but so made as will secure long and humbling recollections of the aggravated guilt. David was pardoned—freely pardoned—though his sin was very great upon him. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” (R. Halley, D.D.)
The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.—God and the sinner:—
I. The Lord convincing the sinner. We observe that the impression which pierced most deeply was this—he had sinned against his God.
II. God pardoning sin. This appears particularly deserving of notice, as God’s dealing with David may well be regarded as in the case of Paul, a pattern to those who should after believe upon him to life everlasting. It is plain that pardon was here bestowed as an act of God’s free and royal grace; it was extended according to his will, at his own time, and in his appointed way. The way in which the Lord here forgave his guilty servant may appear to mere human reason as by no means the wisest; but to such a thought we may well reply, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” A deeper view would convince us that no other way could have so well displayed the attributes of Jehovah, or so secured the heartfelt humiliation and subsequent holiness of David. Again, this mode of forgiveness must have melted the soul of David into that union of self-loathing and gratitude, which constitutes genuine repentance, and gives hope and peace, without which there can be no willing obedience, while the memory of the past would ever keep alive self-distrust and watchfulness.
III. The Lord chastens the restored penitent. Nathan had previously declared that the sword should not depart from his house, but that in domestic trouble his own sin should return upon him; and now he pronounced that, to mark the injury his fall had done to the cause of God, the child of his sinful affection should die. We are not to think from this that any guilt still remained charged upon him before the Lord—no, for his sin was put away—but for his own good and for our admonition, he underwent this painful discipline. Applications:
1. I think this subject speaks a word to the careless or hardened sinner. Are you trying to hope as far as you think about it, that God will pass over your sins? Beware, they must be absolutely pardoned here, or absolutely punished hereafter.
2. There is much also here for the Christian to ponder on—he will reflect with joy and great consolation upon this gracious proof of the infinite mercy of the Lord—to many a soul it has furnished a successful reply to the infected doubts of the tempter; but it unfolds an awful picture of the heart of man. While we learn here that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance, let us ever remember that our own strength is but weakness, and to trust in our own hearts foolishness; for that God alone is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. (H. Townsend.)
The effect of pardon:—
1. We have two cases of sinners who have been entirely pardoned, and whose actions after the announcement of that pardon have been left on the record of Scripture—David and Mary Magdalene. Certain distinct features appear in their cases after forgiveness, which are separate from the features of their penitence; an intensity of love proportioned to the amount of remitted debt, a life of continual carefulness, and a pathway in which they trod more or less softly to the end of their days. And all this proceeding partly from the deepest gratitude, and partly from the encouragement afforded by knowing they were forgiven. We are all familiar with the glorious effects of the pronouncing of pardons in the case of earthly criminals and earthly punishments. These may as faint shadows symbolise to us the effect on our spiritual life of the pronounced pardon of sin.
2. Under the Jewish dispensation we frequently find that a certain bodily trial was annexed as a penalty to an act of rebellion against God; and when that act of rebellion was repented of the act was cancelled.
(1.) Thus Zacharias offended against God by the expression of unbelief in the promise of the angel; the penalty of speechlessness was immediately annexed to his crime.
(2.) The children of Israel rebelled against God by their constant desire to return to Egypt, their unwillingness to yield to the law of Sinai, which imposed a new curb on their stubborn dispositions, and a reluctance to go up and conquer the holy land, where the sons of Anak dwelt. The constant wandering in the wilderness was their punishment.
(3.) It would be highly dangerous to us to attempt to apply this rule rigidly to our own case. We are seldom certain of the connection between the cause and effect in the case of our own troubles, and even, where we might be able, we should find it hard to say in what cases the removal of infirmity is equivalent to the statement of pardon. But to a certain degree we may apply this rule.
3. But there are other conditions which we may take, as in some degree equivalent to a pronounced pardon. When a sin has bound us in its chains, and we lamenting over its dominion use every effort to subdue it and at last succeed, and form the contrary habit, we may naturally hope that that sin is forgiven. When we remain tied and bound by the chain of our sins in spite of every effort to overcome them, we may take for granted that He, Whose grace is all-sufficient, refuses on account of some lurking impenitence to grant the pardon. There is some goodly Babylonish garment hidden in the heart, and till that is given up the dark citadel will not yield. The moment the surrender is entire, God’s hand will free the captive, and the stronger man will enter the strong man’s house, take his spoils and the armour wherein he trusted. There are times when strong inward persuasions, feelings of inward joy, the witness of the Spirit may be indications of God’s forgiveness. When these feelings are permanent, real, and healthy, we may fairly argue that they can proceed from no other source than the blessed Spirit of God.
4. We must consider the result of pardon on the penitent.
(1.) An intense, earnest, cheerful desire to follow God for the future would be the first impulse of the pardoned sinner. When the man of Gadara was released from Legion, his first impulse was to sit for ever at Jesu’s feet. When Mary’s pardon had prooeeded from the lips of Him Who never fails, wherever He was, there was she; at the cross, over against the sepulchre, and in the garden on Easter morning. When the blind man of Jericho received his sight from our Blessed Lord, his first impulse was to forsake every worldly consideration and follow Christ. The first impulse of the prodigal, under the hope of possible forgiveness from an offended father, was to work for the remainder of his life cheer, fully as a hired servant. When David had been assured of the forgiveness of God for his sin, his first impulse was to take, with the utmost patience, his punishment, and to rise up cheerfully to go about his religious and his secular duties.
(2.) Another result of the consciousness of forgiveness is the definiteness of a new beginning of a heavenly life. When a dreary past lies behind us, to which there is no definite end, a long waste of hazy night, an unascertained morning with no clear sunbeams to mark the border-land, we lack spirit and energy in our religious oourse. When the brilliance of that morning light wholly eclipses the night past, we travel on like new beginners, briskly, and clearly and energetically.
(3.) A third result whioh arises from the pardoned state is the power to cast off the chains of a now past captivity. The mere consciousness of a sin clinging to us, because unpardoned, gives a continual sense of inconsistenoy, a constant dread lest tha labour we are spending should be in vain.
(4.) The pardoned condition enables us to realise with a full and vivid power the objects both of faith and hope. These considerations with respect to tho pardoned state should lead us to all the lawful investigation which we may follow of what are the trustworthy tokens of that condition; and while we should never rest satisfied for one moment with remaining on the border-land between doubtful and ascertained duty, we should surely also strive to ascertain as closely as we can the real nature and power of absolution committed to the Church. (B. Monro.)
David forgiven; a source of comfort to sinners:—
I. Heavy afflictions are no signs of an unpardoned condition. There are times, perhaps, when we find it difficult to believe this truth. A light and short affliction seldom much depresses us, for we can easily reconcile it with a Father’s faithfulness; but when succeeds blow to blow, when our troubles are peculiar, and long-continued, and harrowing, our hearts begin to fail us. We are tempted to think that a gracious God never can love the creatures whom He so sorely wounds. We could not so afflict our children; we are ready to conclude, therefore, that were we the children of a Heavenly Father, He would not so afflict us: our once peaceful assurance of His pardoning mercy gives way, and is succeeded by perplexity and doubt. Turn to the experience of David. It tells us as plainly as the most comfortless affliction can tell us that a want of spiritual consolation under calamities is no evidence of an unpardoned state. It is true the Gospel teaches us to expect special consolations in special sufferings. It is true also that the hour of affliction has oftentimes proved the happiest, though at the time the afflicted Christian has thought himself utterly forsaken. The feelings of mankind under afflictions have been as various as their afflictions themselves. An accusing conscience is not the scourge of an angry God: it is not the mark of His wrath. But an accusing conscience is a mark of nothing but this, that we are sinners, and that sin is a more evil and bitter thing than we once thought it.
II. A painful sense of inward corruption is not inconsistent with pardoning mercy. If there is any one lust which, day by day and year after year, leads us captive; any ungodly practice in which we habitually indulge; if the sin which is our fear is at the same time our delight, ever committed with greediness, though sometimes repented of with anguish, the written testimony of God declares that we have no more reason to regard ourselves forgiven than a dying man has to think himself in health. But if sin is opposed, as well as felt; if through the Spirit the base passions of our nature are habitually overcome; if sin causes grief and abhorrence in our souls as well as terror; then, my brethren, we may be assured that God, who is ever waiting to be gracious, will accept of our imperfect services, He will hear our prayers and bless us for Christ’s sake. Lessons:
1. It points out to us the persons to whom the ministers of the Gospel are to speak peace.
2. The text holds out to the sinner the greatest encouragement not to despair, if he is truly sorry for his sins, and intends by God’s help to walk in newness of life. (A. J. Wolff, D.D.)
Ver. 13.—I have sinned against Jehovah. Saul had used the same words, and had meant very little by them; nor had he added “against Jehovah,” because his purpose was to appease Samuel, and prevail upon him not to disgrace him before the people. David’s confession came from the heart. There is no excuse-making, no attempt at lessening his fault, no desire to evade punishment. Ps. 51. is the lasting testimony, not only to the reality, but to the tenderness of his repentance, and we may even feel here that confession was to him a relief. The deep internal wound was at length disclosed, and healing had become possible. Up to this time he had shut God away from his heart, and so there had been no remedy for a soul diseased. It was because his sorrow was genuine that comfort was not delayed. Jehovah also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Now, death was the legal penalty for adultery (Lev. 20:10), and though it might not be easy to exact it of a king, yet, until it was remitted, David would be in the eyes of all “a son of death” (see on ver. 5); and how could he administer justice to others while the death-sentence for a capital crime was hanging over himself? Had not the prophet been authorized to use his dispensing power as the mouthpiece of Jehovah, David could not have remained king. And we can see no reason for supposing, with Ewald and others, that a substantial interval of time elapsed between David’s confession and Nathan’s absolution. The sole conceivable reason for such a view would be the supposition that David’s repentance began and was completed with the one stab of shame which pierced through him when he heard Nathan’s sudden reproach. Such a mere thrill, following upon such persistent callousness, would have merited little attention. But if months of brooding sorrow and secret shame had been humbling David, then his open confession was the proof that the Spirit’s work had reached the goal, and was now complete. And we gather from Ps. 51:3 that such was the case. “My sin,” he says, “is ever before me.” It had long haunted him; had long occupied his thoughts by day, and broken his rest at night. Like a flood, his iniquities had gone over his head, and threatened to drown him; like a heavy burden, they had pressed upon him so as to break him down (Ps. 38:4). Both these psalms tell of long-continued sorrow of heart; but with confession had come relief. He had offered to God the sacrifice of a broken spirit, and knew that it had not been despised. We shall see subsequently that his time and attention had been much occupied with the Ammonite war, and this had probably helped him in evading the secret pleadings of his own conscience.
12:13I have sinned against the Lord. On the one hand, David’s confession of his guilt places him in bad company. In the Former Prophets to this point, the only individuals to say the words “I have sinned” are Saul (1 Sam. 15:24, 30; 26:21) and Achan (Josh. 7:20). On an earlier occasion David was able to say to Saul, “I have not sinned” (1 Sam. 24:11), but he cannot claim innocence now. On the other hand, his confession of his guilt, without any attempt to deny wrongdoing or to justify his actions, sets him apart from his predecessor (1 Sam. 13:11–12; 15:13–25).
The Lord has taken away your sin. In this case, divine forgiveness does not entail a dismissal of charges or an elimination of all consequences. It simply means a reduced sentence: David’s life will be preserved. But there will still be severe consequences. In addition to those already outlined (vv. 10–12), the baby born to David and Bathsheba will die (v. 14).
David repents and the Lord forgives (v. 13; Ps. 51; 32)
David’s response to Nathan’s rebuke stands in stark contrast to the proud self-centered response of former King Saul after he was rebuked by Samuel (1 Sam. 15). Many people show worldly sorrow when they are caught in a great sin, but true repentance is rare, especially among powerful men and women (2 Cor. 7:10–11). David’s psalms of repentance demonstrate that his heart was truly broken because of his sin (Ps. 32; 51).
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that you are justified when You speak
And blameless when you judge …
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:4, 9–10
After David’s confession, the Lord, through Nathan, pronounces forgiveness (v. 13b). Though the Law demands that David die for his crimes (Lev. 20:10; 24:17; Deut. 22:22), his life is spared and his kingdom is not taken away. The New Testament, quoting from Psalm 32, tells us that David’s guilt was removed by means of faith which looked ahead to the atoning work of Christ (Rom. 4:5–8). God is very gracious toward repentant sinners (Isa. 1:18; Ps. 32:5; 103:10–12).
13 Unlike Saul who in 1 Sam. 15:24 said simply I have sinned! David confesses his sin against the Lord (ḥāṭāʾtî leYHWH). The 1 c.s. pf. ḥāṭāʾtî is a performative perfect, denoting “I am a sinner because I have sinned,” rather than “I sinned” or “I have sinned.” David is saying “I stand convinced of my sin against the Lord.” When a sinner confesses it is important for him to state against whom he has sinned. And his confession cannot be complete until he accepts that his sin is ultimately against the Lord and his commandments (see Ps. 51:4).
A sin must be atoned for by someone. Hence, Nathan’s word The Lord also has taken away your sin (lit. “to cause your sin to pass over”) implies that David’s sin will be atoned for by the Lord himself. The perfect verb here is also to be taken as performative with Muraoka, that is, that Nathan’s words are the means by which David is absolved of his sin. McCarter translates “the Lord transferred your sin.”644 REB even paraphrases: “The Lord has laid on another the consequences of your sin.” Certainly, David, the Lord’s anointed, does not die now (see Lev. 20:10), for his sin was transferred to another person, his son. Hence, Nathan assures David with the promise: you shall not die. Yet, he has to face the consequences of his sin: that the child who had just been born would die.
 Bergen, R. D. (2017). 2 Samuel. In T. Cabal (Ed.), CSB Apologetics Study Bible (p. 378). Holman Bible Publishers.
God has given us many amazing promises in His Word. Yet, though we are assured of His steadfast love (Romans 8:38-39), provision (2 Corinthians 9:8), and guidance (Proverbs 16:9), He has not promised us an easy, trouble-free life. What we can count on, however, is that the Lord will work everything—including adversity—for our good (Romans 8:28).
Long before Paul wrote this word of encouragement to the church at Rome, Joseph learned the same principle by experiencing its truth. His affirmation of it, however, came several years after his unfair suffering had ended. In the midst of his difficulties, it’s doubtful that he understood what God was doing in his life.
The same is true for us. When our hearts and minds are agitated because of turbulent events, it’s hard not to stare at circumstances in horror or confusion. But we must decide to believe what the Bible says about God’s character, activity, and purposes. That choice forces our attention off the storm and onto the One responsible for ushering us safely through.
In His presence, fears dwindle and doubts dissolve; peace and a sense of oneness with the Lord will take their place. Our responsibility is to keep our eyes on God and trust His Holy Spirit to provide strength, wisdom, and courage.
Turning to the Lord will not necessarily bring an end to the hardship, but He will help us see that we are exactly where He wants us. He has a reason for the discomfort and desires that we grow in Christ through it. Whatever the situation, the safest place in the world is the center of His will.
Speaking the word of God to storms instead of reacting to them causes a shift to happen.
From almost every corner of the globe, we see ragging storms laced in different shapes, colours and sizes. Terrorism, pandemic, poor governance, famine, addiction to drugs, terminal illnesses – name it.
These challenges have turned into storms in most people’s lives both at the global and personal levels. Leaving them with no choice but brace an attitude of reaction to their challenges.
No, you do not react to storms, you speak to them!
This example we should cull from our Lord Jesus because He spoke to every single storm that was brought to Him.
To the lame He said, Rise up and walk. (John 5:8)
To the blind, He said, open your eyes and see. (Mark 10:51.52)
To the dead, He said, arise and live. (Mark 5:41)
To the wind, He said, Peace Be Still. (Mark 4:39)
Reacting to storms – crying, frustrated, depressed, transferring aggression, drinking alcohol, snapping at kids, leaves the child of God defeated, helpless and weak.
Speaking the word of God to storms instead of reacting to them causes a shift to happen. That shift stirs up the spirit and builds hope. It removes the eyes from a physical fact to a supernatural Truth.
Its time to arise and speak to that storm you are experiencing:
I know that my redeemer lives!
By the stripes of Jesus, I am healed.
I dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the almighty.
Though the world gets darker, my life will continue to shine brighter.
In Christ, I am a winner, Through Jesus, I overcome.
Beloved, your mouth is your spiritual weapon, Use it today. Use it always.
After Eli’s words to her, Hannah went home in peace, and even as she had anticipated, she had a son. Her husband was well-nigh as pleased as she, and agreed with her that her vow should be kept, the child should be devoted even from infancy to the service of the Lord. They called his name Samuel, which means, besought from the Lord.
There is an old rabbinical tradition that just before Samuel’s birth a prophecy had declared that a child of that name should be a mighty man of God, and that therefore all mothers were naming their sons Samuel, but that the priests rejected them all until the true Samuel came. Him they recognized at once. Of this however the Bible says nothing. It only tells of the boy being nurtured at home by his pure-hearted mother until he was three years old. Then, following her vow, she brought him to Shiloh and presented him to Eli. The aged priest could scarce believe that this joyous looking woman was indeed the miserable wretch he had formerly rebuked; but at length, convinced of her identity, he recollected his vaguely uttered prophecy, and accepted the child as a gift to the Lord.
David Fiorazo & JB Hixson discuss why doctrine matters, why many churches minimize doctrine, and what happened historically to lead to the gradual falling away. We also touch on the push to criminalize Christianity, particularly biblical sexuality, and enforce “hate speech” policy.
Dr. J. B. Hixson pastor of Plum Creek Chapel in Sedalia, Colorado. He is the author of nine books, and is recognized for his expertise in the areas of Systematic Theology, Bible Prophecy, Evangelism, Discipleship, and Hermeneutics.
Fourth School Accused of Secretly Helping Children Turn Transgender When Bonnie Manchester was told by school administrators to call a female student by “his new gender name” and not to tell the girl’s parents about it, that was the last straw for the Ludlow, Massachusetts, school teacher. “I did what any teacher would and should do, I told the parents,” Manchester said.
South Africa: Former Chief Justice Told to Apologize for Pro-Israel Sentiment Mogoeng Mogoeng is a greatly respected jurist in South Africa, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court until he retired in October 2021. But now he is in hot water, for what is apparently an unpardonable sin. In an online seminar in 2020, he dared to defend Israel, criticizing the South African government for its implacable hostility toward the Jewish state.
CNN In Meltdown Mode Over Biden-Ukraine Phone Call Fiasco CNN journos doing damage control after the network’s Natasha Bertrand panicked and deleted tweets containing harsh comments reportedly made by President Biden to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky – namely that a Russian invasion was “imminent,” that the Capital city of Kyiv could be “sacked,” and to “prepare for impact.”
The telephone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenensky on Thursday was said to have not “gone well,” according to a senior Ukrainian official. The official said Zelensky urged Biden to “calm down the messaging” on the situation in Ukraine and that Ukrainian intelligence did not see a Russian threat the same way the U.S. did, according to a report on CNN. It is “dangerous but ambiguous,” the official quoted Zelensky as telling Biden, and that “it is not certain that an attack will take place.”
At a news conference on Friday, Zelensky said: “They keep supporting this theme, this topic. And they make it as acute and burning as possible. In my opinion, this is a mistake.” He added: “If you look only at the satellites you will see the increase in troops and you can’t assess whether this is just a threat of attack or just a simple rotation.”
Zelensky also spoke about the resumption of diplomatic talks in Paris in the Normandy Format with Germany and France in which the Minsk Accords are to be implemented. The 2015 accords would end the war between Kiev and two breakaway eastern provinces that opposed the 2014 U.S. backed coup that overthrew a democratically elected president that leaned towards Moscow. The provinces would be given autonomy from Kiev. Zelensky said he hoped that the ceasefire in the east would hold.
This is almost the exact opposite of what the U.S. and its loyal media are blaring everyday. In the call, Biden raised the temperature, decisively saying that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was coming. “Biden warned his Ukrainian counterpart that a Russian attack may be imminent, saying that an invasion was now virtually certain, once the ground had frozen later in February, according to the official,” the CNN report said.
War fever has clearly gripped Washington. Emily Horne, a U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman, “disputed the senior Ukrainian official’s description of the call” according to the network. “Anonymous sources are ‘leaking’ falsehoods,” she was quoted as saying. “President Biden said that there is a distinct possibility that the Russians could invade Ukraine in February. He has said this publicly and we have been warning about this for months. Reports of anything more or different than that are completely false.” This was before Zelensky repeated the same sentiments on Friday.
But Zelensky is not the first first Ukrainian leader to deny that there is a serious threat from Moscow. The New York Times reported on Tuesday:
“Ukraine’s defense minister has asserted that there had been no change in the Russian forces compared with a buildup in the spring; the head of the national security council accused some Western countries and news media outlets of overstating the danger for geopolitical purposes; and a Foreign Ministry spokesman took a swipe at the United States and Britain for pulling the families of diplomats from their embassies in Kyiv, saying they had acted prematurely.”
The line from Washington, funneled through the U.S. corporate media, is that America understands Ukraine better than Ukrainian officials do. The reason Ukrainians are pushing back against the U.S. hysteria, “analysts” are “guessing,” is to “keep the Ukrainian markets stable, prevent panic and avoid provoking Moscow, while others attribute it to the country’s uneasy acceptance that conflict with Russia is part of Ukraine’s daily existence,” as the Times reported.
It couldn’t possibly be because there’s not the threat the Americans say there is.
The war fever is clouding the minds of the U.S. national security state and its loyal media. And, as always, arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics stand to benefit.
The angry response from the NSC spokeswoman reveals how official Washington is reacting to doubts about the war hysteria, even if it comes from the president of the supposedly targeted country.
European Doubts Too
Ukraine is not the only country that is not as gung-ho for war as America. Germany has refused to ship its weapons to Ukraine. “Weapons deliveries would not be helpful at the moment – that is the consensus within the government,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said last week.
Last Saturday, Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, the head of the German navy, resigned after saying talk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “nonsense” and that Russia was merely seeking “respect” for its security concerns in Europe. German business with extensive commercial ties to Russia, has long bridled under pressure from Washington to put German sanctions on their trading partner.
Germany’s stance has freaked out strident Atlanticists, such as the think tank Carnegie Europe, which yesterday said, “If Berlin does not adopt a bolder, unambiguous stance toward Russia, it will undermine the West’s deterrence efforts.”
You guys aren’t making a big enough deal of this weird dynamic that American leaders are more worried than Ukrainian leaders of Russia invading Ukraine. This needs to be explained.
The U.S. State Department took the extraordinarily bold step on Thursday of dictating to Germany that the U.S. would shut down the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany — a commercial project that has nothing to do with the U.S. — if Russia invades.
“I want to be very clear: if Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward,” U.S. state department spokesman Ned Price told NPR. But even the BBC had to say: “Questions remain over whether the US would have the power to cancel the project.” By no coincidence, the U.S. this week said it was organizing much more expensive liquified natural gas shipments, from the U.S. and other parts of the world, if a war caused Russia to turn off its gas pipelines to Europe.
For its efforts to undermine Russia and even for naked commercial interests, the U.S. seems to be willing, even begging, Russia to invade.
In an address to the European Parliament last week, French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to show Russia the kind of respect Schönbach was talking about. He said:
“Europe needs to build a collective security order on our continent. Our continent’s security requires a strategic reinforcement of our Europe as a power of peace, a balancing power, particularly in its dialogue with Russia. I have been advocating this dialogue for several years. It is not optional, for our history and our geography are stubborn, both for ourselves and for Russia. For security in our continent, which is indivisible. We need this dialogue…. What we need to build is a European order founded on principles and rules to which we have committed, and which we established not against or without Russia, but with Russia.”
Despite Macron’s words, France has agreed to send a contingent of its NATO soldiers to Eastern Europe, along with Denmark, Spain, and the Netherlands.
As is often the case, Europe is torn between its own interests and those being dictated by Washington, resulting in an ambiguous policy. There are few examples of Europe risking America’s ire, even for its own benefit.
Refusing to cooperate with the U.S. on Ukraine would signal a European defiance of the United States such as Charles de Gaulle pulling France out of NATO in 1966 to preserve French independence.
The last time European governments broke with Washington on a major issue was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Then France and Germany joined Russia on the U.N. Security Council in blocking the war’s authorization (although Britain supported it). But France and Germany then voted for a resolution several months later that essentially condoned the invasion.
The dissension by the German admiral and the French president to the U.S. position exposes the war propaganda being stirred up daily over Ukraine as a mostly Anglo-Saxon affair. Britain has begun playing an increasing role with the United States in preparing its populations for war, reminiscent of the lead-up to the 2003 U.S-U.K. invasion of Iraq.
Last Saturday, the British Foreign Office, without providing any evidence at all, said Russia is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.” This week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said an invasion would become “a painful, violent and bloody business” for Russia.
The Ukrainian people already installed a pro-Russian leader through the ballot box, Viktor Yanukovych. He was overthrown in an actual U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014, leading to the continuing crisis. Evidence for the Kiev coup came in the form of a leaked telephone call between then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in which they discussed who the new Ukrainian leader would be, weeks before the coup happened.
Britain is going further, spreading alarm that the Ukraine standoff can lead to a world war. Liz Truss, the British foreign secretary, traveled as far as Australia to raise fears that China might join the war by attacking Taiwan if Russia “invaded” Ukraine.
An interview she gave to The Sydney Morning Herald, under the headline: “Aggressors working together: UK’s Truss warns China could follow Russia into war,” began:
“China could use a Russian invasion of Ukraine as an opportunity to launch aggression of its own in the Indo-Pacific, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has warned. ‘I don’t think we can rule that out,” Ms Truss said. … “Russia is working more closely with China than it ever has. Aggressors are working in concert and I think it’s incumbent on countries like ours to work together.’”
The United States and Britain are trying to save a nation that says it does not need saving at the moment. And it is only Washington and London that have fully spun this story of war and are ready to bully anyone of consequence who challenges it.
The seeds of the current crisis were sown several decades ago, when Washington decided to double-deal with Moscow
The current and rapidly escalating tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine have dominated international headlines and moved stock markets in recent weeks. In reality, they have their roots in a series of NATO actions and omissions following the demise of the Soviet Union in 1989/91. On the Russian side, there is a widespread perception that Moscow was misled by both Washington and NATO, a pervasive malaise about a breach of trust, and a violation of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ on fundamental issues of national security.
While the US protests that it never gave assurances to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand eastwards, declassified documents prove otherwise. But even in the absence of declassified documents and contemporary statements by political leaders in 1989/91, including Secretary of State James Baker and German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (which can be confirmed on YouTube), it is all too obvious that there is a festering wound caused by NATO’s eastward expansion over the past 30 years, which has undoubtedly negatively impacted Russia’s sense of security. No country likes to be encircled, and common sense should tell us that maybe we should not be provoking another nuclear power. At the very least, NATO’s provocations are unwise; at worst, they could spell apocalypse.
We in the West play innocent, and retreat into ‘positivism’, asserting that there was no signed treaty commitment, that the assurances were not written in stone. Yet realpolitik tells us that if one side breaks its word or is perceived as having double-crossed the other, if it acts in a manner contrary to the spirit of an agreement and to the overriding principle of good faith (bona fide), there will be political consequences.
It seems, however, that we in the West have become so used to what I would call a ‘culture of cheating’, that we react in a surprised fashion when another country does not simply accept that we cheated them in the past, and that, notwithstanding this breach of trust, they should accept the ‘new normal’ and resume ‘business as usual’ as if nothing had happened. Our leaders in the US, UK and EU contend that they have a clean conscience and refuse to consider the fact that the other side does feel uncomfortable about having been taken for a ride. A rational person, a fortiori a statesman, would pause and try to defuse the ‘misunderstanding’. Yet the US culture of cheating has become so second nature to us that we do not even realise when we are cheating someone else, and we seem incapable of understanding that denying our actions and reneging on our words adds insult to injury.
The culture of cheating is in the family of the doctrine of ‘exceptionalism’. We self-righteously claim the right to cheat others, but do not accept that others can cheat us. Quod licet Iovi non licet bovi (that which Jupiter can do is not permitted for the bovines). This constitutes a kind of predator behaviour that neither religion nor civilisation has succeeded in eradicating. We mount false-flag operations and accuse the other side of the same. The CIA and M15 have been caught red-handed on so many occasions, yet no one seems to be asking whether, in the long run, such conduct is counter-productive, whether our credibility is shot.
Perhaps one explanation for this kind of behaviour is that we have elevated the culture of cheating to a kind of secular virtue – equivalent to cunning, daring and boldness. It is seen as a positive attribute when a leader is ‘craftier’ and ‘sneakier’ than his/her rival. The name of the game is to score points in an atmosphere of perpetual competition where there are no rules. Our geopolitical competitors are just that – rivals – and there is no interest whatsoever in fraternising with adversaries. Co-operation is somehow perceived as ‘weak’, as ‘un-American’. ‘Dirty tricks’ are not seen as dishonest but as clever, even patriotic, because they are intended to advance the economic and political interests of our country. In a way, ‘dirty tricks’ are perceived in a positive light, as artful, ingenious, adventurous, even visionary. This curious approach to reality is facilitated by a compliant and complicit corporate media that does not call our bluff and, instead, disseminates ‘fake news’ and suppresses dissenting views. Unless an individual has the presence of mind to do his/her own research and to access other sources of information, he/she is caught in the propaganda web.
The US government has practised this culture of cheating in its international relations for over 200 years, particularly in its dealings with the First Nations of the continent, who were lied to over and over, and whose lands and resources were shamelessly stolen. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in ‘Why We Can’t Wait’, “Our nation was born in genocide”. How many ‘Indian’ treaties were broken, again and again? And when the Sioux, Cree and Navajo protested, we massacred them. See the studies of the United Nations’ Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. This ‘culture of cheating’ is documented countless times in connection with the Monroe Doctrine and US relations with Mexico, Latin America, Hawaii, the Philippines and so on.
One of the elements that is totally missing from the Ukraine debate is the right of self-determination of peoples. Undoubtedly the Russians in Ukraine are not just a minority, but constitute a ‘people’, and, as such, the Russians in Donetsk, Lugansk and Crimea possess the right of self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter and in Article 1 common to the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Until the deliberately anti-Russian coup d’état of February 2014, the Ukrainians and Russian-Ukrainians had lived side by side in relative harmony. The Maidan brought with it Russophobic elements that have since been exacerbated by systematic war propaganda and incitement to hatred, both of which are prohibited by Article 20 of the ICCPR. Thus, it is not certain whether the Russians in the Donbass feel safe enough to want to continue living with Ukrainians who have been and are being incited to hate them. Back in March and June 1994, I monitored the parliamentary and presidential elections in Ukraine as a representative of the UN Secretary-General. I travelled around the country. There was no doubt that the Russian speakers had a profound sense of Russian identity.
There would be no conflict in Ukraine today – although both Kiev and Moscow deny an invasion is imminent – if Barack Obama, Under Secretary of State for Political AffairsVictoria Nuland and several European leaders had not destabilised the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovich and organised a vulgar coup to install Western puppets. Bottom line: Western interference in the internal affairs of other states can backfire, and the culture of cheating and deceit that we continue to practise renders it impossible to reach sustainable solutions. The UN Charter, the only mandate underpinning the existing ‘rules-based international order’, has the necessary mechanisms to resolve our differences on the basis of the principles of sovereign equality of states and the self-determination of peoples.
Confrontations between police and anti-COVID restriction protesters led to the detention of several who had gathered in the Austrian capital Vienna on Saturday to demonstrate against the compulsory vaccination law.