The cause of the fall of many men (and women), kingdoms, governments, religious leaders and influential role models alike; throughout time and not confined to one race, culture, company or denomination. What is this deadly sin? Pride.
Proverbs 16:18 is the verse that is most often quoted by those who profess to be Christians or otherwise. Pride goeth before destriction… Pride goes before a fall… But there is so much more that goes unnoticed or ignored which then causes us to enact the same sin that we as God’s people must avoid if we are to remain upright and righteous.
I would like to point out the obvious before all else, since it has already been seen my so many people. The religious leaders that begin to think themselves “untouchable” as the “man/woman of God” are the first to fall. As they rise to fame and fortune, the “yes-men” swarm and the “spiritual-children” multiply and yet it begins with small indiscretions that are “covered” by the people around them and go unchecked by the people closed to them.
On a side note I would like to say, there is a definite difference between “covering” someone in prayer and intercession and covering up for someone so that their deeds go hidden and unchecked! We as children of God, MUST keep leaders accountable. Repentance is a must as a leader and we must be the first ones to remain humble enough to accept that we will say, publicly, “I’m sorry” the most out of all the people in the church.
We've seen this happen recently, and there’s no point keeping names hidden by now, with the outing of Eddie Long, and even all the way back to the scandal in the 80’s with Jimmy Swaggart, to the small local leaders content to stay low-key while having affairs with both men and women, stealing, cheating, and lying. However, when all of this comes to light, as it always will, the followers are so surprised!
Isaiah 29:15 “Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord, And their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
Luke 8:17 “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”
Who is to blame? All of us. There is a threefold answer to this staggering pandemic.
1. Repent! People of God, we must repent, cry out to God to forgive us and restore us. Even the remnant that stands firm must begin to cry out to God. It’s not about us any way! It’s all about Him and His glory! There is a bigger picture that is damaged every time we neglect this simple act of humility. We stand and blame everyone else for problems that are growing bigger and bigger, yet all the while, there are hurting, dying people waiting to see compassion, hear a Rhema word from God and cry out “what must I do to be saved?” We must be in alignment so that they can see the God in us! Lamentations 2:19 “19 “Arise, cry out in the night, At the beginning of the watches; Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children, who faint from hunger at the head of every street.”
Joel 1:14-15 “Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord. 15Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand; It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.”
2. Be Accountable to God. The Bible set out order for keeping ourselves accountable. Think of it this way. If we are associated with the sin we will be associated with the punishment as well. I for one do not want my destiny to be tripped up by the sin of someone else. The best example of this is in Joshua 7, when the people of God were given specific instructions to destroy the enemy and don’t keep anything! Achan hid clothes and money in his tent. One man’s disobedience cost him and his family their lives as well as many others who died in battle because God will not grant victory without purity and obedience! Did anyone hold Achan accountable? There had to be people in his household who could have kept him accountable and in order? The Bible doesn't say, someone had him come forward and repent…it says they killed him and his family for the sin.
As a family, we are all responsible for the deeds done among us. Jesus set forth specific instructions for keeping each other accountable to God, in Matthew 18:15-17. “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. 16If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. 17If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.”
It is less painful to keep ourselves accountable and move on than to put forth a “cover-up” and wait for God to deal with us later…and I promise you, He will!
3. Cover, Not Cover-Up, the Man/Woman of God. Noah was a righteous man of God, whom God saw fit to save from total annihilation! Even this man of God had flaws. In Genesis 9, the Bible describes how his sons covered him in an instance of shame. This story intrigued me as I studied the actions of Shem, Ham, and Japheth (the sons). When Noah was passed out naked and drunk in his tent, Ham found him. Instead of stopping the indecency, sin and shame, he left his father there and ran off to tell his brothers.
I want to stop right there for just a moment. Isn’t that what a lot of us do in the church? We would rather go gossip about sister Blue Bird or Elder Gray Goose than go and deal with the problem head on. Why? Because we think that it will make ourselves look more holy and righteous? We can’t be a hero and upright unless everyone sees us save the day? For whatever reason, we allow the indecency and shame to continue for the sake of another good story!
Back to the story. When Shem and Japheth heard this, they took a cloak (Genesis 9:23) and, out of respect for their father, walked into the tent backwards with the cloak over their shoulders, and covered Noah’s nakedness and did not look upon his disgrace. This was not a “cover-up” as I originally assumed when I first read the story. A “cover-up” allows the sin to continue as Ham did. The “cover-up” looks to see how they can benefit from keeping the sin alive. To cover someone is to acknowledge that we are all human but the sin must cease if God is to be glorified. Since Noah was chosen by God to do his will, we can safely say, he was anointed. 1 Chronicles 16:22 says “…Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” They were obedient to God in covering the anointed man of God while killing the active sin! That is completely awesome to me!
People of God, there are anointed men and women called to serve, but they are not being covered in the way that we as followers are called to cover them. Where are the watchmen, the gatekeepers, the prayer warriors and intercessors that will stand in the gap or on the post and declare that “No weapon formed against us will prosper!” (Isaiah 54:17) We must plead the blood of Jesus over them, their families (Yes, satan will get in any way he can. Front door, back door, window, or even a leaky ceiling!) Let’s be the Army of God that we have been called to be and start protecting our generals, commanders, and leaders serving in the front lines of battle. No more shooting our wounded, but picking them up in love and helping them heal so they can fight the enemy alongside us once more!