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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Blooming dogwoods at Donegal Springs
Blooming Dogwoods at Donegal Springs

"The Peril Of Herd Mentality"

Message summary: "We want you to know, worldly system, that we will not serve your gods or worship the many false images you have set up. We must obey the one true God rather than men. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord!"

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“We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:18). "But Peter and the apostles answered, 'We must obey God rather than men'" (Acts 5:29). "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

During this coronavirus pandemic we are hearing some new medical concepts we don't recall hearing before including, "herd immunity". Now that sure doesn't sound very politically correct and we imagine someone's already probably been offended that we are likened to a herd!

Herd immunityHerd immunity happens when so many people in a community become immune to an infectious disease that it dramatically slows the disease. In regard to the current pandemic it is hoped that enough people contract the virus and become immune to it, and as a result are unable to pass it along, slowing the spread of the disease.

Last Saturday after we gave blood I was curious as to whether our blood would be tested for coronavirus antibodies, to see if we had already been exposed and thus have become a part of the herd. That would seem to me to make sense with all the testing they are doing but so far we have heard nothing in that regard.

Similar to this concept is an early childhood memory when my mom intentionally exposed my sister and me to Chickenpox. Apparently at that time it was considered best practice by mothers to have their children exposed and just get it over with, especially since it can have far more complications in adulthood. Now children are given a vaccine but I wonder if others may have a similar memory. As this site explains: "Chickenpox is one of those things you probably got as a kid—either spontaneously or after your parents deliberately exposed you at an early age. Why? Because chickenpox in adults is way worse." Early in our ministry we indeed had a grown man in our church who got chickenpox and it was quite an ordeal for him.

Herd mentality

Herd mentalityBut there's another phrase beginning with "herd" we all have probably heard of; "herd mentality". Herd mentality is the inclination for individuals within a group to follow along with what the group at large thinks or does. It's very similar to peer pressure. Wikipedia describes it, "Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually."

Herd mentality leads to herd morality when our understanding of right and wrong is not derived from personal convictions based on Scripture but rather whatever the crowd deems acceptable at the time. “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong” (Exodus 23:2).

No compromise album cover
The photo to the left is from one of our all-time favorite album covers; Keith Green’s "No Compromise". Set in an Old Testament period, the people are required to bow before the passing king. But one brave soul, true to his convictions, remains standing in obedient defiance while the "herd" bows in compliance. A soldier on a horse is pointing him out. We are left wondering what consequence he faced for doing the right thing in the eyes of the One True King (Exodus 20:3-6).

Today let’s consider three Bible characters who went against the herd mentality; the three Hebrews in our daily Bible verse who,
when given the choice between complying and bowing down to the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, or defying his orders and being thrown into a fiery furnace. The three Hebrews replied to King Nebuchadnezzar, "We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up" (Daniel 3:18). That's one of the greatest examples of principled defiance in the Bible.

But their defiance did lead them to the fiery furnace and it's the most dramatic part of the story that most are especially familiar with; their supernatural deliverance.

Following their miraculous deliverance from the fiery furnace Nebuchadnezzar gave them one of the highest commendations imaginable: "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued His servants! They trusted in Him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God" (Daniel 3:28).

There is an ancient and ongoing contest between two opposing worldviews; one that is raging to this day and will do so until the return of the Lord. In fact I expect it will get far more intense as God judges the compromising church. Let us determine that we will not succumb to herd mentality but will seek to please the Lord whatever the cost.

Let's paraphrase the defying statement of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and two other texts to make it more general for all types of defiance in all ages: "We want you to know, worldly system, that we will not serve your gods or worship the many false images you have set up. We must obey the one true God rather than men. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You have given us a free will to make our own choices; whether to live according to the ever-changing principles of this world or the unchanging principles of our Creator. That which comes from the world gratifies the desires of the flesh and brings only temporal satisfaction, but that which comes from the Creator gratifies our soul bringing eternal pleasures forevermore. Help us to choose wisely keeping the eternal perspective ever before us as we pledge our allegiance and make decisions in our temporal dwelling. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"No Compromise" (AKA "Make My Life a Prayer to You")  Video  Keith Green

"I Am Persuaded"  Video  Travis Cottrell  An outstanding song based on Romans 8:38-39.

"Glorious Day"  Video  Shadow Mountain Community Church  We attended a service at this church several years ago.

Duckling on Old Windmill Farm
Ester took this photo of Brooksyne holding a tiny duckling on the Old Windmill Farm. She's gently holding back its head so we could get a shot of its whole body including the web feet.  A duckling can be rejected by its mother when it is sick, injured or simply a late hatchling. Sadly, this duckling had not been lovingly cared for by its mother so the Lapp family is doing their best to keep it alive and growing healthy.

Duckling on Old Windmill Farm
Here's the close-up of the duck's head.

Canada Geese family near Donegal Creek
Canada Goose family near Donegal Creek last evening. We spotted two sets of goslings and one set of ducklings, but it sure is hard to get a good photo (they are very camera shy:).

Blooming dogwoods close-up
Blooming Dogwood

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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