What elevates man above the animals? Some would say, “Intellect, superior intellect is what elevates man above the animals.” A pretty good answer, on a surface level basis, but incorrect. Man is above the animals because God created man, and not the animals, in God’s own image, and He subsequently put the animals under the dominion of man (Gen. 1:26-28; 5:1; 9:1-2).
After the battles to conquer the promised land had been fought and won, Joshua gathered the people of Israel together at Shechem and addressed them (Josh. 24:1-2). During his discourse to them he admonished, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). Joshua could have worded it differently: “make a choice,” “make up your mind,” “ make a commitment,” “take a stand…” Whatever the expression, his point to them was simple. They had to “choose.”
God is holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8). Somebody might respond, “Well yeah, of course!” Holiness is such a fundamental aspect of God’s nature that it almost goes without saying. While a great deal is said about God’s holiness in scripture, many people may not think about it much. They like to think about God being loving and good and merciful and kind and full of grace. But thinking too much about holiness can make a person a bit uncomfortable.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). With that admonition in mind, how’s the fight going? The devil’s our adversary, our opponent (1 Pet. 5:8). Is he pummeling you? Are you standing your ground? Are you defending yourself, hitting back? Has he knocked you through the ropes? Did you get back up? Are you down for the count?
The date July 4th holds special significance to our nation. It marks the date, in 1776, on which the founding fathers signed the Declaration Of Independence, declaring our independence from England and our determination to be a free and sovereign nation. Accordingly, we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day.
Gary L. Hutchens