Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Exodus 32; 1 Kings 13:1-34; Daniel 5:13-17; Luke 16:31; John 15:24; 2 Timothy 4:3.
Julian Assange is in hot water. The leader of the activist organization called “WikiLeaks” released thousands of confidential diplomatic documents last week from the U.S. State Department that has angered government officials. President Barkak Obama calls it a criminal act that endangers innocent people. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced “that a review is now underway to tighten up security to prevent a future breach.” 1
“I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information,” Clinton said in her first public remarks since WikiLeaks released more than 250,000 State Department cables … which were meant to be private communications.
“The cables, which range from mundane details related to diplomatic dealings to snarky commentary on world leaders, have reignited the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks. The website says it is dedicated to government transparency, but it has been accused by the U.S. government of placing troops and civilians in danger. WikiLeaks has already released a large number of classified U.S. military documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Bradley Manning, an Army private, is in military custody in Quantico, Virginia for apparently assisting a hacker in accessing the information to WikiLeaks.2
Who is Julian Assange? Forbes magazine interviewed him and stated, “Admire him or revile him, Julian Assange is the prophet of a coming age of involuntary transparency for government—and business.” A quick Google Search reveals he is “a man on the run”, “is seeking asylum in Switzerland,” “is a mystery hacker,” and “walked out on a CNN interview.” One site claims WikiLeaks as a “terrorist organization.” Being a whistleblower turns up a lot of heat and dust.
In our Sabbath school lesson this week we look at a strange story about a “man of God” who also is a whistleblower. God gives this unknown prophet information about King Jeroboam leading Israelites astray into false worship. The king is not happy when the information is leaked out in front of all Israel during an inauguration ceremony. When the prophet from Judah confronts the king, Jeroboam points a finger at him and the king’s hand immediately shrivels. The altar also splits in half. Somehow it all comes back together when the king begs forgiveness and invites the man of God home to assuage him. The unknown prophet is not for sale and sticks with his mission and leaves.
Unfortunately, another prophet hears about this man of God from Judah and before the man of God gets very far down the road, he is invited to the older prophet’s home for dinner. Part of the message from God to this unknown prophet from Judah is to go straight home and not eat or drink. But he believes the lie of this older prophet and on the way home dies at the paw of a lion. It’s a strange story, but it makes one thing clear. Obedience is risky business. Releasing information about a political leader that threatens his kingdom can put you in hot water.
Forbes magazine describes Julian Assange as a prophet of government transparency. That’s the nature of the job—releasing information that is not always welcome. Mr. Assange believes he is doing the world a favor by exposing classified documents that reveal corruption. He tells Forbes that he is next going for big businesses.
Jeroboam tried to buy the prophet, but he wasn’t for sale (at least initially). Neither should we be bribed into changing our biblical convictions or beliefs, even if they run counter to our culture, occupations, political views, or even family ties. Obedience can be tough business. God takes obedience seriously. Just ask the unknown prophet. Just ask Julian.