Mr. Michael Peroutka: His Face Is Set
Isaiah wrote, “Therefore I have set my face like a flint” (Isa 50:7). The prophet is speaking of God’s Suffering Servant who has resolutely embarked upon an irreversible course. The New Testament says that our Lord “stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” to endure the cross (Luke 9:51). Scholars tell us that the phrase “set one’s face” is a Hebraism implying fixedness of purpose, especially in the face of difficulty or danger. I imagine this is the mindset of our brave sons and daughters in Iraq as they set out on a dangerous convoy through the Sunni Triangle.
As for Jesus, He had chosen to enter upon the path before Him—a path of humiliation, suffering, and death in order to accomplish the divine plan of salvation. He knew the time had come when, after His suffering and resurrection, He would again be taken up and reinstated in His former glory with the Father and vested with the new glory He had won as Son of Man.
This Saturday, fully aware of the path awaiting him, Mr. Michael Peroutka will announce his candidacy for President of the United States. The decision to run for public office was not an easy one for this soft-spoken man. In his statement of candidacy he notes:
To say that I did not feel qualified to take on such a massive task is to engage in gross understatement. After prayer and serious consideration, I am convinced that the question of my qualification and competence is not solely within my power to judge. The uniqueness of this undertaking and the special demands that it requires, make it necessary to rely upon the judgment, experience and counsel of men who have trod this path before me. In short, if men like Howard Phillips and Jim Clymer are convinced that I can adequately represent the Constitution Party in such a fashion, then I must weigh their opinion and their vision as well as my own knowledge of the task and of my own strengths and shortcomings. In light of these considerations, and despite previous misgivings, I believe God has given me this duty to perform.
Mr. Peroutka entertains no illusions that his path will be easy or “successful” in the world’s eyes. He is simply carrying out to the best of his ability the will of God as he understands it:
[T]here are at least two distinct tasks against which competency must be judged. One is the running of a legitimate and appropriate candidacy. The second is the serving in office in the event that God would grant the victory. About the first I know almost nothing except that it will be a challenge that will test my knowledge, patience, energy, and stamina. I expect to take punches and I need to do so with equanimity and maintain the course despite attacks and setbacks. I am committed to this. Regarding the second, I feel a little more qualified. Although I am not well-schooled on every important issue, I do feel that I have an overall grasp of what a Constitutional Republic of Sovereign States based on Biblical principles would look like and I think, with practice, I can express this clearly and concisely. Applying these principles to every question of current events in a rapid-fire interview with good sound bites may not be my forte but I think I could actually do the work of the office if God gave it to me to do. Moreover, I am confident that if He gave it to me He would give me the resources and the help to carry out His will for me.
What does this mean for you and me? As voters, we are now faced with a viable alternative to the two-party monopoly that dominates American politics. And, like Mr. Peroutka, it is time to make a choice. Pastor Mark Dankof put it this way in a recent email:
What are your other voting
options in the first Tuesday of November this fall? One will be a liberal
Democrat, quite clearly the reincarnation of another Dukakis candidacy.
The other will be Rockefeller Republican George W. Bush, who has given us
1) a Congressionally undeclared and preemptive foreign war in Iraq on the
basis of fraudulent claims and evidence; 2) a never-ending and disastrous
occupation of that country which continues to siphon billions of tax
dollars and American lives with no end in sight; 3) a Leviathan federal
budget of 2.3 trillion dollars with 500 billion dollar + deficits; 4) a
catastrophic immigration policy which has given blanket amnesty to an
additional 12 million illegal aliens in the United States; 5) a
continuation of America-Last trade policies as outlined in NAFTA and GATT,
designed to destroy the manufacturing base and sector of the American
economy; and 6) ongoing capitulations in the Culture War to the
anti-Christian, pro-abortion, and homosexual lobbies active within his own
A friend of mine recently asked me, “But I’ve never heard of Michael Peroutka. How in the world can a man without name recognition, personal connections, and access to resources be considered a viable candidate for president?” This is a legitimate question. But it has been answered by Mr. Howard Phillips, one of the founders of the Constitution Party. In an interview with Mark Dankof on World Net Daily, Mr. Phillips said this:
Christians, conservatives, Constitutionalists, will only be effective in politics when they begin with the standard, rather than beginning with the man. If you begin with the standard of God’s word, the Bible, if you begin with the political standard of the Constitution, and then assess the degree to which those who seek your support identify themselves with that which is required by the Bible and the Constitution, you are less likely to err. But there is no such thing as perfect discernment—we just do the best that we can.
In other words, not only does the Constitution Party put principle above politics; it puts principle above personality. This is as it should be.
Personally, I like the determination and humility I see in Mr. Peroutka. It reminds me of what the apostle Paul said in Acts 20:24. Although aware that bonds and afflictions awaited him, he declared, “But none of these things move me.” Paul had set his face. In Philippians 3:13 he tells us, “This one thing I do,” not “These many things I dabble in.” Yes, there are “those things which are behind,” and Paul is forgetting them. But there are also “those things which remain before,” and Paul is reaching forth unto them with every ounce of his God-given strength. All the land that remains to be possessed, all the service that remains for us to accomplish, all that is ours in Christ both as individuals and as a nation—let us reach for these while there is still time.
Today is the day to make up our minds on “this one thing.” It will help bring all other things in their proper relation to that. This is what Mr. Peroutka has had the courage to do, and that is what we must do.
Set your face like a flint and you, too, shall never be ashamed.
February 19, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book, Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon, will be released this year.