Monday, November 01, 2010

America, Part Two

I’m not sure if you know.  You may not have heard, but I guess there is an election coming up tomorrow.  Apparently the entire nation is in a tizzy over the outcome.  Just like they were two years ago.  And every election.  Isn’t it always dubbed the most important vote of the century?

This is not a political blog and I am no political pundit.  I’ll vote for sure because I think there are things we should stand for and work for.  But again as we are being bombarded with ads and billboards and debates, some religious groups are out in full force.  We have received phone calls, texts, emails and a letter begging us to vote a certain way before “irreparable” harm is done to our country. 

It’s been bothering me a lot.  As a follower of Jesus, I think I need to ask myself  if I truly believe God is in control of everything.  If I do, then there is no way I can stake our future survival on any individual or political candidate.  I cannot hope that changing the laws will change people’s hearts.

It sealed the deal for me last week at Bible study.  We are studying the Old Testament.  Over and over again God shows He is in control of kings and nations.  At the end of the study we were asked this:

“Who places kings in authority?  Do human rulers sometimes thwart God’s purposes, or are they part of God’s plan for carrying out His purposes?”  (Opening the Windows of Blessing by Kay Arthur, Pete DeLacy and Bob Vereen, page 50).

Let me share with you a few verses I’ve read trying to answer that. 

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.  And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Daniel 1:1-2

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.
   Who are you that you fear mere mortals,
   human beings who are but grass,
that you forget the LORD your Maker,
   who stretches out the heavens
   and who lays the foundations of the earth,
that you live in constant terror every day
   because of the wrath of the oppressor,
   who is bent on destruction?
For where is the wrath of the oppressor?

Isaiah 51:12-13

Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words,  I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the LORD, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.  Jeremiah 25:8-9

God allowed kings that were godly and kings that were evil.  God used kings as his servants for His purposes.  We live in a fallen world and can’t make things right through our human attempts.  Only God can do that and He will.  Make things right, that is.  But just like Jesus didn’t lead a military coup, we might not win the victory through politics.  As Christians, our victory is eternal Glory with God.  Our victory is people coming to Him and accepting His gift of grace.

We worry about our agenda winning, while people are being jailed for their beliefs.  We don’t think we really have time to commit to helping our church, while others are being killed for their faith.  We wonder if we are going to have enough money to go on that warm weather get away, while others are starving to death.  We like to ask God to bless America and I guess He has.  We have freedom to vote, to worship and more wealth than almost any other nation. 

There are nations where the church is booming under oppression.  Just today I heard this story about Iraqi Christians being held hostage.  God allows Christians to be put in jail in some parts of the world for worshipping Him.  You can read about the unbelievable things that are happening to Christians in places like China and Sudan at Voice of the Martyrs

Yesterday at church we were learning about Paul and the many times he was jailed, beaten or stoned.  He was not on easy street. 

“The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.  But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city.  They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.  So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” 

Acts 13:49-52

God uses oppression and attacks for His purposes.  What if we were held hostage at our church?  I am sure we would be outraged at the breach in our freedom.  But would we rejoice that we were counted worthy to suffer for Christ?  Or that His name could be glorified through us?  I might not always understand, but I will certainly embrace whatever He has for me, my family, my church and my country.  Whether it means my life gets harder, money gets tighter, or my freedom is threatened; it doesn’t matter. He is in control.  No one can irreparably damage me.  God has me in His hand.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”  John 10:28-29

Maybe things will get harder.  Maybe that would make me a less flabby Christian who is even more in love with Jesus and anticipating His return.  May His name be glorified.


So He said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty.”

Zechariah 4:6

1 comment:

Peter and Nancy said...

I picked up the phone two weeks ago and it was a political survey. They clearly wanted my opinion of the Tea Party, and then asked about my opinion of the President. Before I could think, I blurted out "That poor man!", because I think many people had deluded themselves into thinking he was going to be our savior. NO person can fill those shoes, nor should they try.