Wednesday, November 5, 2008
The morning after
It’s November 5. And as the old song from “The Poseidon Adventure” sang, “there’s got to be a morning after”. I realize that today’s news is likely captivating the attention of the majority of us who read this paper, so I don’t have any grand illusions that what a preacher writes today will gather much attention. But I want to speak to the Christian community in the aftermath of yesterday’s much anticipated vote.
There are some biblical principles that need to be remembered by us who claim faith in God regarding government and our responsibility to it. So whether this morning’s news makes you smile or kick the cat, these should apply to you. And take a minute to break out your Bible and read the passages I’ve included.
Human government isn’t perfect, but it is a God-ordained institution. Perfection was tossed out the window in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3) Whether your candidate is viewed as some kind of a messiah or the lesser of two evils, he isn’t going to usher in utopia. Yet God has created government to protect us from harm and to provide justice. (Romans 13:1-7) If our government misses those marks it will answer to God.
We’ve heard from all the politicians and pundits that our government is “broken”. Well, it was never perfect, not even when the ink was still drying on the Bill of Rights. (I will interject that it’s still the best the world has to offer!) Broken people can’t produce anything perfect. So, as God has done toward us, let’s extend a little grace.
Taxation is part of the deal and we’re to submit to it. Jesus gave that instruction to those listening and during great governmental corruption. (Matthew 22:21) Jesus said we’re to give to God what is God’s and to support our government. Caesar’s government, by the way, wasn’t known as being particularly fair. Regardless of what you may think, you still live a lifestyle higher than the rest of the world. Travel to a third world country and you’ll realize how blessed we are. Be grateful. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Sometimes we get what we deserve. Over and again when the nation of Israel in the Old Testament turned its collective heart away from dependence on God they found themselves in dire economic times. What’s a better wake up call? Unfortunately the American church in the last generation has tried to enact spiritual awakening via political and man-centered means. And judgment, we’re told begins in the “house of the Lord”, and rightly so. (1 Peter 4:17) Before we try to clean up our country we need to clean up ourselves first.
You have a dual citizenship. (Philippians 3:20) By God’s grace you are a citizen of a coming Kingdom. A perfect government is in our future. We just have to wait and be patient. The answer to all our ills is not in any man who occupies the Oval Office, sits on Capitol Hill or dons a black robe. Let’s hope things get better. But whether they do or don’t, your future is a bright one if Christ is your King.
One day wars will be over. (Isaiah 2:4) The economy won’t be a concern. No one will be needy or hungry or disenfranchised. Race won’t be an issue and borders will be removed. And we won’t have to watch any more political advertisements or hear any more speeches from candidates! We’ll live under the rule of a perfect Monarch, giving us a world we could never imagine. (Sorry John Lennon.)
Our responsibility is to pray for our leaders. (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Whether your man won or lost, it makes no difference. He needs your prayers. Why? “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord” (Proverbs 21:1). God is the only One Sovereign in the truest sense. He’s got things under control, whether we can see it or not.
Rick Lawrenson is the Lead Pastor of Nags Head Church.
© 2008 Rick Lawrenson
(This appears today in The Outer Banks Sentinel.)