Protection from enemies. Healthcare. Free stuff. Some things never change. Listening to those who are seeking the party nominations reminds me of a Bible story.

In John 6 Jesus miraculously fed 5000 with a boy’s lunch. He healed them and taught them, and they liked it. Jesus gave them what they wanted, so they wanted to make him king. Knowing that their desires were selfish, not godly, Jesus evaded them and went off to be alone with his Father.

We want to give authority to those who agree with us, and we want those we disagree with to be destroyed…or at least go away. I fear that far too many Americans vote strictly along party lines. Too many voters make minimal effort to be educated on the problems our country is facing, and pin their confidence on factless sound bites that support what they want to believe. When a candidate tells us what we want to hear, we want to give him (or her!) power. The problem is, we don’t measure what we want to hear against sound principle or the facts. We are not inclined to let our opinions be clouded by facts that don’t support us.

Since the invention of the TV, our elections have been more about image than content. Elections have been lost because a candidate stumbled on an answer, because he lost patience with a persistent heckler, or because they lacked the good looks and charisma captured by the TV camera. Candidates now hire people to make sure their image is impressive. The problem is, America doesn’t need a poster boy; we need a statesman. We don’t need a slick politician who seeks to further his own career; we need someone who is committed to what is right for the people of America. We need a leader with integrity and sound understanding of our domestic and international relationships and problems. Entire campaigns are built around sound bites and photo ops – neither one of which will address or assuage the crises in our nation.

The people of Greece are facing utter financial collapse. Their government has been insolvent for some time, but they elected a man who told them that they could continue doing what they’d been doing in the past and things would get better. They defeated the man who told them that saving their country would require higher taxes and fewer government sponsored perks. Now they are adamant that the European Union continue to provide them what they refuse to provide for themselves. Europe is not inclined to sacrifice so that the Greeks won’t have to. They face a referendum this weekend, and they will have to choose between what they want to hear and the facts about their future.

We still want a king. We will give him power if he will give us what we want. We want slick promises that things will get better and that it won’t cost us anything. Anytime we give power to those who tell us what we want to hear, we leave God out of the process. In the Old Testament the people demanded that Samuel appoint a king over them. God reminded Samuel that the people weren’t rejecting Samuel’s authority; they were rejecting God’s authority. I believe the people of America have far more in common with the people of Samuel’s day and the nation of Greece than we want to admit.

I dread the endless campaign commercials connected with a presidential campaign, but I intend to use each one as a reminder to immediately go to God in prayer, that he would help us elect the leader we need, not the leader we deserve. What would happen if the people of this nation repented of our arrogance and sought God’s will in handling the fear and hatred and selfishness and immorality of our nation?

II Chron 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.