Archives for posts with tag: president

servant 7

God is in charge whether we pay attention or not. God is in charge even when we’re not getting our way. God is in charge even when it seems that evil is winning and chaos is taking over.

Over and over in the Bible God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant”. Nebuchadnezzar was the pagan king of Babylon who enslaved much of the population of Judah and destroyed the city of Jerusalem, including the Temple built by Solomon. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t love God; in fact, he required that the people of Babylon, including the Jewish refugees, worship a statue of him. But God used Nebuchadnezzar to teach his people that only Yahweh was God. God actually called one of his most famous prophets, Daniel, just to speak the word of God to Nebuchadnezzar and the succeeding rulers on the throne of Babylon and later Persia. God used his servant Nebuchadnezzar to teach the people of Judah the consequences of their sin. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know that he was serving God; he didn’t realize that he was part of God’s plan; he didn’t understand that the God of his captives loved him until the end of his life.

When I studied the life and heart of Nebuchadnezzar in the first four chapters of the book of Daniel, I was struck at how much trouble God expended on Nebuchadnezzar’s behalf. God used Nebuchadnezzar as surely as he used Daniel, whether or not Nebuchadnezzar realized it. Even those who don’t honor or even acknowledge God are completely under God’s control. Daniel says, God “changes times and seasons; he sets up and deposes kings.” (Dan 2:21)

I am heartsick at the vitriol on both sides of this political campaign. I am desperately trying not to fear what I seeing happening in our country and pray daily for God’s mercy on us, not His judgment. I see the arrogant raving of all those seeking the office of president and see only rare evidence of a heart that seeks to honor God. I see people who praise themselves and denigrate those who oppose them. They declare that their presidency will save America from all that threatens us. But if I believe that God has all power, I have to acknowledge that He “sets up and deposes” presidents as well…even those who worship themselves, more than they worship God. They serve His purposes as surely as those of us who intentionally try to obey Him.

America will not be saved by any of these candidates. Our problems will not be solved by a new government program or a different leader or higher taxes or more regulation. Most likely, I will again be unable to vote “for” a candidate; I will just vote against the one with whom I disagree most. But God is in control no matter who occupies the Oval Office. November will come and this election will resolve itself. God may use the next four years to teach the people of America the consequences of their sin. He may use them to punish us or to bring us to repentance. God may use the next four years to teach those who take power that they serve Him, not themselves. He may even raise up a Daniel to speak for Him, to soften the heart of the one to whom He will raise up and give power in this country. Paul instructs Timothy to pray for all those in authority over him that he may live a life of godliness and holiness. (I Tim 2:1-2) If the people of American pray for a tender, contrite heart in the leader God gives us, we may become the Daniel God uses in our generation.

Rom 13:1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

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king

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.