Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.
A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.
Friday, October 14, 2016
Daniel 2: 20 Daniel answered and said: " Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. 21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.
Psalm 75:6 For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south.
7 But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another.
Let every soul be subject to the higher powers [of government]. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Psalms 46: 10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
On one hand, it really does NOT MATTER who gets elected. God has appointed the course of world history, and it always ends the same way--with God in control of an everlasting kingdom, and all earthly rulers reduced to insignificance.
We can rest assured that God will care for us whoever is elected President, Senator, Congressman or Governor:
Psalm 37: 1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. 6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret --- it only causes harm. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 but the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
On the other hand, it really DOES MATTER for whom you vote in this election.
Let me give you some reasons:
- If you read the books of Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament, you'll discover a pattern: when Israel and Judah had good kings, the nation prospered spiritually, and also prospered physically. As the kings in Judah (after Israel was carried captive for their sins) were either good or bad, the nation either prospered or suffered. the equation is pretty simple: a godly king meant good times, and an evil king resulted in social chaos and spiritual destruction. Manasseh, one of the wickedest kings, reigned during the ministry of Isaiah; he ruined the nation with his idolatry and wickedness, so that recovery was impossible. Despite the fact that he later repented, the nation eventually sank into oblivion as first one and then another foreign power invaded it and ultimately Israel was carried captive to Babylon.
- So here's the principle: good kings make a good nation, and good times; evil kings make an evil nation, and evil times. Chaos comes from evil, and leads to more chaos.
- Corruption is the cancer of government and common life. Its root is spiritual corruption.
The Old Testament discusses bribery, corruption, and other evils like this in spiritual terms, and makes clear that corruption is not only evil in itself, but also the cause of more evil, until the evils are multiplied beyond belief. the Prophets speak so extensively about this that I'll have to select among many choices for illustrations, but here goes:
1. Isaiah 1:23: Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows.
2. Amos 2:6-7: Thus says the LORD: " For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals. 7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name.
3. Amos 8:4-7: Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy! You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales. And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor. Then you enslave poor people for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals. Now the LORD has sworn this oath by his own name, the Pride of Israel: "I will never forget the wicked things you have done!" Political corruption and business corruption go hand in hand.
4. Zechariah 1:1-6: 1 In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 2 "The LORD has been very angry with your fathers. 3 Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Return to Me," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will return to you," says the LORD of hosts. 4 "Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds." ' But they did not hear nor heed Me," says the LORD. 5 " Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? 6 Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: ' Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us."
These principles are pretty simple. You cannot justify taking bribes, oppressing people, cheating and rejecting God, and expect to survive at the judgment. If you are a candidate for office, and you are corrupt, and the people elect you, they have enabled you to do the evil you want to do. If you are part of the candidate's defenders, and that candidate is elected, and you knew what you were doing, you become part of their corruption, and you will stand before God in judgment, just as they will.
- The root of all this is rejection of God in politics, business, and common life: As Romans 1 says, "Because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over......in other words, he opens the door for people to do evil, and then judges them for their choices, eventually pouring out His wrath on them for their evil choices and behaviors.
Well, first of all, voting is a spiritual enterprise if you're Christian. Make no mistake. It is part of your commitment to God. You are responsible to choose (you can't escape your responsibility by not voting), because you are a man or woman of God, and you are responsible to choose the candidate who will either do the most good or least harm to the nation, city or state. This means you can't choose the "candidate you like," or "everyone likes." It's a matter of the will of God. Who will advance the cause of Jesus Christ the best? Who will do the least harm to society by example or by statute?
Who, among the choices available, has both a real chance of winning and also has the desire to exercise a good and godly influence on the nation? Please don't get stuck on "rights." They do matter, but not so much as the good and godly influence.
As a nation, we will never have the perfect President (and on down the ticket). Whoever we elect will always be deeply flawed. If we have learned anything, it's that. I've been voting now for 50 years. Each time I voted, I hoped for the best, because so many things are unknown. Not one of the people for whom I voted was anything but flawed. No leader will be, until the Lord Jesus returns. However, you and I are responsible to vote, and to vote, not our political preferences, but our spiritual responsibility.
I have a half dozen other "guiding lights," but those are mine personally, and I'm not going to tell you to be like me. You wouldn't listen, and you would be right not to listen. I'm opinionated enough to think I'm right, and if you follow my other "stuff," you'll know what I think, but my point is this:
Vote for the people most likely to help the spiritual life of the nation, and who are least likely to corrupt our fine country. Unlike many, I don't think America (or any other nation) is a Christian nation, since Jesus meant His Word to fill the earth, not just one country, and since God has said, (Malachi 1:11): "For from the rising of the sun until its going down, My name shall be great among the nations..."
Said as simply as I can, God means us to serve Him with our votes, not to serve ourselves, a political party, or personal advantage.
Think about that when you cast your vote. And vote. Be sure to vote.