October 2012 Prayer Focus Choose wisely.
“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chron 7:14
Election news dominates our televisions, radios, internet news sites, newspapers and magazines. It seems that this is a choice between the ways of our ancestors who wanted a people who governed themselves in a virtuous way under a very limited government and the constitution. Alternatively, the ways of a new generation, which seems to prefer being governed by a government that can to do for us what we either do not want to do or cannot do; a government without limits that rules by whatever seems best now.
Do not think for one moment that the founders of America were perfect; they were not. They sinned and just as they did mighty things, they sinned mightily. They and their generations, however, seem to have had one advantage over many in this generation. They understood that they were sinners, they understood that as man is fallen so too are the works of man. They also knew some other things that our generations seem to no longer recall, there is a perfect standard of what is good and bad, there is a perfect standard of right and wrong. However, we are not the first people to have forgotten that.
“ In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25
Therefore, the first step we must take in choosing wisely is to remember those perfect standards: of good and bad, of right and wrong and where those standards originate.
We will hear arguments about tax rates and deficits, about the wealthy and the middle class, about the 1% and the 47%, about war and peace, about spending or cutting. All of these arguments are important; all of them need to be argued out by the American people. However, as Christians, there are some arguments that are settled. Three issues are not open for us to argue. The first is the issue of the right to life from the womb to the last breath. Life is a gift from God and is not up to us as a people except in the most extreme of circumstances when one’s own actions surrender that right. The second unarguable issue is the sanctity of marriage: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. And “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6 The third unarguable and nonnegotiable issue is the freedom to exercise our religion, to live out our faith. This is summed up for us quite well: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
We are not the first people who had a decision to make about who would lead them.
Israel Demands a King from Chapter 8 of 1 Samuel: “…But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” …..And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them…… However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” ….. “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men,[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” …. 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
So as we consider our choices this fall and as we vote next month, let us as Christians recall the old saying from colonial days: “We recognize no sovereign but God and no king but King Jesus.” We must remember that our president is no king but a mere man, that while God appoints our president for a season, like the Hebrews of Samuel’s time had a King appointed and anointed by God to rule over them for them for a season. Our president is not all powerful, he cannot solve our most important problems. Only the perfect King can do that and it is God who is our perfect King. Let us not put our president or any elected leader in the place of our God and King. The Hebrews did that and they got the king they deserved. All too often, it is said that we elect the president we deserve, just as the Hebrews got the King they deserved.
Father God, we praise you the Creator God of the universe, the awesome and perfect eternal King. Father we thank you for your many blessings to our nation and ourselves, you truly are a generous and loving father. Guide our choices and decisions in the coming weeks as we consider our nation’s leadership, let our choices be your choices, let us be a righteous people, not a self-righteous people, let us be a virtue living people not a virtue speaking people. Father God, we freely admit that we have not been the people deserving a David, we confess our sins, and humbly beg your forgiveness Father and plead with you that you appoint and anoint a President who will be to us as Hezekiah was to the people of Judah, a just and wise ruler who restored Your laws and temple and who walked in Your ways all the days of his life.
Walk with God, plow the field He will bring the rain.