Wednesday, November 7, 2012
God and Governments 11/7/2012
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." Rom 13:1-7
Today I ask you to forgive not the usage of the word of God (as the consideration of Scripture is the whole reason for this meditation), but the unusual length of the passage. Yesterday, citizens of the United States, as many countries do according to their own timing, played an active role in choosing leaders of its government. It is important to the Christian to know where God is in the results and more accurately, where we as members of a nation are in God's overall plan.
As has been the case many times before, the country is sharply divided over its choice of leadership. There is a constant ebb and flow of power and position between political parties, ideologies, visions and methods. Each group feels that its way is best and right and that there is little of interest or merit to those who do not share its convictions. Inevitably, when a leader is chosen, as much as half of the the electorate can (and in today's case does) feel disappointed, distraught and disenfranchised. Almost immediately, the effort begins to "correct the problem" by identifying and preparing those associated with the ideology that did not prevail this time for success next time, hence the ebb and flow of power and position between parties.
Beloved there is much to say about this process but not nearly enough of it involves the sovereignty of the Almighty Creator of the universe. We do not always understand what possible good it accomplishes or how it fits within God's will to have particular individuals elected to office, particularly given the stated position of some that do not reflect Christian values. Submitted for your consideration this day are two things about which to think. First, consider that God always intended to be (and ultimately is) the government of all mankind. The initial rebellion and rejection of this authority occurred in the Garden of Eden and later, among the then chosen people of God, at the choosing of an earthly king. Second, God has provided for us His own values and directed us to live, move, breath, think and make choices based on them. Difficulty occurs when godly people are swayed by godless society to begin adopting stances that are ungodly and begin making choices that reflect this shift. Two obvious examples are the choosing of leaders that have legislated prayer right out of schools and the appointment of a judiciary that have upheld laws that do not value the sanctity of God given life.
Why does God allow these things to be? It is because He gave each of us free will. Some freely choose his ways while others do not. How does this impact His sovereignty regarding leaders among men? It does not. Our choices have never impacted his sovereignty in any way. Having foreknowledge of all things, God ultimately uses all things to His own glory and through all things ultimate good is accomplished for all those that love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28), though we may not be able to fully understand or even see that purpose in the present.
On this day after a historic election (and they are all historic in one way or another), let us not focus on the winners and losers. Let us focus on the word, will and way of God. Let us be comforted in knowing that he remains in charge whatever our choice or that of the citizenry at large. Let us as Christians reexamine and reflect on his values and the choices we make as a nation and as individuals regarding them.
Rejoicing in the Lord,