I was happy with Brian Hardin’s comments about politics on the Daily Audio Bible this morning. He said:
“….. I knew, based on what was being said, that you have a country that is half one way and half the other. It’s so interesting to see the polarization of that come out anytime politics is brought up. The irony is this kind of stuff is in the church too as you start parsing theology. I mean, if you sit down with whoever has a theology different than yours and begin from the place of what do we agree on, you find that you differences are pretty far removed from essentials. All of a sudden being right is more important than finding common ground. It’s just a weird thing that is in our church history.
I’ve gone through another election at the Daily Audio Bible and
learned a lesson that steering clear is the right thing to do until you’re right at the point where we pray, we ask God for wisdom, we do our part and then we begin to live with what the country decides, according to scripture, because it is just so divisive. It is just such a weird divisive thing partly because it brings out our passions about what we care about. It brings to the surface our convictions and this is important – that we have a voice and that we can say what our convictions are, both vocally and through a vote, this is great. It’s important. So many people around the world do not have that opportunity. They cannot do it.
Nevertheless, as hard as it is to believe for every person that feels the way that you do, there is a person that feels opposite to you. And as hard as it is for you to believe in your convictions, that a person does not share your convictions, could in some cases even be a believer just blows our minds. Yet, this is the beauty and the truth of the matter. God is among us and politics should not define us.
So here’s the deal. It’s done. President Obama is the President of the United States. And I say that and half of you cringe and half of you smile, shake your head yes, raise your fist in the air and say that’s excellent news. What is our posture now? What does God say through his Word now? There are lots of things that scripture says about leadership and authority. Lots of things, but what I’ve been most drawn to are the words of the apostle Paul that we read just recently.
The apostle Paul is about to be executed for political reasons. So politics hasn’t done him any justice. It hasn’t done him any favors. He’s been in prison a long, long time. He’s been back and forth. He has found periods of pseudo-freedom and periods where he’s in a dungeon. It’s back and forth. But now it is just not going in his favor. He is going to be executed Roman style, which wasn’t a good death, any of the forms, because execution was to give an example to a society – don’t do this or you will end up the same way. So Paul realizes and even says I am about to be poured out, an offering to God. That’s the only way I can look at it. So he writes a final letter to his son in the faith and they are the last words he is going to say. It is his parting shot. He is hoping to see Timothy and say more in person, but just in case, he’s writing some last things down.
So the urgency is there and I’m drawn to that in this season now, as we move forward. I realize I’m talking to a lot of people that aren’t Americans, but this applies to you in your own situation and it applies to you as we are all the body of Christ. Paul, in his final letter, says to Timothy, “I urge you first of all to pray for all people. Ask God to help them. Intercede on their behalf and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God, our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth, for there is only one God and one mediator who can reconcile God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus. And he gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.”
This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. I think that is something we need to hold near and dear. That is the posture we need to take. Let it go now. We are bigger and more than this. This is just how our culture works every four years. It doesn’t matter whether your candidate won or didn’t win. The posture of heart toward our leaders is the same. We must pray for them.
It is my constant prayer that the president will be led and guided by the Word of God. That is my constant prayer. I’ve been praying through these years that President Obama has been president often, that he would come in contact with the Word of God and that it would guide him and that those around him would be influenced by God’s Holy Word. That is my prayer. This needs to be all of our prayer.
The thing is, prayer is calling upon God and God is the only thing that can move us forward and God is the only thing that can give hope or change. So as the rhetoric fades, the sentiment is legitimate and real, but there is only one way for hope or change or forward or reach, change on day one or whatever, there is only one possible way and it’s not through the man Barack Obama or the man Mitt Romney or the man who happens to be your prime minister or leader or president or king. It’s the man Jesus Christ who gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. So may we now, as the body of Christ, bind ourselves together, committing to intercede for our leaders that they might be constantly influenced by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
Brian closed with this prayer this morning:
“ God, we come as a community, now that this is done, the country has spoken, and
we pray for our president and we ask, God, that you surround him with godly
people. Holy Spirit, I ask that you hover in the Oval Office over these next
years, that you be present. We call upon you and we intercede for our nation,
that we be one nation under God, that we be a free people moving in the
direction that the kingdom moves. May we be as ambassadors for the king and the
kingdom in this land, truly ambassadors. May we hear from you and represent you
well. We pray for our leaders, the House of Representatives, the Congress. We
pray for the senators. We pray for the great tasks before our people. It is
always there. There are always great challenges in every generation. As we live
through it, we feel as if it is the most dire and important because we’re living
it, but this has never been different. There has always been challenge and there
always will be because we live in a fallen world. You are the only hope. So
come, Jesus. Come, Lord, we pray, into this situation. We pray for our leaders.
We give them over to you and we trust in you and we hold them up and we commit
ourselves to daily remembering them in prayer. So rather than buying into the
partisanship, the marketing, the hoopla, the frenzy that we’ve been living
through, we now set it aside and we hold up our leaders in prayer and ask Lord,
have mercy. God, give direction. Holy Spirit, come. In the name of Jesus we
pray. Amen. “