Tag Archives: politics

Ezekiel 34-36; Psalm 86; John 12

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day about the state of our nation. Perhaps most aging generations reflect similarly in comparing what once was with what is now, and pondering what will come. Our ruminations based on opinions and media hype invariably give way to God’s word, for He alone has authority over nations. In Him are truths, promises, and enlightenment that supersede the norms, deceit, and smokescreens of man.

Because my husband and I believe in both God’s judgment and His mercy, we wondered what our nation may become in the near future. Of course, we are talking American politics and culture. Being unsure, we sought (and continue to seek) answers from God.

Ezekiel, who was an Old Testament prophet sent by God, had much to say about God’s involvement in building up and tearing down nations. In Ezekiel 34:25-31, God assured His exiled people, “I will make a covenant of peace…” with them. “…they shall know that I am the Lord.” The people were promised security from foreign aggressor, prosperity and productivity, and His lasting relationship with them. Does God consider America as His chosen or are Christians in America becoming the remnant of an exiled people?

On the other hand, Ezekiel said that God would “stretch out His hand” against those who had taken advantage of His people, all “who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.” By their destruction, God said, they “will know that I am the Lord.” (35:3-4).

At this point in reading Scripture, my husband and I were nodding in agreement with God’s judgments, but before we could say, “Yes, Lord, go get’em!” we read further. For in Ezekiel 36, God provided an explanation for intervening on behalf of His people. God did not save them because of their piety or righteousness; in fact, He said, “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.” Ouch! Like Israel, can it be that our complacency, complicity, and crumbling beneath pressure contributed to the problems we now see in our nation? Thankfully, in spite of disobedience by His people, and through God’s desire for all to know Him, He sanctified His great name. God said, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes…the nations shall know that I am the Lord…”

Hallowed in them – in us. What a privilege to be the undeserved object of His affection! Now because of Christ’s redeeming work on the Cross, God will cleanse us. He “will give [us] a new heart and put a new spirit within [us].” By His Holy Spirit we are helped to walk in His statutes, keep His judgments, and do them. In John 12:27-28, Jesus, talking about His agony over impending death said, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” When our souls are troubled by what we see happening in our nation, can we become the instrument of change? Can we say, “Father, glorify Your name.”

We can start by praying Psalm 86: “For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul…teach me Your ways,” (for Your ways are not like mine). “Unite my heart to fear Your name,” (so that I may not be double-minded).  Help us by Your Holy Spirit to stand up against “the proud and the mob of violent men who have not set You before them.” Then we can be confident that, “All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.”

Amen!

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, John, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Numbers 30-33; Psalm 35; Luke 3

Luke 3:4 One crying in the wilderness…Prepare the way of the Lord… Who is the one crying and how must one prepare to receive the Messiah? The Gospels record the messenger as John the Baptist, the audience was the chosen people of God, and the message was repentance. Lately, I have felt as though this message is being preached to me anew. I stand with a crowd of believers, much like John the Baptist preached to, who were raised in the knowledge of God. Yet, without a doubt knowing that I am saved by Christ, I still am puzzled by this voice proclaiming repentance, and I find myself asking, “What shall I do?”

According to historians, life for the Jews in this epic time of Christ’s walk on Earth was one of servitude. Judaic communities lived a life of poverty and brevity at the unmerciful hands of Romans and labored under an impoverished spirit of fear and distance from God at the collaborating hands of the Jewish religious leaders. I ponder the similarity of the political climate then and the so-called, religious freedoms we have today. Of course, we are not rounded up, jailed, or impaled at the whim of a despot simply because we are Christians. I am disturbed however, by the more insidious silencing of Christian voices by the few who often are approved by our own executive, legislative, and judicial leadership. I also wonder if our spiritual leaders today are stepping as gingerly as I on the thin ice separating faith from politics. Will the plunge be a baptism with the Holy Spirit or with fire?

Interestingly enough, John the Baptist’s answer to “What shall we do,” was pragmatic and specific to the one asking the question. So what am I asking? Certainly, it makes little sense for me to ask that others change more to my own opinion or understanding. Even more crazy would be to ask that I be given some miraculous power to change the laws of the land with a ball point pen. No, the call to repentance was not given to me for that other guy, so I must make another sweeping examination of my need be changed. What has crept into my daily routine distracting my attention from meditating on God’s word? When have I missed an opportunity to speak truth in love, and why have I backed down in the face of dissension? More specifically, who have I shortchanged or taken advantage of – yes, when driving, when standing in line, and when reaching for the last sale item on the store’s shelf? This self-examination is not an effort in preparing me to be good enough for the Lord’s mercy and grace. In fact, this work in my heart is not even of my own doing, but comes about through the work of the Holy Spirit given to us by Christ Jesus.

Repentance that answers the question, “What shall I do,” serve as a reminder to self to practice a changed heart in keeping with unending gratitude to the King of Kings.

Psalm 35:9, 10 And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation. All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like You, Delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, Yes, the poor and the needy from him who plunders him?

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized