The Pastor’s Piece – March 26,2023
The Pastor’s Piece
March 26, 2023
It seems like election season never ends. A few decades ago, when my wife and I first reached voting age, we were living in California and the voters in our precinct voted in our neighbor’s garage, which was the official venue. After we got home from work on election day, we took a stroll down the street, chatted with the neighbors, flashed our driver’s licenses, cast our ballots and walked back home. I suppose, there was a lot of emotion and rhetoric somewhere during the candidates’ campaigns, but if there was, I don’t remember it. I was reading an article a while back, where the author was talking about elections in general. I didn’t save the article and I can’t remember who wrote it, but he said something that really struck a chord with me. He said, “Many people seem to regard elections as occasions for venting emotions, like cheering for your favorite team or choosing a homecoming king and queen.” If this guy’s perception is true, that seems like a rather shallow way for us to determine who will lead us, make policy, and oversee and enforce our laws.
I’m a Bible believer. I’m big on it. It’s my handbook for life. The Bible gives us example after example of godly leaders and ungodly leaders in the nation of Israel. When the godly leaders determined to do God’s will, the leaders and the people of the nation were blessed – without fail. When the leaders determined to ignore the laws of God, and rebel against His ways, and the people followed, the results were disastrous for the nation. God’s judgment of sin against His people even affected the good guys. Men like Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, all remained faithful to God, but because of Israel’s sin, they were taken into captivity along with the others.
But even in captivity, they didn’t get angry with God and accuse Him of evil things. They lived as godly men while serving in a pagan king’s court. When they were commanded to break God’s laws, they respectfully asked for an exception (Daniel 1:8), and it was granted to them. They lived by their godly convictions and the king found them to be “ten times better in every matter of wisdom and understanding” than their non-believing counterparts. This irritated the non-believers so they schemed up a plan to get rid of the believers. So they made a law, knowing full well these men would not obey it. Their law said that everyone had to bow down to a golden image set up by the king. These young men knew that God’s law said that you shall not bow down to a golden image, so they didn’t. The king wasn’t happy with them, so he had them tied up and tossed into a fiery red-hot furnace. The furnace was so hot that the flames killed the soldiers who took Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego up to it. But those three survived because God protected and saved them and in the end, the king became a believer in the power of Almighty God. God got his attention.
Now that’s a nice happy ending to a serious story. There are a lot of Bible stories that don’t end quite so happily. I am reminded of the one that has to do with Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin of the people there was so serious in the face of God, that He destroyed both cities with fire and brimstone (burning sulfur). And even before that, the sin of the people on the face of the earth became such a stench before God that He destroyed the whole human race with the flood, save eight people in Noah’s family.
What about the United States of America? We are a nation founded on biblical principles. Our judicial system uses as its foundation for justice, the same template that God set up for the Old Testament judicial system. But yet the righteous things of God that are so evident to us throughout the Scriptures seem to be ignored more and more in our time. My prayer and my hope is that we, as a people, will turn to God in one accord and He will have His rightful place in our hearts as individuals, and in the heart of our country. Proverbs 14:34 says: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” And the psalmist declares in Psalm 33:12: “Blessed is the nation, whose God is the Lord.”