We spoke about God and politics a couple of days ago, but there are just a couple more points I’d like to make about the issue. Remember the conversation/argument I had with my brother in Christ a few years ago? There was something else I read around that time that put that--and every other--election into perspective. I was a subscriber to Our Daily Bread, a daily devotional put out by Radio Bible Class. I also received their quarterly newsletter, and something they wrote just prior to the election has stuck with me since that day. I’m reproducing it from memory, but basically what they wrote was this: “As of this writing, the Presidential election is still a couple of months out. But no matter who wins it, there are some principles we can learn from God’s word. Sometimes the Lord gives us a leader like David or Hezekiah, a godly man who cares about others, who can take correction, who wholeheartedly seeks after God’s wisdom and guidance. And at other times. . . .he gives us the type of leader we really deserve.”
That's absolutely true, both on a spiritual level and on a human level, especially in a representative democracy, where we actually have a voice in our government. None of us deserve anything from the Lord except judgment, and when he does bless us with a godly leader who's wise and who actually takes God’s word seriously, we should rejoice. When we have someone who doesn’t measure up to that standard, when it seems like—in the words of the old cliché—“The lunatics are in charge of the asylum!!” then what should we do?
Before we start getting any lessons from this Psalm, I need to make sure I’m perfectly clear. I don’t believe that we’re on the cusp of some huge organized persecution like in Soviet Russia. I don’t foresee us being herded into prison camps or arrested en masse for the crime of being Christians. It might someday come to that, but I don’t think it’s immanent. So when I use this Psalm, I’m not trying to hint that we’re heading towards scenes like the ones described there.
But when we have leadership over us who seems to be hostile to what God’s word teaches, there are some principles we can learn. First, we need to examine ourselves (vss. 8-9). Multiple times in history, God used hard times to bring his children back into line with his instructions. So if the political situation seems to be getting grimmer, then we need to start out on our knees. Psalm 139: 23-24 is my standard prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Second, we need to remember who's ultimately in charge. When the nation was in trouble, the Psalmist immediately went to the one Person who could actually rescue them. This doesn’t excuse the foolishness of men or take away any responsibility for their actions. Nor does it call for us to be politically uninvolved. But to paraphrase another Psalm, some trust in ballots, others trust in bullets, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Finally, when times get better (and I think they will), we need to praise our Savior God for the relief he provides. Once he decides that we’ve been through enough, his deliverance will come. And when it does, we need to echo the Psalmist’s last word: “Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will praise you forever; from generation to generation we will proclaim your praise.”
Father God, you’re in charge, even when it doesn’t look like it. I will trust in your name. Jesus, like your name says, you are the Lord who saves.