So let’s talk politics! I don’t know about you, but I’m already tired of this political season and we still have 2 months to go. I’m weary of it all because I don’t think either presidential candidate or political party has the solution to fix our problems. When I hear the politicians tell me all they are going to do and how if we just elect them they will create this utopia where all is well with the world, I am reminded of the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2, “Vanities of vanities, says the preacher, vanities of vanities. All is vanity.”
If you are thinking that I sound depressed or cynical about the current state of our political process, then you might be right. However, I think the more accurate word to describe how I am feeling about this election is hopeless. I cannot recall an election in my lifetime where more people have expressed despair and hopelessness over our choice for president. This is especially true for evangelical Christians because people don’t believe either candidate displays the character or supports policies that are consistent with our faith.
However, this election maybe more than any other in my lifetime is highlighting for me the need to take seriously the words of Yahweh in Psalm 146:3-4,
Put not your trust in princes,
In a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
On that very day his plans perish.
Around 3,000 years ago, God speaking through the psalmist, told us not to trust in “princes” (politicians) or as the New Living Translation says, “powerful people.” The reason given in this Psalm is twofold. First, a mere human operating on their own according to their resources and power can’t save. The word “salvation” doesn’t necessarily mean salvation from sin. It can be used in the broader context of deliverance or help. The psalmist is saying that a human, apart from God’s help, has no power to help you with the most important problems and issues of life.
The second reason not to put your hope in powerful people is that they will die and all their human schemes to address the problems we face in our world will die with them. Abraham Lincoln had many ideas and plans about what reconstruction should look like after the Civil War, but those plans died when he was assassinated. Today many historians believe things would have gone much different after the Civil War if he had lived and been able to enact his plans and policies. Even the most influential people’s legacies eventually fade and disappear over time. Whatever is done without God will eventually fade away.
But, everything is different with Yahweh:
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever…
God is and does everything the politicians claim to be and will do. He is the creator, He keeps His promises, He is the supreme promoter of justice, He takes care of the poor, the widows and orphans, He sets people free from bondage, He watches over the homeless and refugees, and brings down the wicked. He doesn’t die. His kingdom lasts forever. Therefore, His plans for righteousness and holiness to adorn His creatures never perishes.
The lesson from this Psalm is one that Americans have to learn. Christians in other countries around the world have long ago learned not to put their hope in politicians or powerful people because they have never come to their aid. They have lived in countries where the political elites have been antagonistic to Christianity and have systematically persecuted them. Or, they have lived in countries where the powerful people have only oppressed and used them for their personal gain. They have not looked to the government to provide cover for the proclamation of the Gospel. They don’t wait for the law to say they can pray in public before they pray in public. They don’t wait for the government to say they can share their faith before they share their faith. Their hope is not in their government or powerful people to treat them favorably. They learned long ago their only hope was Yahweh and His Son Jesus Christ.
It is sad to me to see our country slipping away from living according to our Judeo-Christian values. It hurts to see our government and courts actually supporting policies and laws that are antagonistic to our Christian faith. However, I have to be careful not to fall into despair thinking that somehow this signals the end of the church and the demise of Christianity. We must learn in the USA that the success of the Gospel and the strength of the church doesn’t depend on Washington or Wall Street being favorable to us. Our hope is not in our politicians or powerful people to support us or give us cover to share the Gospel or be the church. Our hope must be in Yahweh the creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His Son, who has conquered sin, death, and hell and publically humiliated worldly authority and power when He used the cross as a means of victory instead of a means to silence Him.
ONMISSION is about continuing His mission, to build His kingdom on earth, by being the body of Christ who makes disciples of Jesus. The success of this mission has never depended upon the favorability of governments or powerful people. This is evidenced by two facts. In countries where the Gospel is outlawed and Christians are persecuted the church is growing and the Gospel is spreading. In this country where we still have legal cover and tons of money to support our cause, 9 out of every 10 “Christians” never share their faith and the church is shrinking.
The church is not the plan of a human who is here today and gone tomorrow. The church and its mission belong to the resurrected King of kings and Lord of lords who created all things and will live forever. He promised that the gates of Hell can stand against His church. The gates of Hell can’t stop His plans. His kingdom will come and His will will be done on earth. The gates of Hell, whether they be in Washington DC or on Wall Street, can’t prevail against Jesus and His church!
Our hope to live ONMISSION must be in Yahweh alone!