Wednesday, September 15, 2010
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us. Isaiah 33:22
I came across this verse in my morning reading today. What first caught my attention is the presence of three divisions (branches) of government.
Judge - Judicial
Lawgiver - Legislative
King - Executive
When I saw that I paused and reflected on the genius of our form of Government. It is worthy of note that our government is composed of these same three divisions.
Judge - Federal courts
Lawgiver - Congress
King - President
We call this the separation of powers, a system of checks and balances. Of course each of the branches are to be governed by the document that brought them into existence, The Constitution of the United States of America. It is this reality that causes us to use the phrase, "the rule of law". We are a nation of laws. We have the division of powers because no man or group of men can be entrusted with too much power. The corrupt nature of man demands that a system of "checks and balances" be in place. Therefore we have a system in place that was designed to create tension between the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government each being jealous of its own power and watching with a wary eye the decisions of the other two.
This concept is clearly present in Isaiah 33:22. What is strikingly different about our form of government and the statement made in Isaiah is there is no separation of power, no checks and balances. The divisions exist but they converge in one person, the LORD! All governing power is united in the LORD! There are no checks on his power. There are no balances to his power. There is no separation of his power.
The Judicial power is the LORD's.
The Legislative power is the LORD's.
The Executive power is the LORD's.
The LORD makes the laws, he executes the laws, and he adjudicates the laws. All power is invested in him!
Why? Because he is holy, sovereign, righteous, just, merciful, gracious, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. He is the one person in whom all power can be vested and it not result in a miscarriage of justice.
Thus the Prophet declares, "he will save us." And so he will. The Democrats will not save us, the Republicans will not save us, the Independents will not save us, the Tea Parties will not save us, the Libertarians will not save us. He will save us.
In this intense political season it would do us good to remember that He will save us. Let us be serious as Christian patriots to cast our ballots in the will of God but always looking to him who needs no balancing of his power and in whom all governing power converges!
Ps 22:28 - For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.
Ps 75:7 - But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Da 2:21 - And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
Da 4:17 - This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
In these few words we have the reality and the responsibility of the Christian life set forth.
Reality - Christians are subject to divers temptations
Responsibility - The sober reality should be counted as all joy
The reality being wedded to the responsibility produces a challenge that only those who have the Spirit of God living in them can achieve. They have the potential to achieve. Potential does not necessarily translate into reality. When I read this verse two things come to mind. I want to live this way. It is hard to live this way.
What are the temptations of which James is speaking? The word temptation is being used in a broader sense than what we typically use it. I think what the Holy Spirit had in mind flows from the pen of James in the following verse:
". . . the trying of your faith . . . . "
That is the essence of all temptation. It is having our faith tried. It is being put to the proof, being tested. Temptation can be anything that tests our allegiance and commitment to Christ. It is, in essence, the same concept Jesus was addressing when he said in Matthew 6:24,
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
When James writes "divers temptations" he is reminding us that the trying of our faith comes in all shapes and sizes, numerous levels of difficulty. In fact the word temptations itself is in the plural.
Even the word "fall" is meant to direct our attention to the varied temptation we face. The word suggests we fall into something that is all around, to be surrounded with. The reality is, we are daily faced with a barrage of choosing Christ or the other thing, whatever it is. Everyday, all day we are surrounded with challenges to our commitment to Christ. It can in fact become wearisome.
Lets face it we really do not know if we are committed and/or how committed until the commitment is challenged.
The trying of our faith is an opportunity. We are being provided with the opportunity to prove our love and devotion to Christ. We are be given the opportunity to put our actions where our Amen is. Circumstances develop throughout life wherein Christ is basically asking will you serve me or self.
If I want to do more than just talk about my love for Christ then I must have my faith tried. And when my faith is tried I should count it all joy that I have an opportunity to show that I choose Christ and I am committed to him. If we are walking in the Spirit these opportunities will produce joy. Remember, joy is the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore we are not speaking of something generated by the flesh, but rather something produced by the Spirit of the living God!
We step into the midst of the challenges every day, whether great or small, counting it all joy that we have been given these opportunities to trust Him, obey Him, love Him, believe Him, serve Him, and choose Him!