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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Politics: It Matters

Proverbs 29:4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you” – Pericles

Politics is not the most important issue but it is an important issue.  This is especially true in a nation where our forefathers have acknowledged that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed.  We have choices to make.  We vote.  We vote for representatives, we vote, at times, for ballot initiatives, we have the freedom of speech to discuss and debate policy and to search out forums to make our voice heard and exert our influence.  We have the right to peaceably assemble for a redress of grievances.

Information is power!  There are people who vote that have no idea how government works, principles of economics, and no understanding of current issues.  I fully realize that it is impossible for most to stay abreast of every single policy decision.  The difficulty should not turn us away from making an effort to understand and educate ourselves.

A Presidential election is less than a year away.  The decisions are not waiting to be made this summer.  The process of choosing a President has begun.  Presidential elections by their very nature garner more attention.  Some people probably think that is the only vote we ever have?

It doesn’t matter who gets elected!  Of course it does.  It especially matter when it comes to the President because he has the opportunity to use the “bully pulpit” to set tone and drive agendas in everything from spending to national security to race relations to military preparedness, to social issues like abortion and gay marriage.  Just since I have been voting for President at least two men have been elected who have had a huge impact on the American experience.  Ronald Reagan changed the course of this nation.  Barack Obama has changed the course of this nation.  If Mitt Romney had won would we have abandoned our support for Israel, negotiated a deal with a nation that is sworn to the destruction of Israel and the United States, had a President that supported gay marriage and thought Jenner was courageous, and supported abortion, and traded one traitor for four terrorist, etc. . . .  It most assuredly does matter!

It’s too early to pay attention!  Football season is almost over.  What football fan sits out the first half or three-quarters of the season saying it’s too early to pay attention?  Or who only watches the last quarter of a football game claiming through the first three quarters it’s too early to pay attention?  Football does not matter!  Politics do!  Who wins the super bowl tomorrow will not change one thing about your life.  Who wins the White House and Congress this year will change many things about your life for the better or the worse!  It will affect your paycheck, it will affect what you pay for energy, it will affect how your kids are educated, it will affect your safety, it will affect your civil rights, it will affect your health care, and it will affect the social issues of the day!

I’m just going to preach the gospel!  Well, I’m not; I’m going to devote my whole effort to politics????  (sarcasm)  It is not an either or proposition.  Gospel preaching, yea, kingdom work is our priority.  We kid ourselves if we think the earthly kingdom we live in has no bearing on the spiritual kingdom we labor in.  The Lord Jesus said in Mark 12:17, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.”  I’m just going to preach the gospel except when I’m hunting or fishing, or pursing some recreation, or watching TV, or reading a book.  I’m not against any of these things per say.  But don’t say to me, I’m just going to preach the gospel as a way to disengage from the political realities of the day.  Politics is more important than hunting, fishing, pursuing some recreation, watching TV, or reading a book.

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber” – Plato

Politics is the second most important thing we can be engaged in.  Spiritual work is eternal work that fact alone makes it the most important.  Politics is shaping government for future generations this fact alone makes it worthy of our attention.  To disengage is to abandon the future of the country and the liberties of our children and grandchildren to the ungodly!

The Sovereignty of God Does Not Relieve Man of Responsibility

We readily embrace this reality when it comes to evangelism.   We reject the idea that God’s sovereignty relieves us of the responsibility of preaching the gospel to sinners.   Likewise we should reject the idea that God’s sovereignty relives us of the responsibility of being informed about the political realities of our day.

There can be little doubt that God is sovereign in respect to the rulers and nations of this world.

Psalm 75:7 - But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
Daniel 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:
Daniel 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.

There are biblical examples of men who took responsibility and acted politically.

2 Kings 11:1-16 - Jehoiada and Jehosheba
1 Kings 19:15-17 - Elijah sent to anoint kings over Syria and Israel.

The Judges of Israel - They did not just accept the status-quo of the oppressive kings under whom they found themselves in servitude.

Suffice it to say that the bible is full of examples of people who took an active role in the political process of their day.  Some speaking boldly to the issues of the day.  Others taking active steps to alter the politics of their day.  The bottom line is we have a responsibility to do the right thing, even in politics, and eschew the idea that politics is not something with which we need to concern ourselves.

Politics Matters

The Bible tells us so!

Proverbs 16:10-15  It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
Proverbs 31:4 - It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Proverbs 14:35 - The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
Proverbs 19:12 - The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.
Proverbs 20:2,8,26 – One who judges based on a personal sense of right and wrong.
Proverbs 25:5 - Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Proverbs 29:4 - The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
Proverbs 29:14 - The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.
Proverbs 28:16 - The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
Ecclesiastes 8:4 - Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

Experience tells us so!

FDR left an impression on this country with his New Deal.
LBJ left an impression on this country with his war on poverty.
Nixon left an impression on this country with Watergate and the withdrawal from Viet Nam.
Regan left an impression on this country with his domestic economic policy and his aggressive foreign policy.
Obama is leaving an impression on this country through healthcare advancing a liberal social agenda and an abandonment of historical allies in favor of declared enemies.

Leaders Matter

Exodus 18:21 - Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Acts 6:3 - Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
Nehemiah 7:2 - That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

While I am not a huge fan of Charles Finney from the 19th century I think he is right on here:

“The church must take right ground in regard to politics. Do not suppose, now, that I am going to preach a political sermon, or that I wish to have you join and get up a Christian party in politics. No, I do not believe in that. But the time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them. They must be honest men themselves, and instead of voting for a man because he belongs to their party, Bank or Anti-Bank, Jackson, or Anti-Jackson, they must find out whether he is honest and upright, and fit to be trusted. They must let the world see that the church will uphold no man in office, who is known to be a knave, or an adulterer, or a Sabbath-breaker, or a gambler. Such is the spread of intelligence and the facility of communication in our country, that every man can know for whom he gives his vote. And if he will give his vote only for honest men, the country will be obliged to have upright rulers. . . . Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God. It seems sometimes as if the foundations of the nation were becoming rotten, and Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you, he does see it, and he will bless or curse this nation, according to the course they take.”

God have mercy on the United States of America!
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