Over the last several weeks we have been hearing more and more about threats to our American way of life. We regretfully are hearing of Americans that are joining up with the likes if ISIS. Even over the past month we heard of a recent Muslim convert beheading his co-worker. Then, there is the constant news reports of Ebola. We have now not only our first confirmed death of an Ebola patient in our country, but it is now reported that someone contracted Ebola, not from traveling overseas, but from treating this patient that has passed away. There have been other reports of Ebola reaching various cities known for having international travel like Washington DC and Boston. It certainly is a scary time we like in. Add to this the constant array of political advertisements that seem to be bashing every politician you would think that the world as we know it would come to an end if we picked the wrong one.
This is all worryganda. It is made to make us think that something awful is about to happen. It is made to keep us glued to the TV awaiting the next piece of horrific news. It is made to keep us looking to someone to give us the answers. And over the last 10-20 years, as I have become more aware of attitudes among the people, I have seen that the government tends to be the one that should hold all the answers. The government should tell us what marriage is. The government should take care of this Ebola problem. The government needs to take down ISIS. The government should solve our economic crisis. The government should take care of our healthcare, and so on and so on.
I am not saying it is wrong to have a national government. But I am saying it is wrong to look to the government for all of our answers. Israel had no centralized government when it was first established as a nation. God used judges to govern the people. These judges overlapped and seemed to be regional for the most part. Meaning, that it was not have been unusual to see 2 or 3 judges serving at the same time. The last judge, Samuel, certainly have more of a national circuit (I Sam. 7:16). It was during his days that Israel wanted a central government. They wanted a king, just like everyone else (I Sam. 8:5). When Samuel spoke to God concerning this request, God replied, “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them (I Sam. 8:7).” Israel’s desire for a king was a direct assault to the throneship of God in heaven. He was their rightful ruler, not the judges. God was king. Israel rejected his lordship and sought a central government to meet their needs. God warned them of what would happen if they took for themselves a king, just like everyone else and Israel refused to listen and wanted what they believed a government could provide (I Sam. 8:11-19).
God wanted them to understand that a central government was not the answer to al the hardships that they faced. The constant assault from the surrounding nations had nothing to do with the fact that didn’t have a king to lead them. Anyone familiar with the book of judges knows that the reason why various nations like the Amorites, Ammonites, and Philistines constantly waged war against them was because there was always a generation being raised up that did not know God (Jud. 2:10). As you read through the books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles you notice that similar theme continuing. When a good king sat upon the throne Israel (or Judah) would have times of prosperity. Their enemies though great would be defeated. Bad kings, that encouraged Israel to commit spiritual adultery always found themselves at odds with the surrounding nations. The message God wanted them to understand is that a strong central government was not the answer to the problems that plagued them.
Now, I realize that America is hardly Israel. Israel was sanctioned and established by God. America was created by men who cast off the tyrannical oppression of the rule of Great Britain. But, we cannot permit ourselves to turn to our government to solve our problems. The Psalmist six occasions calls God our stronghold, our fortress, nine times God is called our rock. I especially like Psa. 62:2, 6. Here the Psalmist says twice “You are my only rock.” There is no other one to take a stand. There is no other one to bring comfort. There is no other one to give shelter in the hour of need. God alone. As we see ISIS growing in power, as we see the Ebola virus continue to take lives, as we see other forms of worryganda taking shape in our world, let us remember to turn to God. Let Him be our king. Let Him take care of us.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 5 Issue 45