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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Some more election thoughts..and videos!

Day #3 from Pastor Reggie Weems

Scriptural paradigms are important for our lives to be biblically informed. Gospel saturation requires personal thought and divine application (1 Timothy 1:7). Such models are like modern voter guides informing us how our predecessors related to Presidents, authorities and governments. What steps did the patriarchs take to follow God in the world

created for them to influence? Here are at least two examples; Joseph in Egypt and Israel in Babylon.

Joseph gladly entered into the service of a Pharaoh, a national leader who considered himself god; definitely not a Christian. Looking back on the circumstances that afforded him that opportunity Joseph understood his political service as divinely orchestrated. “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors,” he tearfully informed his brothers (Genesis 45:7). Joseph interpreted participation in Pharaoh’s government as part of God’s design for his life, the well being of Israel and even that of Egypt; a nation that would soon oppress and seek to destroy Joseph’s descendants.

(This is the God we serve; a God who sent Joseph to save Israel’s oppressors, who sent Jonah to preach salvation to a nation the prophet recognized would soon devastate his people, who sent His Son to save a world that would crucify their only hope. This is the God of mission and mercy whom we represent as we talk about, interact with and vote for candidates. Our speech and action should reflect His passion for His creation. Yet many of us want to opt out. Truly thank God that Joseph, Daniel, Israel and Jesus did not.)

We don’t know how many of Pharaoh’s policies were aligned to God’s word or what programs deviated from the divine scheme. We do know that ungodliness begets unrighteousness (I learned that when 42 men at Heritage read Lloyd-Jones' Romans series) so it is certain that holiness was not on Pharaoh’s to do list in any policy. Yet because of common grace (grace given to unbelievers for the good of all God’s creation) it is quite possible for believers to work with, support and vote for unbelievers. Joseph knew this. Daniel also in the service of quite possibly four of the most heinous leaders of all time; Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. It is possible for us to cooperate with Presidents and others whose major policies are not intentional investments in the establishment of God’s future kingdom. We, as Joseph (and Daniel) do so in support of God’s redemptive agenda; peace, welfare, education, justice, etc., those things that “preserve…a remnant on earth and to keep alive…many survivors.” If Joseph saw God’s providential hand in his support of Pharaoh, we can likewise see our support of a nonChristian leader as stewardship of the world God loves. Should the only people with light run from the darkness leaving untold numbers to perish? How can we justify such cold-hearted self-righteousness and selfishness?

There were probably many Hebrews who thought Joseph had betrayed his country working for the Democrats (or Republicans, whichever you are not). And many Hebrews would have applauded Moses’ murder of an Egyptian who mistreated a captive. But quite the opposite is true from the divine perspective: God called and blessed Joseph in his service to ungodly Pharaoh and punished Moses for betraying God’s sovereignty. God didn’t need Moses to vote against Pharaoh but He did use Joseph's vote for Pharaoh.

Think too about Israel in Babylonian captivity. When that faithless nation was taken into imprisonment so far away from their beloved homeland, the incarcerated Hebrews naturally hated Babylon and refused in every way possible to work toward Babylon’s welfare; whether in commission or omission. They wanted Nebuchadnezzar’s government to fail. Jeremiah counseled the nation with a definitive word from God. Much to Israel’s surprise, the prophet wrote on behalf of God, “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:17).

Serving Babylon’s best interests became a divine mandate. Israel could not remain neutral or work against their captive nation’s well being. God instructed Israel to work toward the welfare of that unregenerate people; their schools, hospitals, politics; no realm was to be unblessed by Israel. Their calling was not to scoff at Babylon’s leadership. They were called to bless, not curse. Nor could they remain idle in those areas where it was apparent the Babylonian civilization was failing. God called them to insert themselves in a positive, productive fashion wherever they could. Doing so was in Israel’s best interests. All of Babylon’s inhabitants prospered as the nation flourished, including Hebrews scattered throughout the country. Does anyone really think nonvoting solves the problems facing America; a country in which the people of God providentially dwell? As well, God didn’t say to work with Babylonians if 50% of a Babylonian policy was approved by God, or to support Nebuchadnezzar or his successors if their policies reflected Hebrew law or culture.

There is simply no reason, certainly no excuse for Christians not to work with unbelievers as part and evidence of faith in God’s work, plan and power, not ours. In effect, voting is Christian ministry; the divine calling of a stewardship of God’s creation; blessed to be a blessing (Gen 12:1-3).

We can’t remove ourselves from the public sphere without it and us suffering the consequences. We cannot refuse to participate in the election process without failing the purpose of God's unmerited grace. We can’t be nonparticipants in the American election process when its darkness, sinfulness and cruelty is nothing compared to that of Egypt, Babylon, the Medes or Persians – to say nothing of the comparative sinfulness of this world to the darling, sinless Son of God who came in spite of us.

Christ should not have voted and remained in heaven. But He came to the voting booth of earth. There He should have voted against us, we who are chief of sinners and worse than any politician. But He entered our sinfulness, suffered the humiliation of being misunderstood by good "Christian" people and worked to our good. Better than Joseph, Daniel, Israel or Jesus are we? Think about that on November 6th.
 
 
And to cap it all off some sweet videos of my three blessings..

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