We get the government that we asked for, or as was sometimes said of the citizens of the former Soviet Union, “they (we) get the government they (we) deserve.” As Jordan Sekulow, of the American Center for Law and Justice, points out in an upcoming broadcast, “…we can blame our government, but ultimately our government is representative of [us].” How very true in our democratic republic! We the People are the ones who elect those who rule over us. Did you catch that? I imagine you expected I would write those who represent us, but in our day, more often than not, it feels more like rule than representation.
Regardless of whether one loves the current occupant of the White House and despises the previous one, or vice versa, many of us are unhappy with the current state of political affairs in our nation. According to a recent Gallup poll, “Three in four Americans (75%) last year perceived corruption as widespread in the country’s government.” Does the Bible deal with any similar situations? Well, yes…
In Israel, in the days of the Judges, the people of Israel went to the prophet Samuel and demanded a king. We read what happened next in 1 Samuel 8:6–9:
But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.” (NASB)
Two centuries later, the prophet Hosea records God’s words about the people of Israel and their king:
They have set up kings, but not by Me; they have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, that they might be cut off. —Hosea 8:4 (NASB)
What God had warned them of through Samuel had taken place: their kings had led them, not in righteousness, but into idolatry and away from God. Sound familiar?
So what can we do? How do we respond? How should we who are followers of Christ live in a world where our leaders are not leading us toward righteousness?
This month on the broadcast, we’ll be interacting with four people who will give us some insight into the political, legal, and cultural morass we find ourselves in, and will offer hope for how we can live for Christ in a world that rejects Him.
To give you a head start in your thinking, here are three key principles that we will consider:
- First, our character is key when we try to influence our culture. We must think, and live, Christianly. We must know not only what we believe, but why we believe it—and we must be able to clearly articulate it to those who ask. As I often say, “Why we believe what we believe is not important; why we believe what we believe is crucial!”
- Second, we must be actively involved. Not just in politics and big cultural movements, but directly in the lives of people around us we hope to influence: on our cul-de-sacs, in our neighborhoods, in our schools, and on our jobs.
- Third, we must understand that taking a stand for righteousness may cost us, and we must be willing to pay the price of doing so. The price may be as small as spending time in prayer for our leaders, or reading and studying so that we’re better equipped to have conversations with people around us. But the price may be higher, monetarily and socially, if we lose friends or jobs because of the stand we take for Christ. Either way, living righteously in our culture has a cost.