Politics: In God We Trust?

As the political season (Is it rabbit season? or duck season?) ends in the next couple weeks, I thought about the candidates and the general worldview of American Christianity in conjunction with politics. There’s been some serious works by the like of Francis Schaeffer, Wayne Grudem, Abraham Kuyper, and of course many more in the field of developing a Christian worldview but I began to see some application from the story of Israel related to the way we view politics.

When God was the King of Israel, he more than faithful and demonstrated his love for Israel in a thousand tangible ways--freeing them from Egypt, manna, quail, water, curing the bitter water, protecting them from their enemies. Yet when Israel was settled in the Promised Land

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them." (1 Samuel 8:4-9)

Now I’m not arguing that we should set up some kind of theocratic government or that America has been led by God directly. However, there seems to be some parallels from this story with our own. The Israelites were being led by God as their King in a very earthly way. The Christian church also advances the kingdom of God spiritually by living in the world. Jesus prayed as he sent us into the world (John 17:14-19) to make more worshipers for him (Matt 28:19-20). Then and now, the reality that God reigns in Heaven (Ps 135:6) and that he rules over the heart of the king or in our case president (Prov 21:1) cannot be dismissed.

However, having God as their king who provided them redemption and rest from their enemy was not enough for Israel. They wanted something tangible--a king like other nations. Are we so far off? Conservatives and liberals are both looking for a political messiah. Someone they can see and rally behind. Someone to save them. Yet the Christians among both parties are not satisfied with the only real King. The One who redeemed them from slavery, provides daily rest from their enemy, and who still holds the heart of the President, Congress, and the judges in His hand.
I’m not saying we should not stridently seek justice for our country and exercise our right to vote but our hope should not be in the outcome of any election. We must realize that the outcome belongs to the Lord in every case. If Cyrus was God’s anointed then isn’t every president? That doesn’t mean we can’t criticize and challenge but our response should be positioned in way that demonstrates we believe God is in control. May we not put our hopes in horses and chariots but in the Lord (Ps 20:7). We should remember In God We Trust.