Faith and Politics
Looking for faith in all the wrong places...
By Jordan Walker
Jordan also blogs at He who has ears, let him hear
America is a strange place. As a nation built on the foundations of Judeo-Christian values and ethics, our country has enjoyed a long and beneficial, though sometimes uneasy, relationship with the Church. Combine that with the centrality of national Israel throughout the Old Testament, and you are bound to get some interesting ideas about the good ol' US of A and its relationship to God. Though there is a fringe element of Christianity that believes that the US is the new Israel, and as such it is literally "God's country," that is not a view that most would espouse. Nevertheless, we all have a tendency to read America into the Bible. When we read II Chronicles 2:17, we cannot help but to think that this Scripture must be applicable to us as a nation. The fact that national Israel in the Old Testament is constantly pointing toward the spiritual Israel established in the New Testament Church is easy to overlook indeed.
A prime example of this can be seen in the current election cycle. I was reading some back and forth banter on a conservative social media post today when I was confronted by an interesting comment. In a discussion on the dire situation in the Republican party, a man had quoted from Ezekiel 22:30 which in the KJV reads, "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: But I found none." He was using this text to discuss his view that the Republican Party was getting behind a relatively godless man in Donald Trump. He seemed to be thinking that we are, as God was in Ezekiel 22, seeking a man who will stand up for the people before the Almighty. Though some truth rings out through this strange interpretation, ultimately this gentleman had missed the point of this passage entirely. In a perfect example of our preoccupation with America, he was reading something into the text (eisegesis) that simply wasn't there. You see, God wasn't really looking amongst mortal men for a strong leader to stand in the gap — He was pointing toward the One who would stand perfectly in this breach between a perfect God and a sinful people — He was pointing toward His son, the Christ (see also Psalm 106:23).
This particular comment on Donald Trump and Ezekiel 22:30 is not spawned from some cultish Christian group, rather it seems to be an ideology that has overtaken much of the self-identifying "Evangelical" population. While many are simply desiring a God-fearing leader in the office of President, many others are truly looking for someone to intercede for us, to make up the hedge before God for us, and ultimately to turn away His wrath so that our country might be healed. This latter group is using Old Testament Messianic prophecies and promises to discuss the national politics of the United States. These people are not looking for a president, they are looking for a savior. Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news...
Most people want the bad news first, so here it is: The President, no matter how great he is in any respect, can never offer that type of salvation before God. A President might be a great leader for us; Israel of old certainly had some excellent Kings. A President may influence a variety of social reforms that bring us back into a closer alignment with the laws of the Creator. Heck, a President might even follow through on his campaign promises and "make America great again" (whatever that means...). But we all must come to the realization that none of that solves the greatest problem that we have, not only as Americans, but as human beings. It cannot solve our problem of death-producing sin against a holy and just God. The next President certainly cannot help us there.
Now for the gospel (i.e. the good news): Jesus has already perfectly filled that vital role of mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5). You do not need a President to save you, for the Son of God has already accomplished all that was needed on that eternal front. While a President who can help solve our national debt would be a great thing, the Christ who settled your sin debt is a far greater thing for those of us who believe (Ephesians 1:7). Sure we ought to pray for a godly man who will stand up for his faith in the highest office of our land, but we do not need a man to stand in the breach before God since Jesus Himself ever stands in that gap making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34).
While we, as Christians, ought to pray fervently for the Lord to shed His grace and mercy on the country in which we live, we must keep the temporal things of this world in perspective. We cannot let American pride override the truth that we are, first and foremost, God's people who are only sojourning in this place for a time. Let us vote our consciences and be as politically active as we feel the need to be, but we must never lose sight of the One who is already standing in the gap before God for us.
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues | Political-Issues
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