I recently made a comment on my facebook status that went something like this:
“Why is it that Christians start talking about God being in control, only when their party isn’t?”
In other words, why do we (the Church) look to God for his control, only when our earthly leaders are absent?
After the election, I read on the internet many responses by awesome Christian people saying that “God is in control.” Which is absolutely right. But why bring it up now? I believe it’s a subtle admission of placing too much trust and hope in having the “right” (or left) earthly leader.
This is in no way an endorsement of either party or candidate. Think of this, rather, as an endorsement of Jesus. It’s hard to get all bothered by that, isn’t it?
I also read on the internet where someone posted a passage of scripture (1 Samuel 8:10-19):
10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
It was posted obviously in reference to Obama, basically saying that he is going to be a bad president.
I would like to make a point about all this. Some Christians are afraid, angered, saddened, and even ashamed that Barrack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. It’s ok to be disappointed that your desired candidate didn’t get elected. Totally. That’s a bummer.
But I think it’s bringing to light a much greater problem: many Christians have placed their hope and trust in an earthly king to lead them. And only when their desired earthly king isn’t in control do they turn to God.
In the passage above, the issue was not that Israel didn’t want the “right” king to be their leader, it’s that they wanted a king at all. In fact, later on we learn that God himself handpicked the king. Can’t get much more “right” than that.
If you take the time to read the passage in context, you’ll see what I’m talking about (I Samuel 8:6-9):
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
So the issue is not and never has been that we didn’t get the “right” guy (or girl) in power. The issue has always been that we (the Church), like Israel, are so seduced by the world to place our trust and hope in an earthly leader, when our hope and trust belongs to no one but our true King: Jesus.
It’s clear that when the people of Israel asked for a king, God interpreted it as a rejection of him. And I don’t think God views the Church’s scrambling for an earthly leader as anything less, no matter who we wanted to win the election.