Government is Not the Answer

Someone finally said it in straightforward language.Never before have both parties failed so spectacularly, producing two dishonest, deceitful candidates who should be disqualified from running for town council, much less leader of the free world.” (David French, quoted in the Daily Briefing by Nick Pitts at http://www.denisonforum.org/daily-briefing) For everyone who does not rely on God as the only hope for a broken world, such a pair sounds like the end of all that is good in the USA.

Take note that each of these candidates represents what secularism most fondly approves–the actualization of the deep yearnings of human beings who simply want to be the best they can be. Each of these candidates has promised at one time or another to fulfill every possible self-worshiping dream of a secular thinker. Each promises benefits and opportunities galore. If “the people” vote to receive what makes them feel good, either of these candidates will be a fine choice.

Thus, if nothing changes between now and election day, the voters will assuredly elect someone who will give them everything they ever wanted. Voters who believe government is the answer to the brokenness of the world will put the person who agrees with them in a position of immense power. For once, if you believe government is the solution to national and global challenges, you can rest easy, because both of the candidates completely agree with you.

Some of us doubt even the most powerful government on earth can fix all the brokenness. Some of us are quite confident that the answer to the world’s problems does not lie in the space/time continuum at all. We are not alone in our viewpoint. In fact, wise people have always recognized that the evils in the space/time continuum can only be reversed by someone not limited by the space/time continuum. One of the more famous among our number was David, the shepherd who became king of ancient Israel. He wrote, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). The phrase “chariots and horses” is a metaphor for government. Ordinary subjects in David’s lifetime possessed neither chariots nor horses. Government, the king and his retinue, had chariots and horses. In plain speech, then, David said, “Some trust in government, but we trust in God.

Voters who trust in God will be hard-pressed to know how to vote in the election in November. When neither candidate can be considered the “lesser” of the two evils, it is very hard to decide what to do. Fortunately, if we trust in God, a wise and Wonderful Counselor is available to us at all times. In prayer, both speaking and listening, each of us can learn to discern the right course of action.

A good way to begin praying about this problem is to pray Psalm 20 in its entirety. The whole psalm speaks of turning to God for the solution to our problems, but this psalm does not dump government by the side of the road. The psalmist recognizes God’s gift of government as something humanity needs. Human beings need wise human administrators, even when the leaders are, as they inevitably are, broken, flawed leaders. Even though the psalm lays all the problems in God’s hands, it recognizes God’s purposes worked out in human authority structures. The final verse prays for the human government to be subject to God and to do the right thing for the citizens. The psalmist implies, but does not develop, the truth that some problems do not lie within the scope of God’s plan for human leadership. The ultimate authority lies with God, and he delegates authority for various sorts of problems to a variety of people. In the set of all problems, only a subset is within God’s purposes for government.

Pray for your government, and put all the problems in the hands of God. Open your Bible to Psalm 20 and personalize this prayer for your government. Then listen. Learn how God will lead you to perform your own civic duty in this republic of republics and let him guide you to the right way to interact with the government. Only God knows the outcome in November that will advance his kingdom and his purposes.

Advertisements