We’re in a very political season in our nation. Americans are deeply divided and emotions are running high with increasingly disparate worldviews being expressed.
It seems there are two general tendencies within the Christian community. There are those who want to separate and have nothing to do with government or civic practices, essentially creating their own parallel culture. (How then are we to be salt and light?) And there are those who think that with the right legislation, we can have an obedient nation that reflects God’s standards. (How does that move hearts and minds toward God?)
The Bible gives us some examples of God’s people working from powerful positions within the kingdoms and governments of their day.
Through influencing the power structure (her husband, the king), Esther saves her people from genocide.
Daniel’s reputation of integrity gives him influence within the government (the king).
Likewise, the wisdom and integrity of Joseph (son of Jacob) elevate him to the top of influence with the Pharaoh.
Moses is trained and raised “in the system” – and then works externally to effect God’s plan.
In the New Testament, there is the Centurion who yielded his power in a benevolent way with the Jews. And Joanna, wealthy wife of Herod’s business manager, who financially supported Jesus’ ministry
These are all godly people who had great influence for good within a power structure that did not honor God.
In the historically unique situation of the United States, where we have the privilege of some say in who will govern us, let us prayerfully seek those who lead with true wisdom and justice. I hope our search finds Daniels and Josephs to lead us. There is good that can be done and justice that can be rendered.
But let’s not be lulled into hoping that the proper government or leader will bring a righteous society. All earthly institutions are marred. The kingdom of God isn’t legislated into hearts and minds. Changed society works from the bottom up, not the top down.
The kingdom of God will never be realized here until He returns to rule. Let’s not confuse earthly institutions with spiritual ones. But God did place people within power structures to effect good. As we work toward a good, righteous society, let it come from changed people and not merely from changes in the laws and leadership.
… I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2