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Although this is not primarily a Canadian issue, the recent national election in the United States has a huge impact on Canada as well. On November 3 the United States of America voted for their next Commander in Chief. The stakes couldn’t be higher while differences between the two political parties are bigger than ever. They spill over into Canada to cause the same division between the political right and left in our nation.
From a Judeo-Christian standpoint one of the pivotal issues is the sanctity of human life. So is agreeing with God’s sovereign plans for Israel and the Jewish people as defined by the Holy Bible (compared to what also happens which is largely the result of exploiting Biblical precepts related to Israel for political purposes – a whole other issue). Perhaps the most important issue of all is about defending the rights of Americans to have a secure system in which the votes legally cast were the sole basis for deciding the outcome of the election.
There’s a point where a state of democracy is preyed upon by other influences seeking to exploit it for the purpose of dismantling the Judeo-Christian nations as we currently know them. A democracy means the majority rules based on a system of elected officials being hired by the public to become public servants, as a result of a legal vote. Every legal citizen, whoever they are gets to cast one vote. If the majority decide to vote for leaders who oppose western freedom and democracy, they effectively give them a green light to go ahead and destroy those things.
Something else must be put in place to reinforce freedom for the people who seek to live according to Biblical morality. That would be the Kingdom of God. Life in the Kingdom of God will sustain freedom on an individual basis regardless of what’s going on all around us. It puts in place a system of law and order that can be upheld on a personal level to counteract any chaos and anarchy takes place in our societies. Especially when a national election becomes an opportunity for using democracy to destroy democracy.
From a Canadian perspective the recent election in USA presents a picture of a nation deeply divided. It also points to the reasons it’s necessary to keep the life of the Church separate from politics in order to best intercede for the nation in general. The Bible calls for this separation in Romans 12 and 13, for example, especially in dealing with enemies. Romans 12 calls the Church to bless and not curse, and to overcome evil with good. Romans 13 explains that the governing authorities are put in place by God to bring punishment on wrongdoers. Two whole different mandates that may complement each other but must have boundaries in place to do so effectively.
Since the political systems of this world rely on economics even more than the things of God the end result at best, is a mixture of the two. Even seasoned evangelists can get it wrong by supporting politicians out of a sense that everything’s hopeless if the right person doesn’t get in office. This, while the Creator of the universe has countless ways to fulfill His promises in His Word for those who love Him and keep His covenant commands.
The truth is that once the influence of money is added to the true gospel message, it can give way to the deceitfulness of wealth so the final result is zero fruit for the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13). People in positions of religious power wrongly believe the level of their income is automatically a sign of being blessed by God and having His authority when in fact they could simply become wealthy through fraud and theft. When they engage with politicians to get things done it doesn’t automatically mean they represent the will of God in doing so.
True authority in Christ is about taking up the cross to walk as He did so that His love is greatly magnified to a hurting, dying world: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Where His authority over whole nations comes in, has to do with His word to Jacob that He’d raise up a company of nations alongside Israel to fulfill His sovereign plans described in the Bible. So the nations who call on His Name will be recognized by their support for the Jewish state. It creates an automatic division in a democratic nation where people are free to think for themselves and elect officials who represent the will of the majority. Now more than ever, this division has become extremely pronounced in the United States of America.
The Kingdom of God manifests through the body of Christ in our nations, not through a state of democracy where nonbelievers are also encouraged to exercise their freedoms. It’s not Biblical to try to force them to accept a religious theocracy as a form of government against their will. Instead, it’s important to keep church and state separated, and let God be God. His will gets done anyway when the Church learns to put first things first. As Jesus said “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added” (Matthew 6:33).
Isaiah 40 says that to God the nations amount to a drop in a bucket compared to who He is. When the Church gets drawn into politics so much that believers think they can’t function fully in the will of God unless a certain politician gets put in place, it actually holds the Church back from all that God created it to be. It’s the Church, not the geopolitical state, that’s meant to successfully withstand the gates of hell itself (Matthew 16:16-18). That may not happen when the realm of politics is given higher priority than the things on which the true Church is established: the revelation directly from God to individual people about Immanuel, aka Jesus Christ, as God in the flesh.
On the other hand the true Church is meant to be a house of prayer for the nations. So it could be said that the state of a nation is a reflection of the power of God at work in the Church. It could also be an indication of the lack of God’s power moving in the Church. Either way, in order for the Church to have greatest impact on the affairs of a nation it needs to stay separate from politics for various reasons.
The Church needs to stand unmoved as a fixed beacon of the Light of Christ which beams out His unconditional, sacrificial love to a hurting world. It represents the hope of Christ in the most trying circumstances. The love of God brings the light of Christ that dispels all darkness and replaces fear with hope. In the same way that a lighthouse is meant to stand firm on solid ground, the true Church is established to remain unyielded to the storms of darkness and deception in this world. Some of the worst storms come through the realms of politics where individuals pretend to want to serve the public but are really out to advance themselves only.
The political realms can get so blown out of proportion compared to the things of the Kingdom of God, we can wrongly believe that if we don’t have certain people in positions of power God won’t bless His people who call on His Name. If certain people are determined to do evil, even in places of high office, then somehow this over-rules the godly choices and behaviour of those who commit to live for God. Then He will be angry and bring judgment on the nations because of it, rather than looking for some to stand in the gap to pray for redemption, and for mercy to triumph over judgment. Often this attitudes arises when we are motivated by fear rather than the redeeming love of Christ.
The truth is that it’s dangerous to elevate any one person to the status of infallibility, as much as he or she might seem right for the job. If that person falters, it gives the impression that all he or she represented falters as well, when in fact it can still be carried forward in the lives of those who supported them. This is one advantage to a Judeo-Christian society where the idea of having an individual relationship with God is the central theme. There are always more people whom God will use to advance His sovereign will, if others fall short. Then the glory goes to Him alone.
The truth is that God knows the motives of each human heart and He answers our motives as well as our spoken prayers. His plans for His Kingdom to manifest on the earth as He is in heaven, may not be the same as we envision it on the ground. What we think is best may not be the best, but God may have something better we haven’t even thought of yet. When we face uncertainty due to the status of any one individual or political party, we can still find certainty, clarity, and unshakeable confidence in God Himself. He will do what He says in His Word that He will do, and as revealed to the prophets He raised up to speak truth about it. His sovereign will prevails regardless of what happens to flesh and blood humans.
The Bible also shows how He sometimes deliberately allows His people to be at a disadvantage before the enemy; not so they will lose, but so that when they win anyway He alone gets the glory. In the account of Gideon He insisted that Gideon had too many men to fight a battle. Otherwise when they won at His hand they might take the glory for themselves. He told him to scale down the numbers from thirty-two thousand to three hundred men (Judges 6-8). Only after that, Gideon and his army won a great victory over the enemy and God got the glory.
In the account of David and Goliath, the armies of Israel were stumped by their enemies as led by the giant. David was a shepherd boy at the time who was sent to bring food to his brothers serving in Israel’s army. It’s been said that he never set out that day to slay Goliath; he only wanted to bring sandwiches to his brothers but Goliath got in the way. He triumphed over the enemy not because he knew his own strength, but because He knew about how the power of God is perfected in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:6). Sometimes God deliberately allows His people to be in positions of weakness in order to show Himself strong.
In a similar manner, the victory for the Judeo-Christian nations in which we live is not just about ensuring they win at a political level. It’s not all about sustaining patriotic pride for all to see, regardless of who lives for the Kingdom of God and who doesn’t. There’s a point where freedom to do evil comes to an end so the people of God are free to live in peace. There’s a much greater goal to aim for and that’s to honour above all else the Name of the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. One of the results is a nation that is redeemed in His Kingdom and delivered from all evil that would undermine His sovereign plans, especially for the nation of Israel. Aim for that goal and stay focused on God Himself, and watch what He’ll do that we can’t seem to get done in our own power.
A common emotion arises at times like this, giving the sense that we have to fight in our own power. We may see great evil happening and clearly recognize it as such, but unless we call on the Name of the Lord to defend HIS honour in our nation, we may find we lose hope by trying to overcome evil in our own strength. Without the influence of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives to do that, we have no strength to overcome at all.
To be born again in the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said true believers must do, is to allow God to transform us from the inside out by the power of His Holy Spirit (John 3). He leads us to put first things first: (1) to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and (2) to uphold the first and greatest commandment above all else – ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is one God. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength”. The second greatest commandment – ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ – cannot be carried out properly if we don’t put first things first.
To put first things first is to stand with God’s sovereign plans for Israel and the Jewish people. It’s to respect His commands and heed them, related to godly moral behaviour. To do these things and then still face uncertain times, means it’s ultimately up to Him to do for us what He promised for those who love Him. He promised to bless those who bless the Jews and their homeland of Israel. He promised that we could ask for whatever we want and expect to receive it, so we can bear much fruit that will last for His Kingdom (John 15). If we are being led by the Holy Spirit to stand firm for His Kingdom to manifest on earth as it is in heaven, then we can thank Him that we receive whatever we ask for, for His glory and for the benefit of our nations.
So as Moses said to Joshua as he was about to lead God’s people into the Promised Land ““Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8).
We are now at the end of the age when the fulfillment of prophecy about a reconstituted state of Israel is happening before our eyes (Isaiah 60). There are many aspects of it that give the enemy a great foothold to steal, kill and destroy but there is one that proves to be a source of unshakeable victory: a Spirit-led two-way relationship with the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, who does for us what we can’t do in our own strength, to uphold His precepts. By the power of the Holy Spirit we overcome all evil by acknowledging this, by humbling ourselves before Him in pray and praying with great courage: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. Then we pray for the nations in which we live to line up with that.
Some other powerful prayers including simple statements that hand very complicated situations over to God to be sorted out. For example “By the power of Christ above all in me, I crush the head of the serpent over …. [fill in the blank – people, places, things, even whole nations]”. Then watch Him do it while we go about our business and serve others as we see fit.
Another powerful pray to pray often is “Hang the hamans on their own gallows.” This is from Esther 8, where the evil man named Haman went to great lengths to exploit the laws and have them changed so a certain group of people – the Jews – would come under a death sentence. He had a gallows built on which to hang one Jewish man in particular. In the end the tables were turned and Haman was hung on his own gallows. Then the people of God were told by the king to rise up, fight back and write new decrees however they saw fit to overcome their enemies.
As the results of the US election play out, from a Canadian standpoint we stand in the gap for our good neighbours to the south and pray for God’s sovereign will to prevail. We pray for all the Hamans to be exposed and hung on their own gallows, whoever they may be, and for the Lord Himself to crush the head of the serpent over this powerful nation as His people who live there, seek to put first things first. He knows the true motives of each human heart and He knows how to prosper our nations against all odds when even a minority of His people rise up to exalt His Name over all the earth.
We pray for the United States of America as well as Canada, that the Lord will keep people in place to hold back the power of lawlessness, and those on all sides of the political spectrum who are intent on doing evil, who behave in treacherous ways with their own interests at heart, will be exposed and defeated for the glory of the risen Lord Jesus Christ who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, amen.