Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Coming Kingdom

"God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne."  Psalm 47:8

Election Day 2012.  Today we are faced with choices.  These are ripples in the water, the kind of choices that will affect not only ourselves but our family, friends, nation, and the world.  Will we stand in the gap for our nation through prayer, or do nothing?  Will we vote for leaders who uphold truth and justice, or do nothing?  Will we trust in God as sovereign, or fear the disasters that are coming upon our nation?  Will we answer the call to our God-given privilege and responsibility, or stand idly by as the storm clouds gather on the horizon?  It has been said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  (Edmund Burke)  But if you are like me, you may find yourself wondering if anything you do is going to make a difference at this point.  We hear stories of corruption and manipulation in the election process.  The candidates are constantly slinging mud at each other.  The media tries more and more to tell us how to think.  Our economy is on the brink of collapse.  We are quickly losing the favor and respect of other nations.  Our culture is filled with corruption and immorality is the accepted norm.  It brings to mind this passage from Isaiah...."Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey."  Isaiah 59:14-15

To be honest, I have not been praying fervently and earnestly for my country and for the results of this election.  And I wonder how many of us have been?  Often I put these things out of my mind and in selfishness I choose not to care, as long as it doesn't affect me and my little world.  But as I come to know God more and to understand what matters to Him, I realize that this is not about me or my world or an election or the United States of America or all the nations....all these are drop in a bucket to God.  This is about Him.  It's about His glory, His kingdom, His reign over all things, His agenda.  We and all our history and the history of the world since the beginning is part of His story.  As I turned my thoughts to Him this morning and spent some time in the Word and prayer concerning this Election Day, this is what I learned.

Many times in the Bible, we can read the prayers of Godly men who pleaded for mercy upon their nation.  They knew judgment was immenent and they prayed for God to stay His hand.  So I asked God to have mercy on our nation, to put men at the helm who have the wisdom and courage to turn this ship around before the storm hits.  Leaders who understand the times and know what our country should do.  I believe it is right to pray this way.  As citizens of the kingdom of God, we have a responsibility to care for the souls of men and to stand in the gap.  But we must see beyond this.  Maybe it is time.  Time for God to shake all that can be shaken in our world.  Time for the church, the bride of Christ, to walk through fire and come out refined and ready for the wedding.  Time for everything to fall apart so that people will call upon God and turn from their wicked ways and be saved.  This too is part of God's kingdom.  His story.  We know that judgment is coming.  We know that Jesus Christ will soon return.  We know that every knee is going to bow before Him.  Again, let's be honest.  Could it be that in my prayers for mercy, my only true concern is for myself and the people I love?  I don't want my comfortable world to be dissolved.  In my heart of hearts, I know that God is my only Rock and I cannot hang on to anything else.  I know that loving Him means dying to myself and my kingdom.  I know I probably need to have my world drastically rocked before I will follow Christ with abandon.  But I don't want to pray for it. 

Now what will I do if God does stem the tide for awhile longer?  Will I make the most of the opportunity to win the world for Christ and to do everything in my power to have a Godly influence on the culture and the government?  I haven't done so up to this point.  What makes me think that I will start doing things differently if God answers my prayer for mercy?  Does God know that His people will wake up and be watchmen if He gives us another grace period?  Or does He know that we will only wake up through severe trial and testing?  Maybe it is time.  Time for God to strip all the glitter from our lives and the pretense from our hearts.  Time for us to lose everything we cling to so tightly, that we may gain what cannot be lost.  And, as we read in the book of Esther, our Father has brought each one of us to the kingdom, the kingdom of His Son, for such a time as this.  The storm is coming.  The lines will be drawn.  Our true allegiance will be discovered.  And so we must pray.  We must pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done, regardless of personal cost.  We must pray that people everywhere will be brought out of darkness and into light and will come to the knowledge of the truth, for it is His will that no one should perish but that all should come to repentance.  Whatever happens at the polls today, whatever happens in the next four years, may the Kingdom of our God become flesh and blood in our lives, as real as it already is in Heaven.  Don't be terrified by what is ahead.  Take comfort in the living Word of our Father.  We can know that He is with us.  And we can know that come what may, He will be exalted.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea...the nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utter His voice, the earth melts.  The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our fortress.  Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"  Psalm 46:1,2,6,7,10

Be exalted, O God!