- - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Though twenty-eight centuries have passed since the days of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, his description of Jerusalem looks like the front page of our own newspapers. He wrote:

How the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water. Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them. (Isaiah 1:21-23)

Isaiah explained why God was about to send judgment upon His people. Leadership had been corrupted, and justice was nowhere to be found. Money spent on bribing officials was commonplace, even as widows and orphans were destitute.

Sound familiar? Like the troubling days described by Isaiah, our nation needs repentance and renewal. Self-serving and secularist leaders need to be replaced by men and women committed to righteousness and justice. The most defenseless among us—widows, orphans, and the unborn—need heroic strength applied to their plight.

For all these reasons and more, Christians need to be involved in government. We need people who fear God and believe that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

James Burgh, a British politician and author whose writings were read in the U.S. colonies before the Revolutionary War, wrote, “It is of great consequence to a kingdom, that religion and morals be considered as worthy the attention of persons of high rank.”

Of great consequence indeed! We need leaders like “the men of Issachar” in the Old Testament, who “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).

Such leaders will be like Nehemiah. Though he had a good job working in the court of one of the most powerful kings who ever lived, discouraging news from his native land caused Nehemiah to step up and become an instrument in the hand of God to change history. First, he wept over the situation. Then, then spoke to God a prayer of repentance, thanksgiving, and petition. He asked God to make possible the rebuilding of the walls. And God did just that—through the labors, sacrifice, and risk Nehemiah undertook.

That is leadership! For those who say, “Christians shouldn’t be involved in government,” how do you explain the book of Nehemiah? As U.S. Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma said, “Consider that all but possibly two of the Old Testament books (Job and maybe Ruth) were written by a political leader, to a political leader, or about a political leader.”

But with a call to enter politics comes a calling to prepare oneself for the task—mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually.

When the Lord called Jeremiah as a prophet, He told Him to prepare, “But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you.” With the Lord’s call on your life and the preparations you have made, Christian politicians can grab onto the promise given to Jeremiah, “Do not be dismayed by them…They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:17-19).

Are Christians guaranteed political success? Absolutely not, but that shouldn’t cause us to shrink back from our duty and leave the results to God. One statesman cannot make every speech, win every legislative battle, or do the heart-change work that is the work of God alone.

But we can plead with our fellow citizens. And plead we must, calling for righteous people to return to service in the public square—like the great patriot Patrick Henry did in his 1765 resolution against the Stamp Act:

“Whether this will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people will make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed on us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt them as a nation. Reader! Whoever thou art, remember this: and in thy sphere practice virtue thyself, and encourage it in others.”

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*Here is the source for the quotes by Burgh and Henry.

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