Elections: When We Gain the Whole World & Lose Our Soul

In the 8th chapter of the Book of 1 Samuel, the leaders of Israel met with the prophet Samuel in Ramah and said, “Give us a king like all the other nations have.” Scripture tells us that Samuel was very upset by this request and “wen to the Lord for advice.” And this is what God said in response to the people’s request to have a king of their own and to be like other nations: 

“Do as they say, for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.”

So Samuel goes back to the people of Israel and tells them about all of the hardships that will be created for them when they submit their lives to a human king … just like other nations. The people refused Samuel’s warning, and said boldly, “Even so, we still want a king. We want to be like other nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle.” 

Samuel told God what the people had said, and God replied, “Do as they say and give them a king.” And so Samuel did, and King Saul brought all the hardships to the people that Samuel had warned them about, and Saul turned out to be a corrupt ruler and an egotistical self-centered man of the world. And the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, has never been the same since. 

Even to this day, Israel is a nation like most other nations in the world: militaristic, self-exalted and only concerned about their own people. And by the way, if you ever go to Israel, you will find a land filled with walls of separation, fences of isolation, and police checkpoints that dominate the landscape. All because these “people of God” have failed to reconcile relations with their neighbors (enemies), the Palestinians, even after more than 2000 years of living together on the same land. 

And I think to myself; the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Just look at the United States today. In my lifetime, I have never seen the people so passionate and aggressive about an election as they are for this one. We are acting like the winner of this election is our chance, finally, to be taken to the Promised Land that God has intended for us and to be saved from all our troubles and hardships. The Trump supporters think he will do this for us, and the Biden supporters think he will do this for us. In either case, the people clearly believe that there is a lot at stake in this election. If only we could see the truth about elections. 

There is not a human being alive who can take us to where we really need to be. Not even Oprah! But yet, we still want a “king” and we still want to be like other nations … only better! 

What if there was another alternative to reach our promised land. Just as ancient Israel missed the opportunity to be led by God and worship God alone, so we too have missed that opportunity. If our people were as intense and enthusiastic about worshiping God as they are about worshipping two candidates for president this year, then 2020 could be a transformational year for us. But instead, even though we know the reality of politics and the truth of government, we have set all that aside for now so that we can openly and sincerely worship our next king, whether it is a Donald or a Joseph. 

Imagine instead if there were a multitude of yard signs that copied the one in Marie Norvell’s yard: “Jesus Christ – For Lasting Change.” What if there were as many billboards about the love of Jesus as there are about the presidential candidates? What if the millions and millions of dollars spent on electing our next “king” was spent instead on serving the most in need in our land. Just think about the “promised land” that could create right here and now! 

And there could be more: constant commercials about the life of Christ and His unconditional love; brochures in the mail everyday about scripture and how it impacts our daily life; flags waving from the back of pick-up trucks with nothing but the Ichthus fish symbol (<><) on them; and my favorite, a national holiday every year when all the people could gather for one big love-festival with music and food and fellowship and the presence of the Holy Spirit. When I run for president, those are the kind of things I’ll be advocating! 

I don’t mean to make light of politics and its potential to bring goodness and healing to a nation. But that’s not what’s happening in our land. We keep electing Saul, regardless of party. And until that changes, nothing changes, and the more things stay the same — just as they were in the Book of 1 Samuel. And until we have a leader whose heart belongs to God, like King David, our fate is sealed as people who worship false idols and expect them to be God-like. 

However, there is hope! There is already an undeniable and unchangeable truth that surrounds all of us even as we stray from God and sink in to the toxic cesspool of self-centeredness and sin that politics has become. And you know that truth in your heart. And it is ready and available to us right now. But to receive it, we must stop wanting to be like other nations … or like anything else of the world for that matter. We must desire God alone. When we do that, then we are on the right path … the one that leads us to our promised land.  

I believe that God is calling us today to change our path. I believe that someday we will forego our earthly kings and idols of the world and come back home to our one true God. I believe that it could happen today, in each of our hearts, if we but faithfully ask God to help us. If we would only try, then I believe that God will respond, and make us a reflection of the Way of Jesus. Yes, we’re a long way from that today, but anything is possible with God. Just read the Bible if you have any doubts. 

When this happens, we will discover that undeniable and unchangeable truth: that despite all the kings and princes and principalities of the world we live in, God is still the ruler of heaven and earth, and Jesus is still our one true King. Now that’s a campaign we should all get behind and support!

Jesus is …                                                                                                                                                                                 Peace in our hearts & light in our darkness,                                                                                                              Pastor Bob <><