A few years ago, my wife and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a trip to London, Paris, and Rome. As a history and film fanatic, each city was electric and magical, and it felt like we were stepping into thousands of years worth of experiences, beauty, and culture.
We toured the tower of London, where kings ruled and the fates of nations were determined. We stood under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, built to commemorate Napoleon’s military conquests and victories. We walked through the ruins of the Roman Forum, the center of a global empire for centuries upon centuries, now falling apart in broken fragments – a shadow of what once was.
Nations will rise and fall. Kingdoms will crumble down. Every single one, with a singular exception.
Yet we have always longed for a ruler to swoop in and save the day.
In 1 Samuel 8, the people of Israel had been pleading with the prophet to give them a king to reign over them. They wanted to be like all the other nations who were ruled by tangible human beings in whom they could trust. And the Lord gave them what they want, but with a warning, essentially saying, “Earthly kings will take, take, take. They are broken, selfish, flawed, and in the end, they will let you down. But if that’s what you want, then here you go.”
This scenario sounds eerily familiar right now in the United States. It seems we have fallen for the same scam Israel did - placing their ultimate hope and trust in an earthly ruler.
Conversely, some feel equally desperate because the quality of leaders who have risen to the top are not quite the cream of the proverbial crop. To say the least, there are some significant moral, character, and leadership flaws. For those who have looked for a savior in the White House, the options on the table have produced little more than indignant outrage coupled with weeping and gnashing of teeth.
In spite of all their promises, no President can save us. Not the current one nor any other that follow.
Our hope is not in politicians. We were not created to trust in men.
All the legislation in the world cannot make the heart of man good. All the rules and laws, systems and processes cannot take a heart of stone and turn it to a heart of flesh. Only the Spirit of God can do that, by the power of the Gospel. People need that much more than they need another Facebook meme decrying the demonic nature of the opposing political party.
I am not saying to check out of the political process entirely. While I personally believe Christians should take seriously their responsibility as citizens to help shape the culture around them, both politically and otherwise, I am not qualified to give advice to anyone on how they ought to proceed in political matters. That is not my aim here.
My aim is the aim of Scripture – to remind you that Jesus reigns supreme, sovereign over all. He is the Christ, the great I AM. He is the one who changes times and seasons; removes kings and sets up kings; gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21) His hands hold the president’s like a stream of water, turning it wherever he will! (Proverbs 21:1)
Therefore, no matter what happens in the realm of politics, we can bypass the freak-out and skip straight to worshiping the King of All. He is an unshakeable rock, a steady cornerstone. He is God and we are not. Nothing can stop or stay his mighty hand. He will have his way.
We long for a ruler because God has made us for The Ruler. Every other ruler is a shadow, but Christ is the substance. When they fail, He is perfect. When they are broken, He is whole. When they are liars and cheats, He is trustworthy and true. When they "take, take, take," He already gave us everything at the cross to rescue us for Himself.
In these turbulent times, you need not fear. Though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, you need not worry. He is with us, in us, for us. We can be still and know that he is God.
Some trust in Presidents, some trust in kings, but we will trust in the name of the Lord, our God.