Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
We are less than a week away from a major national mid-term election. I have spoken in past weeks to the Christian role in civic engagement. This week I would like to remind us, per Psalm 2, that the Lord still reigns from heaven and that proud, manipulating, and ungodly political rulers are nothing new. The picture of Almighty God laughing at those who plot against Him is powerful.
During this time of year, I believe we need to be reminded of a few things. First, above all things, we preach the gospel. We openly speak to others about the hope of eternal salvation by the forgiveness of sins through the grace of Jesus Christ. We believe that the kingdom of God is coming through the preaching of the gospel, and no scheming ruler of the past, present, or future can stop this plan. Second, we find our identity in Christ. Once we come to salvation in Jesus, our identity is firmly rooted in who we are and who we are becoming in Jesus. The central defining part of our person is that we are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Everything else is seen through this lens, and this lens casts a light of love, hope, and peace over our lives. We rest in our new relationship to Jesus.
Third, we find our primary community in our immediate family, then flowing into the local church. Instead of wanting to escape family, Christians want to lean into their spouse and children. Christians rightly desire the formation of marriages and want large families. These families then associate together in the local church. The local church is not just a traditional American past-time. The local Christian church is designed by God for His glory through gathered preaching, musical worship, and prayer. But the local church is also a powerful engine for community and deep relationships. The complementing spiritual and natural gifts that the Lord combines in the local church produce a joint strength.
Fourth, as Christians we live in obedience to God’s moral will. As Christians we do not self-define right and wrong. As Christians we do not allow loud groups in society to define moral right and wrong. We do not accept that civil government has the right to ultimately define moral right and wrong. As Christians we obey the moral will of God, expecting that it will put us greatly at odds with the world.
I believe it’s particularly important to keep these things in mind at this time of year. We participate in government to influence government. Voting is a fundamental part of this influence. However, our hope is not in government. Our identity is not tied into party affiliation. Political associations are not our primary community. Our hope is not tied to a candidate. Party platforms do not determine our moral values. This time of year, the pull of politics is strong. Many people in our day have been influenced by 24-hour news cycles to become obsessed with politics. This is an easy thing to identify. You’re obsessed with what you cannot stop thinking and talking about. If people know that you’re going to turn the conversation to politics if it lasts longer than five minutes – then you’re obsessed with politics. If this describes you, I urge you to revisit the four fundamentals above.
We must keep our eyes on Jesus, preach the gospel, bear one another’s burdens, care for widows and orphans, enjoy the goodness of God, obey His will and from this base participate in government. We should be people that may talk about politics, but are certain to talk about Jesus and His church. The watching world should squarely associate us with Christ and His purposes in the world.
Next Tuesday I urge you to pray, vote according to Christian virtue (if you need candidate position clarity, please visit The Family Foundation of Virginia), then go on preaching the gospel and loving your neighbor. Remember that the Lord reigns and the local church is God’s plan for reaching the nations with His good news!
Blessed are all who take refuge in Christ,