November 6, 2012. The candidates will once again line up and let this country’s citizens choose their leader, and the great machine called democracy will roar to life at voting booths everywhere.
At no time in my life has the political arena been more prominent to me than these past few years. The election of President Obama, if it did nothing else, stirred people’s indignation like no other in my memory. And while I have stayed blissfully ignorant of most political issues, I often found myself joining in the fiery frenzy of the great Republican outcry, but all the while it felt like I was shouting and shaking my fist at something that had little or nothing to do with me. I think God was whispering to me; I just needed to stop shouting so I could hear Him. I discovered that there is something familiar in our shouting.
The Jewish people had been promised a Messiah, and they eagerly waited for Him to appear. But it turns out, their reason for wanting a Messiah was different than God’s reason for giving them one. They were looking for a political ruler, a King who would free them from tyranny, and set up His rule over Israel. He did not meet their expectations, so they turned on Him and crucified Him.
Even after His death and resurrection, we see His disciples’ inability to fully grasp what Jesus came here to do. They had embraced Him as the true Messiah, were confused at His death, and were still trying to get the picture in focus after His resurrection, when He spoke with them of the Kingdom of God. Their question shows the fuzziness of that picture.
“So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'” (Acts 1:6)
We aren’t all that different, if you ask me. Don’t we elect our president with the hopes for restoration of America? Those in the Church ally themselves with the candidate who looks most like us, and on election day we are essentially asking the same question the disciples asked. “Lord, are You at this time going to restore America to You? (did we cast enough votes, Lord?)”
And we, including those in the Church, are outraged by those on the other side of our political alliance, who, in our minds, vote for the darkness to increase. I think our outrage is rooted in a mistaken belief that we have a right to live in a darkness-free zone because, after all, this is America (one of roughly 196 nations on the earth, and not even the one referred to as the apple of His eye…but still), and our money clearly says we trust in God.
So, in our great indignation we rail against the government/president/mayor/grocery store manager. We can see them, so its easier than railing against the “rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” that we cannot see. Wait. Did you catch that? Rewind it. “against the powers of this dark world…”. And there you have it. Our world, all 196 nations, is dark, and getting darker. As it turns out, it’s not the Democrats’ fault. Who knew?
We will never be able to vote darkness out of our country. We are the light of the world, and our light is to draw people out of darkness. It is to reveal not a political ruler, but a crucified Savior. Our agenda is the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of America. By virtue of living in a democracy, we have the civic right to cast our vote for a leader, but we are not voting in the one man who can turn back the darkness. Scripture clearly tells us that darkness will increase.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2Timothy 3:1-4)
But, lest we become discouraged, let us also remember that there is an end in sight. There is a King. He has made the world a promise, and He will fulfill it.
Yes, a King will come, and the light will be taken from the world.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. “ (1Thessalonians 4:16-18)
A King will come, and it will be a bad day for darkness.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True… He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean….He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
A King will come, and the darkness will be no more.
“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)
A King will come, and it will truly be finished.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
In the meantime, darkness does threaten. But when we read scripture, primarily Paul’s letters to the churches, we see that he wasn’t so much concerned about the darkness outside the church as he was the darkness threatening the church from within.
There are rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil that target our own hearts and minds, our homes and our families, and thus, the Church.
Does it have our full attention? Are we casting aside our own deeds of darkness, renewing our own minds, guarding what our eyes see and our tongues speak? Are we asking God to ruthlessly search our hearts and expose our own darkness?
Or are we just convinced it’s all the President’s fault, while we hope that this time we’ll vote darkness outa here and once again be right with God?