Wednesday, July 4, 2018

the government upon His shoulder -- part 2

The Word for today:
1 Samuel 9, 10
Yesterday, we read that Israel wanted a king:
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (8:4-5)
But Israel’s real desire was less about having a king than it was about replacing God with a human ruler:
But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. (8:6-7)
We, today in the USA, don’t clamor for a king, but for a government that will return our country to the prosperity, peace, and prominence that we see slipping away.
Does the Bible have anything to say about government in general? About the United States in particular?
The answer to the second question should give us pause, because the United States is a non-entity in scripture. Suffice it to say that the vortex of history is Israel; and while many nations will have tangential eschatological (end times) roles, it is unclear whether the United States is among them.
About government in general, Scripture has much more to say. I know that parades and picnics and fireworks are calling you, so let’s cut to the chase:
1. The only form of government that the Bible endorses is the government upon His shoulder:
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder. (Isaiah 9:6)
What form that government will take is not spelled out—which is precisely the point! Whether a government takes form x, y, or z doesn’t matter. None of them will work when they are placed on the shoulders of men. But on his shoulder, any one of them could work splendidly. Biblical government isn’t about the process, but about the Person.
2. Whatever form that might take, it will be infinite and infinitely better and better!—
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end. (Isaiah 9:7)
3. God favors none of the current governments/countries over any other. A very telling passage in this regard is found in the book of Joshua, when Joshua (representative of a governing man) encounters the preincarnate Christ. (We know it’s Him because only God accepts worship in scripture.)
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"
"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come."
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"
The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
“Neither,” he replied -- which means that there is no most-favored-nation status in God’s eyes. God is on His own side, because there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace –the commander of the LORD’s army—returns to enforce the peace:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
But what can we do in the meantime, until the Prince of Peace returns to place the government upon his shoulders? We’ll answer that question tomorrow.

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