Wednesday, May 30, 2012
America is not a covenant nation.
And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the LORD gave them rest all around.
2 Chronicles 15;15
King Asa's heart was true in his commitment to serve the Lord. And he led Judah to return with a firm commitment to worship God. The nation once again found identity in the covenant made with God. And the result was a national spiritual renewal that gave the people the experience of peace and all the promised rewards of the covenant. Judah knew peace when the nation returned to God.
The story is fascinating to read. But I believe many Christians mistakenly jump to making a national application out of passages like this one. The reasoning goes something like this... "See, a king turned to God and led a the nation of Israel in reform back to the worship of God. God blessed the nation again. So if America would just elect a resolute Christian as president, we could return to God and be wildly blessed by Him." But this thinking is flawed at several levels. I will point out two of them.
First, America is not the people of Israel, so this in no way is a pattern for us to follow. In the Old Testament God made a unique exclusive covenant with Israel. It is not for us or with us. It is with the descendants of Abraham and specifically with Israel. God has NOT made the same covenant with America. God is not bound to bless us if we bind ourselves in worship to Him. At least not at a national level. This thinking assumes that America is some kind of Christian covenantal nation like Israel was in the Old Testament. We are not.
Secondly, a president in the United States is not like a king in ancient Jerusalem. Asa was a leader who was bound by the Davidic covenant that God made uniquely with David and his descendants. He was bound by it as well as the Law of God for all of Israel. As such, he had a unique relationship and position unlike any political structure we have in place today. We cannot expect presidents to be religious leaders nor should we make our choices based on their beliefs. There is a doctrinal truth operative in the church known as the "priesthood of all believers". Unlike ancient Israel, each individual christian can come to God in prayer, repentance, and sacrificial love without an intervening priest. We do not need a national king to show us how to obey God either. God has blessed each individual christian church with its own qualified leadership (Ephesians 4) and christians are responsible for their own spiritual growth and maturity as well (Galatians 6:3-5).
It saddens me that every four years the christian church in America defaults to this covenantal view during the politics of a presidential election. Yes, our leaders are important in our society. Yes, voting is a privilege each individual should exercise well according to conscience. Christians ought to vote with christian principles in their hearts. I know I will be voting that way. But let's not in any way confuse ourselves with a covenantal mindset. Jesus came to forever change all of that with His kingdom! Our allegiance is to the King of kings. Politics is insignificant to that life arranging priority!