The People's Blog: Christians, Politics and a Revealing God
BLOGGER’S NOTE: Each Friday, I blog about what YOU, the people, want me to blog about. You can submit topics or questions that you’d like me to address HERE. I’ll choose one (or more) and depending on the subject matter and my mental faculties, the corresponding thoughts may be chatty or concise. Regardless, I promise that I will thoughtfully consider what is sent and will blog to the best of my abilities.
I have two topics to discuss today, because that’s all that came in this week from YOU, the people (er … thanks, Mom!). We’ll start with the Christian’s responsibility in relation to government and voting. And then, I’ll wrap up with a look at how God reveals himself to man.
TOPIC NO. 1: What is the Christian’s responsibility in relation to government, voting, running for public office, etc.?
DISCUSSION: The first thought that came to my mind was the salt and light passage in Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV):
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
We are representatives of Christ on earth—his followers who he has commissioned to take the Gospel to everyone, everywhere. According to Scripture, there are no boundaries and nothing that is off limits. We are to go “into all the world” (Mark 16:15, NIV).
As salt, we add flavor. We are the ones who should be seasoning and preserving the world around us and not the other way around. As light, we are to shine the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever we go. And that includes illumination in the political arena as well.
Also, it’s interesting to take note of Jesus’ example throughout the Gospels. He taught with authority, and he challenged authority—both religious and governmental bodies. He didn’t limit himself or stay within the Christian bubble. He didn’t just associate with those who followed him. No, he was all over the place and spent time in conversation with people from all walks of society (prostitutes, scholars, con men, disciples, the demon possessed, etc.).
Some of us are called to run for political office and to be salt and light on a much grander—and more visible—scale. Others of us fulfill our duties as citizens and vote in local, state and national elections, as we determine who is the best person to be in charge and lead us. We may also volunteer for or financially support different political causes.
Besides our day-to-day witness in our homes, workplaces and communities, our witness via our involvement in government, voting or running for political office is another way in which we can effect change in our culture.
TOPIC NO. 2: Look at the similarities and circumstances of God’s people in Exodus 3 and in the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit came upon the first to gather as the church. Moses: God appears as a flame in a bush. Acts: The Holy Spirit appears as a flame to baptize them.
DISCUSSION: First, let’s remember that I’m not a degreed theologian—just your average, neighborhood student of the Word like many of you.
In both passages, I believe that God is revealing more of who he is to his people. He redeems, he guides and he is faithful and ever present in our lives. What a blessing for his people! And what a wonderful reminder for 21st century believers like us!
Now, taking a closer look at Exodus 3, we find the Israelites under the thumb of the Egyptians. God calls Moses away from a career in shepherding and toward a new role in leading the people out of Egypt.
His made his presence known through a fiery bush, and from there God gave Moses his instructions for the direction his life was to take. …
I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:7-10, NIV).
A little later, when Moses asks what he should say is the name of his God when the Israelites question who has sent him, God says to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites. ‘I AM has sent you.’” God is further defining himself to his people.
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. It was the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover week and a little over a week since the ascension. Christ’s followers were meeting together in a house, when what sounded like the blowing of a violent wind came upon them:
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:3-4, NIV).
Believers from other nations had also come to Jerusalem for Pentecost and were amazed to hear words spoken in their languages. “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:12, NIV).
But some began to make fun of them and accused them of being drunk. Peter then got up and had something to say about that. He preached that this was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as prophesied by Joel. The people repented and were baptized—about 3,000 were added to the number of believers that day.
Besides God’s revealing himself symbolically by fire in each passage, I think that the needs of each people group were met when they were undoubtedly feeling hopeless and alone in their respective situations. Both were seeking answers, and God intervened.
In Exodus, God worked through Moses as “the deliverer.” The people were in bondage—slaves to the Egyptians and without any freedom. How would they ever be saved? God heard their cries, and he sent Moses to save them.
In Acts, he sent his Holy Spirit to be the promised “Helper.” The believers had been alone since Jesus had ascended into heaven. Their Savior was now visibly gone. What would they do and how would they go forward? I’m sure they were discouraged and fearful. But the coming of the Holy Spirit unified, fortified and gave them direction. Later on in the second chapter of Acts, we read the result of this. …
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common … (Acts 2: 42-44, NIV).
When we ponder how the Father has intervened throughout time and has revealed himself as Almighty God to his people, we can only lift our hands and hearts in deepest praise. He did this in the Old Testament, in the New Testament and he still does this today for you and me. Thanks be to God!
To have your topics or questions about anything and everything considered for the next Friday's edition of “The People’s Blog,” please send them to [email protected].