Thoughts on the Election

IF YOU THINK WHEN THE ELECTION is over, we’ll have relief from politics for a while, think again.

November 5, 2008, is the first day of the NEXT election cycle, and the talking heads and pundits and chattering media will begin the endless blather all over again.

If it sometimes seems as if the Most Important Thing happening in the world is whatever is happening in Washington, D.C.—if it seems as if the Most Important Person in the universe is the President of the United States, then your perceptions are working fine.

What is this strange fascination—verily, obsession—focused on the apparent supreme leader of the whole wide world?

Truth is, the desire to have a Great Leader isn’t new—whether that leader is the worship-demanding dicatator of North Korea or the latest occupant of the Oval Office. Elevating a human being to near-deity status is on record from long ago.

Example?

When God Himself was still in charge of national affairs, with the prophet Samuel as His spokesman, the nation’s leaders came to Samuel and said (paraphrasing):

“You don’t have a lot of birthdays left, Sir. And when we look at your sons who might succeed you, we’re not sure we like what we see. So give us a king to rule over us—you know, like all the other nations have” (see I Samuel 8:4, 5).

Feeling unappreciated, Samuel went to God about it.

“It is me they are rejecting, not you,” God told him. “They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them” (verses 7-9, NLT).

God told Samuel to warn them—to preview what would happen if they got their way. Their human king would send their sons off to war, demand their money, and make slaves of them. Alas . . .

“The people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. ‘Even so, we still want a king,’ they said. We want to be like the nations around us'” (verse 19).

The evidence since this episode would suggest that human “kings,” whether malevolent or well-intended, have a generally sorry record.

Friends and neighbors, our country, to say nothing of the world beyond our borders, is in a mess. Yet with the stubborn hope and optimism God built into us, we dare to believe that the NEXT Great Leader will be our Savior to set things right. He or she will make us happy, healthy, prosperous, and, if not usher in the world of our utopian ideals, at least move us much closer.

With sin-damaged human defectiveness and selfishness endemic to us all, not likely.

Sure, go ahead and vote for the “king” you think most wise and principled and best aligned with what matters to you. But be under no illusions that ANY human king can ever pull off what the Real King has promised He soon can and will.

And when He steps in to do just that, it will catch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the networks by such total surprise that they will lapse into what you’ve never yet heard from them: absolute stunned silence.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I find it interesting that every presidential campaign, especially this one, tends to have a messianic ring to it. “If you elect me,” candidates claim, “all will be well in the world. I’m going to put everything back in order and your life/money/future will be saved!” As Derek Webb very cynically but powerfully notes in a song of his, though, “You’ll never find a savior on Capitol Hill.”

    Also, I guess I though I might want to add to your blogroll my own adventist blog:

    http://regressivechristianity.wordpress.com

    as well as an Adventist young adult blog called ignition:

    http://ignitionblog.wordpress.com/

    Reply

  2. I agree wholeheartedly, Mithun. Thanks for the comment!

    Quite soon now, I’ll be doing a full update of my blogroll, at which time I’ll add the two you’ve sent above. Meanwhile, any readers here can click on Mithun’s links.

    Also, Mithun, I’ll invite you to add this blog to your own blogroll, as well.

    All the best.

    Reply

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