Bible Order: 1 Chronicles 13–16
Chronological Order: Psalms 89, Psalms 96, Psalms 100, Psalms 101, Psalms 105, Psalms 132
New Testament Only: Luke 22:24–38
A wrongheaded king had been in charge of Israel and Israel paid a steep price. They lost a good deal of territory under Saul’s reign. They were slowly becoming enslaved by the Philistines and others around them. Many of them died. Saul did not follow God and did not do what was right in God’s eyes. The nation of Israel began to decay.
I see a parallel with America today. We have some very wrongheaded leadership leading us down a path of economic, political, cultural, and spiritual decay. They seem to be trying to do everything they can in their own power and that is the problem. Human beings are horribly flawed. Even when our intentions are good we end up hurting each other. Our power at its best is worthless and at its worst destructive.
I see in the struggle between Saul and David a reflection of the modern political battle that we find ourselves in today. Saul, attempting to govern in his own power, represents the political philosophy of today that is based on the notion that man can perfect himself. That philosophy has been called by many names; most recently communism, socialism, progressivism, liberalism, and so on. David, who acknowledges his need for Gods guidance, represents the political philosophy currently referred to as conservatism. This is a belief that man cannot perfect himself and as such must limit the ability of his neighbor to force his imperfect perfection on others.
I know that not all who call themselves conservative accept a role for God in the affairs of men which is why I worded the comments above as I have. Conservatism in its modern form does not necessarily include a component of divine interaction. Many who are practicing Christians tend to subscribe to the political persuasion of conservatism because as Christians we know that man cannot perfect himself and that without God’s guidance our efforts are doomed to failure.
This was certainly the case for Saul and the people of Israel. When they did things in their own power, without God, they began to fall apart. I remember that shortly after 9/11 many were shouting “were is God”, “how can He let something like this happen”. I watched a Christian being challenged with these types of questions on a TV interview show and found her response right on target. She said something like this: “We push God out of our schools and public square and when something goes wrong we ask “where is God?” God is exactly where we put Him, out of our lives.”
Today’s verses tell of civil war. War between these two very different world views was inevitable. They both cannot be true. Either man can perfect himself and he does not need God or man cannot perfect himself and desperately needs God. There are those that wish to stand somewhere in the middle but the middle exists between two cliffs; one made of sinking sand and the other made of granite. There is nothing on which to stand in the middle; it is but a drop into nothingness. As God put it:
Revelation 3:15-16 ESV
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
I am afraid I am an optimist. I believe America will someday leave the rule of Saul and return to the way of David. If this is to come true I suspect it will be much like our reading today. We will continue in this civil war of philosophy we find ourselves in today, but like the beginning of David’s reign, the ways of Saul will slowly give way to the ways of David. That is my hope at any rate.
How would that come about? By Godly men kneeling in prayer asking for Gods guidance. By Godly men standing up for truth in love. Notice that David was not pleased with the death of Saul and that he sought God’s guidance every step of the way forward. We too should take no joy in the fall of those who possess a world view opposed to God. We should have pity on them for the toll it will take on their lives. We too should look for God’s guidance every step of the way. But most of all, if we wish to change the world, we must tell a lost and dying world about Jesus Christ. The politics of the day are meaningless. Eternity is calling.
Have a blessed day!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Dying to self, living to serve!
(Originally posted 4/7/10)