A Revisitation of the “Most Important Election of Your Lifetime”
“Your kingdom come, your will be done…” How did Tuesday, November 6th go for you? Or perhaps the better question is; how did Wednesday, November 7th go for you once a different reality set in? How did the first Tuesday and Wednesday in November go for you two years ago? You may have been ecstatic, thinking some politician you voted for will be the catalyst for solving all of this country’s problems. Or you may have been extremely disappointed, thinking that some politician that you didn’t vote for will allow the country to go down the path to its own demise. It seems that there is no middle ground anymore, each election increasing in importance, until we are told every two years that the current election cycle is the “most important election of our lifetime.” But should we really believe that as Christians?
“Your kingdom come, your will be done…” The prophet Daniel didn’t live in a time of elections. In fact, he was forcibly taken from his own country and made to serve in the government of the king who conquered his nation. He had no choice in the government that he lived under, yet he did have a choice in his own response and as to whom he would ultimately serve. Daniel served under four pagan kings, and he served them well, but Daniel’s first allegiance was always to his God in everything that he did. Remember that time he ended up spending the night in the den with some hungry, then not so hungry lions? He was there because he refused to bow to the god of the politics of his time, the king of Persia; who literally thought he was a god. He would only bow before the God of the Hebrews. Remember the dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had about that weird statue? Do you remember the interpretation that God showed Daniel? “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44). God was speaking to the Hebrew prophet through the dream of a pagan king about the time of the Roman Empire; in which God in human form makes his entrance into human history and establishes a kingdom outside of and superior to any earthly kingdom before or yet to come. The King of Kings, the same one Daniel served, is the one whom we serve. His kingdom is greater than Babylon, Rome, even the United States.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done…” The twelve apostles walked with Jesus, they learned from him, they watched him die and come back from the dead. Of all people, they should have understood what the Kingdom of God was about, but even they missed it. After His resurrection, they asked Him on one occasion, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They were still anticipating an earthly political kingdom with borders that met their expectations, which had been handed down to them for generations. They wanted to be out from under Roman rule. From Acts chapter 2, they realize that they are not under Roman rule any longer, but not in the way that they expected. You see, once they understood the King and Kingdom that they served, Rome didn’t loom nearly as large any more. Earthly politics took a back seat to heavenly allegiance. They understood as Cornell West once said, that, “every flag is subordinate to the cross.” Even Rome’s power to take their lives couldn’t hold a candle to the promise of an eternity with their King.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done…” No matter what happened on the first Tuesday of November this year or in years to come, our King is still sovereign. His kingdom is outside of and bigger than Democrats or Republicans, progressives or conservatives, Trump or Obama. Perhaps you will sleep better tonight knowing that our King’s purposes will be accomplished no matter who resides in the Oval Office, who holds the majority in the House or Senate, or which way the Supreme Court leans ideologically. Only one kingdom endures forever, and we are friends of that King.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain undeniable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is included in The Declaration of Independence (US 1776.)”
The truth is the world got it wrong. Something that God quickly began to teach me as I attempted to watch the well-known movie The Pursuit of Happiness. As we embark on what is easily the most hostile election year to date, it is evident we need to pursue what Jesus instructed from the first day of his ministry. We need to pursue the Kingdom of God.
As Christians, too often we associate ourselves and our circumstances with the pursuit of things that make us happy or feel good. This takes us away from the purpose of God in our lives. Happiness by definition comes from the root word, hap – which means luck, chance, or fortune. This sets the way to create an idol in our lives, one that causes us to focus on the pleasures of life and the circumstances that surround them. Take note this is something God clearly speaks about in Isaiah 65:8-12. This is even true when it comes to the election and voting for a person who makes you feel good, or even secure and happy, not necessarily what lines up with the will of God.
Does that mean that God’s will is for us to never be happy? By no means. Quite the opposite in fact. God wants us to be happy. Jesus preaches it very much so in Matt 5:3-12 commonly known as the beatitudes. Take note, however, this sermon is preached as characteristics for those who have entered into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). ‘Blessed’ in Greek means happy and in Aramaic means prosperous. What does that mean for us? It means that in order to be really happy (blessed), we need to pursue God and His Kingdom. Deeper than that, seeking God, staying in His will, produces joy, and that is something that is not dependent on circumstances, it is indwelling and solely dependent upon God.