Daily Devotional - 17 August 2020
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (Psalm 146:5).
At the risk of offending some, in today’s devotional I am going to mix politics and religion, though maybe not in a way you’d expect. I have noticed a disturbing trend among Christians these days and I am feeling impelled to speak to it. The world is becoming entirely too divisive. As Christ’s disciples, we have been called to strap on the sandals of the Good News which brings peace; but instead, too many have become consumed with fighting the enemy’s distraction skirmishes rather than fight the enemy himself. I have noted the bitter condemnation and demonization of groups of people due to political affiliations and the attempts to deify others. Dear Christian brother and sister...wake-up! People are not the enemy; neither do they bring salvation. Read what David, one of Israel’s greatest kings, had to say about putting our trust in manmade political systems: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing” (Psalm 146:3-4). David makes it very clear, even in his role as king, that we are mistaken to place our trust in people...no matter their rank or, dare I say, political persuasion.
I would also dare say, having witnessed the fierceness and even hatred directed toward opposing factions, that we have lost sight of whose side we are to be on and what the ‘battle’ is even about. I am reminded of the story of Joshua and his encounter with the Captain of the Lord’s Host. The Israelites had finished wandering in the wilderness for forty years, had crossed over the Jordan River and were poised to begin taking over the land. Joshua takes a walk toward Jericho, the first city on the list, but comes upon an individual with a drawn sword. Joshua wants to know what all of us would want to know, whose side is this stranger on. Has he just discovered another ally or does he need to prepare to defend himself? The stranger’s response drops Joshua to his knees, “‘Neither one,’ he replied. ‘I am the commander of the Lord’s army’” (Joshua 5:14). God had shown up, not to declare His allegiance to any particular side, but to provide directions that if obeyed would ensure success. And what crazy directions they are–involving marching in silence for a full six days, then another day of marching followed by a loud shout of acclamation to the Lord–to cause the mighty walls of Jericho to collapse. This encounter was not about God being on anyone’s side, it was Joshua’s moment to prove that he was on God’s side!
At this point some of you will undoubtedly want to argue that your support of a particular political persuasion is proof of your being on God’s side. A word of caution. The things that we want our political leaders to provide–justice, impartiality and wise leadership–are next to impossible without God. Psalm 146 is clear concerning who we need to trust, “God is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked” 146:6-9). A leader on God’s side, and anyone who claims the name of Christ, should be busily about the work of our Father in heaven...not jumping on political band wagons.
My advice during these times of division is to start being the light (Matthew 5:16), the salt (Matthew 5:13), the branches (John 15:5) that we have been called to be. Stop judging, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). Pray for those in leadership, “Pray for all people, including for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Put your faith in the only One who is trustworthy, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).
Rather than take a political side, I choose to take God’s side, because the only side God takes is the side of righteousness–not defined by blind allegiance to systems of the world–but obedience to our Lord God Almighty! And His royal decree is to love Him and love others.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!