According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2008 candidate Barack Obama spent approximately $730 million dollars in winning the U.S. presidency. John McCain spent close to $334 million in losing. That’s over 1 billion dollars for two candidates in one race. That is a huge and troubling number for several reasons. Mostly because of what it says about how many of us view political leaders.
Does it matter who the U.S. president is? Can one person, even the one holding the most powerful office in the world, change the world economy, the global power structure, and our individual lives that much? By the amount of money spent one would assume it not only matters, but it is down right crucial. Is it?
Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.
TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Ezra 8:21-9:15: Once again Ezra shows his faith. His first response to danger and trouble is fasting, prayer, and worship. Rather than contradict how he has expressed his faith in God to the king, Ezra sets out back to Jerusalem not under the protection of the king and an army but under the hand of God. Ezra is not naming and claiming God’s protection, however. He has made a statement of faith and is going to live or die by it. Ezra leaves life and God’s reputation is in God’s hands.
1 Corinthians 5:1-13: Biblical honesty about human sin is not relegated to the Old Testament. A church member having sex with his father’s wife? And the people who know find a way to justify it? Again we see God’s Word is not sanitized. Why not paint a prettier picture of the brand new church?
Because there is enough in this book that is hard to believe. We would never believe a fairy tale. If God is real, then his story of how he relates to us must be real as well.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Ideas, especially political ideas, matter. Big government, small government, low taxes, high taxes, liberal, conservative, pragmatism, idealism, freedom, control: these ideas, and the people or person who wields them, affect the way we live.
On the extreme end of the spectrum, Karl Marx’ idea of communism spread and unintentionally brought untold suffering to millions. On the other end, the first ever televised debate between curmudgeonly Richard M. Nixon and handsome John F. Kennedy unintentionally changed how U.S. political candidates needed to look and present themselves.
One person, especially one with political power, can make big a difference.
This truth haunts me, particularly when the candidate I voted for, with the ideas I shared, looses. I suspect others feel the same.
Yet a greater truth overrules. God is sovereign. “The king’s [or president’s or prime minister’s or dictator’s] heart is in the hand of the Lord,” claims the author of proverbs.
This does not mean, cannot, that individual choice and responsibility are a sham. Humans are not puppets to God’s puppeteer. God is sovereign over the end result.
“[God] directs [the king’s] heart like a water course wherever he pleases,” the writer continues. Like a river inside its banks the heart of a leader knows the right way to go, yet may overrun the banks, dry up, get polluted.
In the end history flows, taking some incredibly twisted turns no doubt, into the sea, its intended destination. God can and does work all things–good and bad leaders and ideas–to accomplish his will. Money, even a billion dollars, and power are no match.
Yes, it matters who leads us. But the thing that matters most is relinquishing our fear and hopes to the One who leads the leaders. I may not have voted for any particular leader. And even the ones I do will make mistakes and lead poorly.
But God is at the heart of what will come. I can trust in that.
- What do these for passages share in common?
- Do you believe God is sovereign?
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