The Inevitable Clash of Kingdoms

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It’s an election year.

You didn’t need anyone to tell you that, did you? Any casual blog tripper would be hard pressed to escape the onslaught of political thought splashed boldly across our browsers featuring graphic images of George W. Bush as Der Führer or John Kerry as The Prince of Darkness.

I want to say up front that Cerulean Sanctum will never be about politics, and the mention of the candidates above will be the only mention of them you will find on this blog.

Shortly after this year’s election, I will be forty-two—not quite young, not yet old. I’ve voted in every primary and election since the day I was able to punch a ballot. I’ve pondered quite a few issues in my time. I consider myself fortunate to be an American. What our founders gave America is probably as good as it gets this side of Heaven. Certainly, God has blessed this country.

Recently, a document,“For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility”, has been written in order to call evangelicals back to the voting booth, in part due to a significant drop in self-identified evangelical voters voting in the 2000 election. This document very lucidly states its position and lets us all know that anyone who calls on the name of Christ should get out to vote.

However, among all the verses quoted in that document, you will not find these:

…If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
— 2nd Chronicles 7:14 ESV

***

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’

“But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'”
— Jeremiah 18:1-12 ESV {emphasis added}

I am no apologist for Jerry Falwell, by any means. But there simply was no excuse for Christians to denounce him for his comment that the events of 9/11 may have been a judgment against this country for our sins. How arrogant of us to raise up our hands and claim instead, “That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.” How wicked of us to assume that there is no lesson to be learned other than the one of simple vengeance.

What if “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility” included no other advice but to ask each Christian to cry out to God to forgive us for our sins? What if each person standing in line to sign a “Defense of Marriage” petition instead stood in line to volunteer to pray two hours every day that God would have mercy on this nation? What if churches across this land opened their doors to twenty-four-hour prayer vigils that would be filled with believers weeping before the altar of God?

We have placed too much importance on politics and not enough on what can be wrought on our knees through a humble and contrite heart. God may be speaking greater things to believers if we are willing to put down our political placards and listen to Him. The weapons we wage war with will break down strongholds if we were to only use them as they have been designed by God.

Instead, we have become a nation of puffery with the motto “God helps those who help themselves” as our mantra. (A Barna poll recently showed that a majority of evangelicals believe that “verse” is in the Bible.) How easily deceived we are to think we can do it on our own through our pale, human devices. We would be wise to rethink our ways and just whom we rely on, lest we become like these people who said,

Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves…,
—Genesis 11:4a ESV

only to find our shining city in ruins and our very speech confused.

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