SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY
“And you, Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them. Whoever will not observe the law of your God and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily on him, whether it be death, or banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment.” Ezra 7:25-26.
“EVERYONE MUST SUBMIT TO GOVERNING AUTHORITIES. FOR ALL AUTHORITY COMES FROM GOD, AND THOSE IN POSITIONS OF AUTHORITY HAVE BEEN PLACED THERE BY GOD” Romans 13:1 (NLT).
One of the controversial issues in theological circles and also among Christians is the one relating to Christianity and politics. There are some who believe that the Christian should not have anything to do with politics while others believe that Christians must be involved in politics. Among those who are of the view that Christians need to be involved in politics, there are still divided opinions concerning the extent of participation, that is, whether Christians should be actively or partially involved in politics. From the decree of King Artarxerxes to Ezra, there is something we need to take a look at concerning the relationship between Christianity and politics.
Ezra chapter 7:26-27 supports the view that there is the need for Christians to be involved in politics to some extent. In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today we made the point that believers should deem it necessary to pray for their political leaders for God to direct their hearts to do what is right. Let us take a further look at Ezra 7:25.
Artarxerxes told Ezra to use the wisdom given him by God to appoint magistrates and judges to govern the Jews as he went back to Jerusalem. We should not forget that Artarxerxes was a pagan king who was being used by God. We can therefore assume that what Artarxerxes said was inspired by God because it was unexpected of a pagan leader.
This lends support the argument that God can use political leaders to accomplish his purposes even if they are not Christians. What we however want to focus our attention on is what he told Ezra. In the first place, he acknowledged that wisdom comes from God and that Ezra’s wisdom was given him by God.
This should remind us that no one can do anything right without the wisdom of God. The wisdom to live as an individual; the wisdom to guide your family; the wisdom to be a politician; the wisdom to be a good Christian/pastor; the wisdom to be good husband, wife, teacher, businessman/woman etc. comes from God. Without the God-given wisdom, we can do nothing. In the same way no politician can do anything good without the wisdom of God. Politicians who are wise in Christ Jesus can do far better than those who are wise in just the things of the world. We all know that the wisdom of the world is foolishness before God. Christians therefore need to pray for God to choose for us leaders who are wise in the things of God and not the things of the world alone. Joseph was a better politician because his wisdom was from God. Daniel was a better politician because his wisdom was from God. Christians in politics can be better politicians if we ask God for His wisdom as James 1:5 says:
“IF YOU NEED WISDOM, ASK OUR GOD, AND HE WILL GIVE IT TO YOU. HE WILL NOT REBUKE YOU FOR ASKING” (NLT).
It is our responsibility therefore as Christians to pray for God’s wisdom in our political careers and also pray for God’s wisdom for all politicians, whether they are Christians or not. This is part of our participation in politics. Instead of complaining so much about the attitude of our politicians and the many things which are not going on well in our societies, we should pray for them and our nations. Prayer can change the political climate which can have a positive effect on the lives of all in the society. A Christ-controlled political environment can help bring the Kingdom of God on earth.
In the second place, Artarxerxes ordered Ezra to appoint magistrates and judges to help ensure justice and fairness in the society. But the judges that God, through King Artarxerxes, ordered Ezra to choose were to be people who knew God’s laws and were able to govern the whole of the region with the word of God. This leads us to the understanding that the people who make laws for us (parliamentarians or congressmen) should be people who have deeper understanding of God’s word and are willing to apply it in making laws for the people in our various societies.
If the people who make laws for us lack knowledge of God’s word and or are unwilling to apply biblical principles to the kind of laws they make, they will start passing out laws which support abortion, homosexuality and many other evil-intended laws and force us to obey them. Not only the law makers, but those who administer justice such as lawyers, judges and police personnel all need to be knowledgeable in the word of God and be willing to apply biblical principles in the discharge of their duties.
If our various heads of states, ministers of states, other government officials and heads of departments, commissions, agencies etc are people who love God’s word and are willing to apply biblical principles in the discharge of their duties, our various nations and societies will become better places to live.
With the above understanding, Christians should encourage and support those who are willing to apply biblical principles to politics to ensure that the Kingdom of God is experienced even in this world. We are to experience heaven not only in our individual lives or after death. We can also experience heaven on earth if we allow Christ to take center stage in our politics through the encouragement of Christ-minded people into politics as well as our prayers for those in politically professions and positions. Watch out for the second part of this message in the next edition.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.