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.
“ALSO, SEEK THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY OF THE CITY TO WHICH I HAVE CARRIED YOU INTO EXILE. PRAY TO THE LORD FOR IT, BECAUSE IF IT PROSPERS, YOU TOO WILL PROSPER” Jeremiah 29:7 (NIV).
In the previous edition, we looked at the relationship between Christianity and politics. It was the first part of the message for today. In that message we saw how the pagan king was inspired by God to direct Ezra to select people who knew the Law of the LORD to serve as magistrates and judges.
The point was made that those who make laws for us (parliamentarians) and the others who administer justice and peace in our various societies have very important roles to play in ensuring peace, harmony, fairness and development in our societies. This calls for true wisdom which comes from God. If the people who hold political positions as well as those who make laws and administer justice love the Law of the LORD and are willing to apply biblical principles to their duties our societies can enjoy the true shalom of God. It is therefore important for Christians to pray for our political leaders to ensure that they perform their duties according to God’s word. Let us look at the second part of this message.
In the second part of Ezra 7:25, King Artarxerxes told Ezra, to teach those who did not know the Law of God for them to know. This was after he had asked Ezra to choose people who were knowledgeable in the word of God to serve as magistrates and judges. This shows that Artarxerxes was not only interested in the political administration of Jerusalem, he was also very much interested in the spiritual revival of God’s people. He had realized that some of them had become weak when it comes to the word of God and wanted to see to it that those who had no knowledge of God’s word would be taught to learn more about the ways of God. This is very surprising when one looks at the fact that Artarxerxes was a pagan king. Yet it can be well understood when one looks at it from the angle that God was the one directing his heart like a watercourse as He pleased (Proverbs 21:1). If we agree that no such thing could have come from the king if the LORD was not directing his heart, we would come to the conclusion that God is interesting in both the political and spiritual lives of His people.
If the LORD is interested in the political life of His people, who are we to avoid it? While in Babylon, God told the prophet Jeremiah to inform the Jews in Jeremiah 29:7 as follows:
“ALSO, SEEK THE PEACE AND PROSPERITY OF THE CITY TO WHICH I HAVE CARRIED YOU INTO EXILE. PRAY TO THE LORD FOR IT, BECAUSE IF IT PROSPERS, YOU TOO WILL PROSPER.”
We can assume from the above that God wants us to seek the peace and prosperity of the city, nation or town in which we live because if they prosper, we shall also prosper. Indeed every Christian knows that prosperity comes from God and there is nothing wrong with it. But we mostly forget that our prosperity could also be linked to the prosperity of our nations. Why don’t we make some time available on our prayer schedules to pray for the peace and prosperity of our nations?
One important lesson we can learn from these verses is that if politicians in general and political leaders in particular are guided by the LORD, they could help promote the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an undeniable fact that the Gospel spreads faster in more peaceful political environments than areas such as North Korea, Syria and Libya, to mention but a few. Let us pray and act in such a way that our nations will become more prosperous and peaceful so that the gospel of Jesus Christ could continue to spread to all corners of the world. If God-fearing political leaders could promote the spreading of the gospel, we should encourage ‘principled’ Christians who have been called into politics to make themselves available to take up political positions or participate actively in politics to help hasten the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth.
The involvement of Christians in politics will not only help in spreading the gospel, it can help ensure that people in our nations acknowledge the word of the LORD and obey Him at all times. This is also demonstrated in what the king said in verse 26. According to the king, those who refuse to obey God’s word as well as the king’s laws should be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property or imprisonment. If all the people in our nations and various societies would acknowledge the word of God and obey them, aren’t we going to live in a better world? If all our politicians and political leaders would acknowledge God’s word and abide by them, won’t it help make our world a better place to live? I am not sure what your views concerning these issues are. However, I want to pray that the LORD will continue enlightening us on such issues.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.