In What Do We Trust?
by Fred Swartz
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:44, NKJV)
My dialogue with God in recent months has been uncomfortable, revolving around a number of topics that are in no way polite to write about, but I think they are necessary, because, hopefully, many in the Church are asking the same sorts of questions. I’ve had to totally rewrite this devotional twice, so I have had to do a lot of sifting with some help from some good people.
To the meat, then. I’ve had a lot of talk with the Lord lately about politics and nations, not that any one country as a political entity matters to God – they all get smashed by Jesus in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue when the stone cut without hands hits the feet. But the people comprising the nations, especially the Church, matter a great deal to Him. I’ve had to get around to realizing how much my own heart was out of step with God’s, how attached I am to certain political camps, and how graceless I am in my view towards politicians.
And if I’m graceless towards politicians, who else am I graceless towards? And if I’m out of step with God’s heart for people in my passport country, what happens on the mission field where I serve? And if my own over-attachment to a political camp got me all in a tizzy the last few months, what are the repercussions of vast swaths of the Church being equally so if not much more over-attached to political camps than I was. Was. Lots of questions.
So I embrace some sober examination of myself in these days, but I also can’t shake a burden for the broader Church. Can we be honest? Over-attachment to a political camp is spiritual adultery. This is like the days of the prophets in the Old Testament when they rebuked Israel for trusting in the nations instead of the Lord. Over and over the nations that surrounded Israel and Judah are referred to as their lovers, those with whom they cheated on God. How have I contributed to this terrible bent in the Church over the years? How have I been ensnared by it without even realizing it? What do I do with these realizations?
We are covenant people. Jesus, the Creator and Savior of the world, has pledged His faithfulness to us and spilled His blood to seal the deal. How can we be faithless by trusting in the institutions of men – governments, nations, movements, denominations, and whatever else we invent and exalt – instead of our beloved Bridegroom. He is coming quickly, and His recompense is with Him. Will we be found ready?
“For thus says the Lord God: ‘Surely I will deliver you into the hands of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you became defiled by their idols.’” (Ezekiel 23:28-30, NKJV)
- What are the implications of God having the same prerogative to judge his people now as he did in the days of Israel’s unfaithfulness?
- What does repentance from this sort of unfaithfulness look like?