So, here is the thing (P.S. Never start a blog with “here is the thing” and a P.S. in the same sentence). CNN just posted an interesting article that hits close to home with some of my thoughts in recent days.
I’ll sum up the article and you can read it later: A minister prayed an opening prayer at a McCain rally in which he informs God that the rest of the world’s religions are praying for Obama to win the election. He, on the other hand, is praying for an Obama defeat because it will show the world that God is bigger than other religions’ gods.
I have a problem with this way of thinking on so many levels. But over the past few weeks, I have been reading in both the Old and New Testaments and I found several interesting passages that speak to me concerning this issue.
The first passage is Joshua 5:13-15.
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Joshua is on the verge of entering the Promised Land and conquer Jericho. The people are ready. They’ve wandered, aimlessly for 40 years. Now they have purpose. Now they have a destination. Now they see the end in sight and God’s messenger shows up. That must have been VERY encouraging to Joshua. “God is here to fight the battle. We are sure to win!!!”
The Angel offers, what I’m sure Joshua found to be some troubling news. He is neither FOR the Israelites or AGAINST them. He isn’t choosing sides. He isn’t offering his sword for one army or another. He isn’t charging into battle at Joshua’s side.
Instead, the Commander of God’s Army points away from the battle and back to God. He simple tells him to take off his shoes. Forget the war. Worship God. Celebrate God’s faithfulness, no matter the outcome.
The place they stood was holy ground before the battle and afterward. Win or Lose.
Think about that for a while.
The second passage that jumped off the page was found in 1st Timothy 2:1-2.
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Paul asks that first we pray for everyone. Everyone. Make requests for them. Interceed for them. Give thanks for them. After all, they are all created by God.
But Paul draws our attention to those who need our prayers the most. Pray for the kings, the leaders, those in authority. Pray for Obama AND McCain. They are both in need of God’s guidance. And WHY do we pray for both? So that we might ALL live peaceful quiet lives and I’m all for that.
If you’ve spent any time with me at all, you know that I have a preferrence in this year’s election. But rhetoric and “Christian” ideals continually move this election to extremes of emotion rather than intelligent discussion and thoughtful decision making.
I don’t claim to know God’s mind. I never have and I never will. But Paul and the writer of Joshua seem to think that God might be for all the candidates. God might want us to focus on him rather than the election. God might want us to honor his power rather than a candidate’s.
Isn’t God in control, no matter who wins the battle?
Isn’t God in control, no matter who wins the election?
Isn’t God in control, no matter what the stock market does tomorrow?
Isn’t God in control when you lose your job?
…when you are hurting and lonely?
…when the doctor informs you that the cancer has returned?
…when your spouse is having an affair?
…when you fail the test?
…when your children hurt you?
…when your parent dies?
Yes. God is in Control.
That is the message I want to send to the world’s religions.
That is the message I want to send to the candidates.
That is the message I want to send to the voters.
It is always the message I want to hear.