Nations, Rulers, and the Ruler of Nations

A number of events of the past week or so demonstrate certain truths. Governments come and go, leaders come and go, but God’s reign remains unchanged. Some political and social changes are for the better, and some for the worse, but above all this remains a sovereign God who is working out his divine purposes.

Without faith in a God who is over and above the affairs of men, it would be all too easy to lose heart and to be overwhelmed with all the changes happening in our world. Indeed, the believer knows that putting hope in politics or politicians will always ultimately disappoint.

While we are of course to be involved in the social and political processes of the day, we do not put our faith in what our earthly leaders do, or don’t do, but in God. It is a hard balance to attain, but that is how we must operate. Pulling out of all involvement is the wrong way to go, but so too is putting all our hope in political solutions.

Consider just six rather momentous upheavals in the past week or so – some good, some bad. Overseas, we heard of the death of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. He died of cancer at 58, and many Venezuelans would be rejoicing right now that this evil tyrant is no longer plundering the country and abusing the people.

And of course just prior to that we had the shock resignation of the Pope. This has only happened a few times in history, so it was a startling event indeed. As we speak the momentous decision is being made at the Vatican as to who will be the next Pope. It is hoped he will be one who stands strong especially on the moral and cultural issues of the day, when so many around us are caving in.

Speaking of caving in, consider these two incredible turn-arounds. First, the Queen has apparently decided to become a stooge for the militant homosexual agenda. The headline says it all: “Queen to sign new charter backing gay rights”. One article begins as follows:

“The Queen will sign a new Commonwealth charter opposing discrimination suffered by women, gay people and ethnic minorities. In a special ceremony to mark Commonwealth Day on Monday, she will also give a speech endorsing the new agreement which states signatories oppose ‘all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds’.”

And she is supposed to be doing this? Wasn’t there something about defending the Christian faith involved in her role as Queen? Since when does extending special rights to homosexuals fit into that job description? What a sell-out to her faith and her people.

In a similar vein, Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is also caving in big time it seems. In an interview aired on 60 Minutes last night he made a number of worrying remarks. As to his lesbian sister (who walked out on her husband and children to enjoy her new lifestyle), Abbott said he has altered his views over the years on this and other contentious issues.

Indeed, it seems being electable has now become his overriding commitment, even ahead of principle. When asked about his Catholic faith, he said it was still important to him, but “it must never, never dictate my politics”. Come again? Just how is he going to detach his faith from his political life?

The truth is, everyone has a religion, a worldview, that shapes how they think and feel about everything. One cannot simply dislodge one’s worldview and exist in some sort of ideological netherworld, or remain in some sort of religious neutral gear. Instead of playing down his faith, he should have pointed out that everyone has a faith, even the secularists.

Two further Australian political events round out this quick survey. In Victoria, Premier Ted Baillieu suddenly resigned, to be replaced by former Liberal leader Denis Napthine. The former was a bit of a do-nothing, lame-duck leader who was going nowhere fast. Worse yet, there was very little about him which could be called conservative, especially in the moral and cultural arenas.

His successor is much more conservative, having voted against the notorious 2008 abortion bill for example. So things are looking better in Victoria, although it is yet early days, and we would be foolish to put too much hope in any one government or leader to overcome some of these horrific laws.

Finally, we just had the WA state elections. Everyone expected the Liberals and Nationals to get back in, but no one seemed to see what a major shellacking it was going to be. A huge swing against Labor means they are history for some time to come there. And the Greens did appallingly badly as well, which is more good news.

Moreover, this is sending even more shock waves through Federal Labor. Julia is a dead man walking, as is the Party. Dumping her however may not turn things around much before the September Federal election. So the entire country may soon be just about back in Coalition hands.

But of course these things come and go. Not too long ago pretty much all of Australia was under Labor rule, or mis-rule. So these movements keep going back and forth; which is just one reason why believers must never place all their hope and faith in politics. Sure, we must be involved, and seek to promote righteousness in the political arena, but we realise that no political party or politician will fully be up to scratch.

We all should seek to work for godly government, and seek to work for a just and righteous social and political order. But on this side of eternity, perfection will always elude us. Ultimately only one real King will rule with complete righteousness, fairness, and ethical purity.

Thus we must keep some biblical truths in mind here. The wisdom literature teaches us much about these matters. For example, it is God who brings one king down, and exalts another (Psalm 75:7). It is God who disciplines the nations, and even punishes them (Psalm 94:10). It is God who will crush kings on the day of his wrath (Psalm 110:5).

We realise that “it is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes” (Psalm 118:9). Indeed, we are not to ‘put our trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save’ (Psalm 146:3). Instead, we must take to heart this truth: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Also worth holding onto is this truism: “In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him” (Proverbs 21:1). So too this: “When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order” (Proverbs 28:2).

And this: “When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding” (Prov 28:12). And again, “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan…. By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down” (Proverbs 29:2,4).

These and other biblical truths must always be kept in mind as we engage in our important obligations in the here and now. We must be salt and light on planet earth, but we must also always bear in mind the eternal perspective on these matters.

If not, our hearts will be overwhelmed by what we are seeing taking place around us. With nations crashing, rulers falling, and the hearts of men growing weak, we must stand strong. Psalm 46:1-3 must be a mainstay here:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

Or as Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

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13 Replies to “Nations, Rulers, and the Ruler of Nations”

  1. Re: Abbott:
    The confusion of identity with behaviour – the lie so prevalent at the core of the homosexual issue – is what makes life difficult for people. But what is really so impossible to say “I love you, but I hate what you are doing?” People are male or female, and they are not interchangeable, lest you dishonour your mother and father.

    The fact that there exists two different sets of words – identity/behaviour, sinner/sin – you would think would be a clue that it is possible to separate the two. People really have built lie upon lie with this issue for so long, it is almost impossible to have a conversation with someone, because the false assumptions in what they believe – even if they reject homosexuality – are so deep that I often find it painful to listen to.

    ‘Born that way’ is a myth, and surely the fact Abbott’s sister walked away from healthy sexual relationship into one her own body disagrees with is ample evidence of that alone.

    But I’m also appalled that Abbott has bought into the idea that principles must not dictate politics. Excuse me? Is he saying he prefers politics without principles? But the reality is, as you say Bill, that such an exclusion only seems to apply if you hold to any kind of Christian worldview. But I would rather vote for someone who did not detail a single policy but had a track record that did not deviate from a mainstream Judeo-Christian ethic in social and economic matters, than hearing pages and pages of half-baked enticements to special interest groups. Those who think policies alone are a good measure to decide on suitable political candidates are mistaken in my view, let alone those (about 20% of Australian voters) who decide who to vote for based on how much they like the person handing out the how-to-vote cards on election day. Compulsory voting clearly has its downside.

    But yes, we must look beyond our earthly rulers who come and go, even as we pray and fight for good government. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

    Mark Rabich

  2. Bill, is their an email address to write Tony Abbott? I will not vote for him unless he retracts his views on sexual deviants, and promises to review his separation of religion from government.
    I wrote to the foreign minister stating that I would gladly vote labour for the first time in my life if he canceled the “peace” meeting, cancelled the visas of the radical muslims, and invited Geert Wilders back for a state welcome. I will keep my promise. We need to use our vote this year to maximum advantage. I might be just one person but 1 letter to an MP is equal to 1,000 votes.
    Rodney Gynther, Melbourne

  3. Re: Gillard

    A dead woman walking, perhaps?

    And thanks to Mark Rabich especially for his excellent comments. I could not have said it better.

    Graeme Mitchell

  4. Another way to contact Tony:

    It’s sad to see some people caving in. Here is something almost on the opposite, an atheist that defends the Pope and certain Catholic doctrine!

    An observation; Tony Abbott and Bob Katter originally came out strongly against homosexuality, only to be stymied by homosexual relatives. It’s almost as though there is some kind of deliberate enemy sabotage going on to undermine morally upright leaders.

    Mark Wong

  5. Mark, yes you are right. An enemy. And we all know his name. Which raises a good point – we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers…” So the best action is to go to prayer. (Not forsaking the other actions also).
    Rodney Gynther, Melbourne

  6. Yes, sadly, many people are unable to uphold their christian beliefs in the face of family situations. That is the testing ground to see if we will obey His commandments or not; Deut 8:2, and if we will love God before we love our neighbour. But this may well be the day for parties like the C.D.P. and Rise Up Australia. May they prove themselves more faithful. To observe where others have fallen and to learn to determine to stand on God’s truth no matter what might be the beginning. Didn’t Luther say “So help me God, I can do no other” when he faced the church hierarchy. Did you know he was declared a “person nonegrate”, not sure if that is the right term, but anyone could have killed him without facing the law.
    As to the labour party, I think it is rather sad, though telling that Alannah McTiernan called for Julia Gillard’s resignation. I am not sure if she is any worse than Kevin or anyone else. It is the world view of the labour party that people are sick of and are voting against. It won’t be until they realise that and return to their beginnings that things might change.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  7. But the truth is that in all her reign she has endorsed one bill after another that is a stench in the nostrils of God, for the sake of preserving the monarchy and her own position- just as politicians do when they put duty to the party above accountability to God.

    She alludes to only three out of the nine protected groups in the Equality and Human Rights legislation: race, belief and gender. The other groups, hidden behind the veil, are defined by sexual orientation, transexuality, civil (gay)partnership, pregnancy (transgender men are capable of having babies), age and disability. Well, as for age, the unborn child has no rights and the elderly are being put on the path to euthanasia. Five out of the nine strands, if we include gender, are to do with the rights of militant feminists and homosexuals.

    I believe she is merely preparing us, for the day when she reads out in Parliament what her “uncircumcised” government will have told her say, so that it does not come as such a shock. In trying to save the monarchy by bowing to Moloch, she will lose everything.

    The test will come at the next opening of Parliament. Then I will have to either apologise or say, “I told you so.” But, to me, at present, the indications do not look good.

    David Skinner, UK

  8. It amazes me how many people work & speak in for ‘social justice’ yet do not recognise or acknowledge where it has its roots. If you took out the word ‘God’ from your quotes from the OT & paraphrased them, few would or could logically disagree. Then point out they come from the Judeo Christian tradition & they would say “Oh we don’t want religion governing public policy”. Go figure.

    Another great article by the way.

    David Williams

  9. That is not so hard to figure, David. People instinctively know what is good for them, but don’t want to bow the knee to a Living God. That would mean playing second fiddle and sometimes having to do what is hard and painful in following the path of self-sacrifice that God requires. The heart of man is wicked, but still cunning. The scope for self-deception is sadly almost limitless.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

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