King Saul by all measurements was a terrible leader. During his 40 year reign, Israel’s economy practically collapsed. The taxation kept people in debt and enslaved to their creditors. They spent more time in war than ever before in their history. Saul led the nation to civil war and to outright war with the Philistines – AT THE SAME TIME.
He was petty and shallow.
He was a hothead and a liar.
He did everything out of selfish gain.
He wouldn’t listen to wise counsel.
He was a terrible king.
What was the real tragedy? He wasn’t even the worst leader they would have. Israel has been under the reign of a Who’s Who list of terrible leaders: King Nebuchadnezzar, Hezekiah, Ahab, Rehoboam, Cyrus and Artaxerxes. And don’t even get me started on the Roman rulers.
Where am I going with this?
History repeats itself.
So does God.
History is full of petty, shallow, hotheaded, lying, selfish leaders who make life miserable for the people they are “leading.” And if you look closely, God is still at work. He may have to work on, in spite of, through, around, with, or against them. But He’s working.
God turned the arrogance of the Pharaoh against himself to destroy his own army. God used Artaxerxes (with a little help from Esther) to avoid the genocide of the Hebrew people. King Cyrus paved the way to restore a fallen Jerusalem. Caesar Augustus put the world in motion to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
God has used unfit, unsavory leaders for His purposes throughout history. That’s the lesson here. It’s important to not get confused on the issue. I’m sure God would prefer godly, holy, mature, Kingdom-focused leaders, but He’s not limited if they aren’t around.
I’m not happy about where we are as a nation. Who is, really? We are in dire straits financially, socially, and morally. Furthermore, it doesn’t appear that any of the candidates placed before us have the maturity or insight to deal with any of these issues on any kind of level. One has had the opportunity for decades and failed miserably. The other is too reckless and reactionary.
So it’s beyond disturbing to see these two candidates throw careless word after careless word toward each other while the ship is sinking. It’s beyond criminal to watch how they each fail to demonstrate the basic ability to be civil to someone and to speak intelligently on any issue, rather than the continuous display of angry, immature, and self-serving myopic rhetoric that comes out of both of their mouths.
But I’m done panicking. I’m done with the fear of the future.
I’ve got dual citizenship.
I’m not talking about Canada, either. I am a part of another Kingdom, a bigger Kingdom. That Kingdom is larger than just my color, my socio-economic status, my language, and my geography. It is a redemptive Kingdom where the King is righteous and holy. Always. It’s an eternal one. One that I don’t always understand but I can trust. One that can’t be outlawed or outdated.
While my confidence with mankind may be at an all-time low, my confidence with Christ is at an all-time high. Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, God will still work. It might be through, with, around, and/or in spite of these new leaders. It’s what He has done from the beginning.
The real question is, “Which kingdom will consume you?” Will you be so consumed and distracted by your earthly citizenship that your heavenly citizenship becomes worthless?
If the church faces more persecution, more attacks…
If it becomes more difficult to be the church in America over this next chapter…
If our leaders make life more difficult for Christ-followers rather than easier…
Guess what? We are still going to feed hungry kids in Topeka. We are still going to engage families with the story of Jesus through sports. We are still going to walk into trash dump communities with the Gospel, as well as food and education. We are still going to build bridges with international college students who may have never heard the Gospel before. We are still going to try to equip parents to be godly parents and kids to be godly kids. We are still going to speak truthfully about Jesus and His plan to restore and redeem ALL people, regardless of race, culture, or social position.
Those works will have a larger impact. Those works will be transformative in me, as well as to those who benefit from them. Those works will be Kingdom works that I know will never be in vain.
I will utilize the greatest honor and responsibility I have as a citizen in the United States in November. I will vote.
But I will also do the same in the other Kingdom I belong to. I will serve.
And I’m not confused as to which one will have the lasting impact.