ELECTION 2020: Jesus Reigns
On the first Tuesday in November Americans will vote to decide who the next President of the United States will be. Perhaps you are excited for this day to come as you passionately support one of the candidates. However, many of you may have grown disillusioned with politics and simply want to get this politically charged event done and over with so that we can move on with life whatever the outcome. Then there may be others who enjoy the excitement that surrounds such grand events as the national election, yet don’t put much stock in the outcome either. Whatever your political inclinations or the earnestness with which you hold them, Psalm 146 is a pointed reminder of who really rules and reigns. Whether you are hopeful, despairing, or disillusioned with the current political landscape, Psalm 146 speaks to you reminding you to praise the Lord, our perfect King! Jesus is our help and our hope and his kingdom will never end. Jesus reigns from his throne no matter who rules in the White House.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! - Psalm 146
It is rebellion against the true King to put your trust and hope in princes or presidential candidates. They provide no salvation whatever promises they may give. Presidents come and go and even when a promise is kept it rarely leads to the desired outcome we had hoped for. The Psalmist reminds us of this: 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Perhaps you are thinking, “Well, I don’t trust any of our candidates so this doesn’t apply to me!” Don’t let yourself off the hook so easily! Prior to the 2016 election Joe Rigney commented, “God is holding a mirror up to America, as it were. He is showing us who we are as a nation. We may not like what we see, but the two major party candidates represent us well…That’s our nation. God is giving us the leaders that we deserve.” Sometimes God gives us what we want even if upon reflection we don’t really like what we see.
It is easy to get self-righteous and think these candidates don’t reflect me. It is easy to blame shift. It is easy to always think that the problem is the sin “out there.” That is what the Pharisees did – it is the Romans, tax collectors, sinners – they are the problem! Yet, Jesus called them whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful but within are full of dead peoples’ bones. Our desperately sick hearts don’t want to take responsibility. We love to blame shift.
We should not be surprised. We humans have been blame shifting since the beginning. Adam’s leadership failure was passivity and blame shifting – simply going along with what Satan said rather than what God had declared to be true. When confronted by God he did not take responsibility for his own shortcomings. We follow in Adam’s footsteps and so we blame our boss, our professor, our spouse, our President until there is no one left to blame except God himself sounding very much like Adam’s blame shifting “the woman YOU gave me!”
So, are we getting the leaders we deserve? The truth is we deserve leaders FAR WORSE because we are far worse. Our passivity, our blame shifting, our trusting in other princes may seem harmless to our deceitful hearts but in fact it is a declaration of war against King Jesus, and we deserve death.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:1–5, 10
What scandalous grace that the sinless King of Kings took responsibility for OUR SIN! We shirk responsibility even for things that are clearly our fault, and yet the blameless One takes responsibility upon himself for sin in which he had no part.
I think that sometimes within the church we have become too accustomed to the grace of God rather than believing it afresh every day and drinking deeply of its surprising good news. We can easily grow cold to God’s grace. We come to expect it, assume it, demand it, and even become angry if we don’t get it. We may say to ourselves, “IF ONLY we had a better President, a new job, a better marriage…fill in the blank.” We say these things as if we deserved better than what we have.
It is a great distortion to think that God on his throne owes us mercy.
Every good thing we ever receive is an undeserved gift from God. We deserve God’s righteous wrath for our rebellion. So, we certainly deserve the leaders we vote into office.
We were dead Satan following children of wrath! That is the declaration of Ephesians 2:1-3, and there are no exceptions as if we get a pass for voting for the “right guy.”
The truth is we didn’t vote for the right guy; we crucified him!
But God, being rich in mercy…The amazing, unexpected, life transforming good news is that instead of giving us what we deserve God gives us the exact opposite. God gives us himself as our HELP and HOPE. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever. 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord made heaven and earth – Jesus is able and mighty to save. Jesus keeps faith forever even when we are faithless. Jesus executes justice for the oppressed by becoming the oppressed One who took sin upon himself so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus gives food to the hungry by giving his flesh as the bread of life so that whoever comes to him shall not hunger, and whoever believes in him shall never thirst. Jesus left his throne of glory to save rebellious children of wrath like you and me. That is a King we don’t deserve but that is the perfect King we get by grace!
If you call Jesus your King and depend on him as your help and your hope then Psalm 146 calls you blessed (happy). As a result, we as the church ought to be the most HAPPY people come election Tuesday.
When all the votes are tallied and the results are in we should be a people who rejoice for we are truly blessed! No matter what happens on election day Jesus is still on his throne and ALL authority in heaven AND ON EARTH has been given to him!
Our HELP and our HOPE is secure! No election results will change that. So, praise the Lord! Stop blame shifting and take responsibility for what God has given you knowing that you are accepted in Christ. He is a better King than you or any candidates in any election.
Our King keeps his promises and our King reigns forever! Trust in King Jesus come what may!
The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord!