For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

Isaiah 14: 1

 

What makes a nation and its people great? We usually think in terms of wealth, military power, prominence in the world, and domination of other people and countries. We take pride in our own country because of many of these qualities and abilities. We may even express a certain arrogance about being from a place on the globe. Being proud of the country that we call home, even that deep expression of this that we call patriotism, is not bad and it is not necessarily wrong in God’s view of things. The key to God’s view of the status of this sort of national pride may very well rest in the reasons for it. If wealth, power, world strength, and the ability to control the destinies of others are those points of pride in themselves; then, I fear that God would not be pleased. However, if the way that all of these qualities and abilities are used for the sake of justice, peace, and the spread of the Gospel are what makes us so readily identify with a national home; then, God’s purposes are being served.

 

The existence of nations and of their various forms of governance is something that God has granted to humanity so that we would have an orderly system for maintaining a functioning society in a fallen world. If people were not self-centered and focused primarily on gaining the greatest possible advantage for ourselves, we would not require rules and the human authorities that create them, and we would not need the power structures that enforce those rules on our unruly hearts and minds. God’s design for this world was simple, it had only one rule, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gn. 2: 16, 17) Obey the Lord in the simplest of things and all would go well, but do otherwise and the consequences are real and troubling. We have not done well in this matter of following God.

 

Even the nations that God established were placed under the mandate to follow certain rules regarding their purposes and roles in the world. Now I am taking the model and the example of Israel as that for how a Godly nation and its people should operate; then, I m applying that concept to any nation that truly desires to be great in God’s view of greatness. Frankly, I don’t see any examples of nations that succeed in this endeavor. In fact, I don’t see any that even aspire to do so. Yet, this bleak history should not leave us hopeless. Each of us who follow Christ has the ability to express the hopes, desires, and aspirations that our Lord has granted to us. We can and should express our understanding of Christ’s vision for our own nation to our leaders and with others so that a voice that seeks out God’s love, justice, peace, and care for those who have less capacity to care for and to protect themselves is heard clearly in the national dialogue. Our nations can be places where people from other lands will be drawn because of the character that we exhibit, and as we dwell in the center of God’s will, our land should be a place where the Gospel of Christ is the reigning rule of law.

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