For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver;

the LORD is our king; he will save us.

Isaiah 33: 22

 

There is a warning attached to these thoughts this morning; they are overtly political in nature and in content. Now, I am as tired of that sort of thing as are most of the people that I know, but I simply can’t resist saying a few things along these lines. If I were Flip Wilson I might say, “The Devil made me do it,” but in fact, I do believe that it is Christ who is driving these thoughts. There is no place within our human realm where we can turn for true and completely reliable leadership. None of our governmental leaders or rulers will satisfactorily perform in this role. There is also no system of government that is fully and wholly God’s design and desire. They all have flaws, and every one of them will fail in the end, and that is the penultimate point of the Scriptures.

 

In the end of this age when prophesy tells us that chaos will reign as Christ returns and confronts all of the evil in our world, certain human governments will rise to extremes of prominence only to be overthrown and destroyed. None of them will survive the purifying and cleansing fire of God’s wrath as it is poured out upon a creation that has turned away from its Creator. Although we may look toward an individual leader as the one who will bring about revival or restore the former glory of our nation, that will not happen. We may look toward political promises of laws to be passed or others to be repealed as the desired outcome and the fulfillment of our wants and aspirations, but those pledges will be broken and even when sustained, they will leave God unsatisfied. We humans have muddled through for thousands of years during which we have ruled ourselves, but we have never gotten it right.

 

Isaiah said it all in these few direct and simple words. The Lord is the only ruler who merits our complete, total, and absolute loyalty. Although we do have a responsibility to God to honor the human authority and to respect the government that He has ordained to rule over us, this responsibility and honor do have limits. They are defined and constrained by what God in His Word declares as loving, just, merciful, and peaceable; thus, God calls us to live righteously as our first priority. Every word that we speak or write and even the thoughts that we form should reflect Christ into our world. When our leaders and our governments act in manners and speak ideas that honor God’s will, we need to support them and praise those efforts. Yet, when this is not true, especially when they move away from Godly values and character, we must oppose them. In the end, Christ is our judge, His law is our final authority, and He is the only King that we should bow down to.

So, faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 10: 17

 

I have faith in a number of things, and foremost among these is faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus is God, one of the three persons of what we call the Trinity. He descended from heaven to live as a man on this earth, and Jesus was crucified and died as the only satisfactory sacrifice for the sins of all of humanity. He was buried and rose on the third day, and Christ dwells with the Father in Heaven. Today the Holy Spirit resides with and in people on earth and provides us with God’s counsel and purpose. Then at the end of this age, Christ will return and utterly destroy all that is evil in Creation, and He will bring about the complete recreation of this world into the sin-free form that God originally crafted. All of this, I believe; yet, my hearing of its implications for my life is often very poor.

 

My mind and my heart have been exposed to God’s Word for almost all of my life. Pastors and others have taught it to me, and I have read scripture and discussions about it for as long as I have been able to read. My heart and my mind accepted and surrendered to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ a very long time ago. Still, there are too many occasions when these ears just don’t let these life-long truths into the parts of me that control my thoughts and actions. It does seem that true hearing is something that goes far beyond the function of auditory receptivity and processing. It is a function of the heart and it connects to my being at the point where my will and personal desire yield fully to God’s will and desire for me.

 

So, how does this change? What sort of auditory training do I require to become a better listener when it matters the most? It seems that Paul is a good resource for solving this challenge. My guess is that he knew my problem well, and his point of contact with the truth that leads to deep and unyielding faith is the word of Christ. That is, the complete expression of God’s righteous love and grace that is found in the full text of the Bible, is made real as life is lived in the fellowship of people of faith that is the church, and is revealed more completely by the Spirit of Christ. Hearing at the soul-deep level that Paul is discussing comes through surrender to Christ, and faith in Him grows as His word of truth fills every moment of my life.