Monday, November 7, 2016

election day encouragement

It is hard to imagine a more sobering election cycle in America. I watched the primaries with interest and the nominations with alarm. I am quite simply speechless. Are these really the best candidates for President that our nation could produce? I'm tempted to list the shocking specifics that make this election unprecedented, but you've had enough of that already, and my goal is to encourage you.

I borrow the words of the prophet Micah:
"Listen, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice, you who hate good and love evil?" (Micah 3:1–2a)
"Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice and distort all that is right;
who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness.
Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the LORD's support and say,
'Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us." (Micah 3:9–11) 
Like ancient Israel, this campaign season has been drenched with distortion and lies, wickedness and injustice, and yet the candidates vie for endorsement from religious leaders. Tomorrow as millions of Americans head to the polls, they will likely send a clear signal that it's okay to cheat your way to the top, okay to take advantage of the system, okay to abuse power to get what you want, and okay to consider yourself above the law. To be clear, I am not vilifying any single candidate. Either major party nominee will bring with them to the White House a long list of offenses. It's enough to invite despair.

But then there's the Psalms. I've just read through the "enthronement psalms" -- Psalms 93–99. These psalms are intriguing, in part because they directly follow the despair of an apparently failed Davidic covenant (Psalm 89), in a section of the book that mentions neither David nor another human king. Who's in charge? How can we have enthronement if there's no king? For those in exile, this was an urgent question.

For the enthronement psalms the answer is simple: Yahweh is king over the whole earth. And what a candidate he is!

God is utterly blameless:
"Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days." (Psalm 93:5)
God is full of loving compassion for the weak:
"When I said, 'My foot is slipping," your unfailing love, LORD, supported me." (Psalm 94:18)
God is praiseworthy:
"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise." (Psalm 96:4a) 
 Even his foreign policy is celebrated:
"The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice." (Psalm 97:1)
God will make just decisions and treat people fairly:
"He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity." (Psalm 98:9b)
Now that's a leader I can get behind.

And so on this election day, vote your conscience. Make every effort to elect leaders whose character will compel them to uphold justice and govern wisely. Choose the best you can. But remember this: our hope does not rest in humans. The one who sits enthroned above all is the God who saves.
"Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy." (Psalm 99:9)
Against the black backdrop of this election cycle, this is very good news indeed.

1 comment: