Government: A Man-Made Institution Destined for Failure


 The nation of Israel was born out of the seed of Abraham to which became its twelve tribes under a patriarchal system with Jacob as their leader. By the time Israel was welcomed by Pharaoh in the land of Goshen, Israel became a part of a family of seventy (Genesis 46:27 / 47:1-6). By the time Moses came into the picture; about four hundred years later; the Bible tells us:

“Then a new king began to rule Egypt, who did not know who Joseph was.

This king said to his people, “Look! The people of Israel are too many and too strong for us to handle!

If we don’t make plans against them, the number of their people will grow even more. Then if there is a war, they might join our enemies and fight us and escape from the country!”

(Exodus 1:8-10)

            Moses represented, among many things, the beginning of the era of the Judges. Israel had grown too large to properly operate under the Patriarchal System; but still, God remained their King. However, after about 450 years of judges, the idea of a Monarchal system was rapidly approaching.

             Samuel represented Israel’s last judge. His two sons were corrupted and they did not have the character, the anointing or the wisdom to properly carry on the work of their dad, whose record as a prophet and judge was without reproach.  As Samuel grew old there was also a growing desire in God’s people to be like everybody else. (1 Samuel 8:1-22)

            It is clear as we look at these verses in 1Samuel 8:1-22 that the idea of this new way of Government was not God’s idea; it was not approved by God. Through the Prophet Samuel the Bible clearly states the consequences of having a Government centered on a man and not on God. In 1 Samuel 8:7 God’s specifically says:

“…and the Lord told Samuel, “Listen to whatever the people say to you. They have not rejected you. They have rejected me from being their king.”

            God actually took the pleas from the people for a king as a direct rejection of Him.  The following verses give us the direct consequences of having a Man-Centered Government:

“Samuel said, “If you have a king ruling over you, this is what he will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and his horses, and they will run in front of the king’s chariot.

The king will make some of your sons, commanders over thousands or over fifties. He will make some of your other sons plow his ground and reap his harvest. He will take others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

He will take your daughters to make perfume and cook and bake for him.

He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants.

He will take one-tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and servants.

He will take your male and female servants, your best cattle, and your donkeys and use them all for his own work.

He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

When that time comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose. But the Lord will not answer you then.”

But the people would not listen to Samuel. They said, “No! We want a king to rule over us.

Then we will be the same as all the other nations. Our king will judge for us and go with us and fight our battles.”

After Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated their words to the Lord.

The Lord answered, “You must listen to them. Give them a king.” Then Samuel told the people of Israel, “Go back to your towns.” (1 Samuel 8:11-22)

           You be the judge of these words! Every government in the history of humanity has failed; every powerful nation in the history of mankind was eventually destroyed by its own pride and arrogance. They lasted for a while, some better than others, but only God’s Kingdom will be established forever.

            I am not asking for Christians to refuse to participate in the political process, what I am encouraging our Christian brothers and sisters to do is to look at government for what it is; a man-made institution destined for failure. No offense to our Founding Fathers; but history do not have the authority to take away the Truth of God’s Word. If your hope is in the Democratic Party, our current President, the Tea Party Movement or the return of the Republican Party to power, you are setting yourself up for another great disappointment. God is our King and His Kingdom (Government) is the only one that will be establish forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13)

 

One thought on “Government: A Man-Made Institution Destined for Failure

  1. I beg to differ. Your negative view of political systems will only encouraged pacifism and withdrawal from the political arena by the church. And it is contrary to the exhortation to pray for good government that our nation is inexplicably linked to the advance of the Kingdom of God:

    “God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause Your face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, and Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth will yield her increase; and God, our own God, shall bless us. He shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him” (Psalm 67).

    Indeed I would argue that our nation has a kingdom destiny. The Apostle Paul stood up in front of a group of philosophers in a pagan city and preached this amazing message found in Acts 17:26, “God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings so that they should seek the Lord…” You were chosen and appointed to live in a particular time and place; the boundaries of your nation were set from before the beginning of time in order that man might seek and find the Lord! Therefore, our attitude and in fact our involvement as Christ followers in and toward the purposes of God in our nation is a major part of our own spiritual inheritance.

    Later as Paul is about to give up his life for the gospel, he writes instruction to Timothy, his spiritual son and new apostle and elder in the church: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    Paul is letting his protégé know this is what the church is to pray for our government for kings and all those in authority for the purpose of spreading the gospel through preaching. The focus is that we can live in a society that is absent of chaos and repression and suppression in order that out of that liberty, the spread of the gospel through preaching is loosed, and all men may be saved. Therefore the exhortation to the church to pray for good government is inexplicably linked to the advance of the Kingdom of God.

    In fact, according to Scripture and what Paul is instructing Timothy in his letter, its Christ followers who are responsible for the state of our nation. What Scripture teaches is that the church is the salt of the earth, and it’s when the salt loses its savor that ungodly men are able to trample over it. Matthew 5:13 states, “’You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.’” So we need to understand that the state of the union is contingent on the state of the church, and the state of the church plays directly upon the state of the union.

    It’s the will of God that nations have godly, good government that the gospel might be preached and salvation may freely come to all. For He has ordained that societies be governed by worldly institutions with the authority to reward good and to punish evil (see Rom 13:1-7). Humans flourish when society is secure and the difference between good and evil is acknowledged and preserved. Concern for their well-being is therefore properly shown in respect for such authorities. This vision of reality follows logically from the proceeding instructions (Rom 12:17-21) which both indicate that God is sovereign, and that we ought to allow God to be sovereign by responding to those who have wronged us in love. I interpret this to mean that justice should be left in the hands of God, who will ultimately eliminate evil, but that our task is to seek to redeem the evil we meet by responding in love, to “overcome evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

    Although Paul no doubt echoes the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:38-48, he does not discuss what should be done when governments fail to uphold good or to restrain evil. Nor does he pretend that Rome was the model of good government. Paul must have felt that existing circumstances required no more then the broadest statement of principle. He gave no thought to civil disobedience or non-violent resistance. Nor did he urge passivity and withdrawal from the political arena. That too was a non-starter. Consequently, there are no direct appeals to civic obligation and political power. Indeed, given Paul’s position on the law in Romans 7, any such appeal would be problematical. Thus to use this passage appropriately in an ethical evaluation about our role in the political process, we should outline the principles of behavior that Paul derives from his vision of Christian service.

    Paul prescribes respect for authority and payment of taxes on the principle that political authority is from God. He proscribes removing governments on the principle that society needs restraints in order to ensure the good; and administering such restraints is the main function of a ruler. When Paul depicts moral obligation in these terms, he is merely spelling out our correct response to God’s faithfulness. This text does contribute controlling ideas to political theory. In fact, political power is confirmed for every person. The state on the world stage is comparable to the individual in community; it is the means of mutual acceptance in this world.

    Paul claims no basis for regarding public acts and political power as evil. On the contrary, Paul seems to go out of his way to eliminate any such division. Any ruler not simply can be, but properly speaking is, “God’s servant for your good.” For Paul there was no clear division between “sacred authority” and the “political life.” Paul understood that the earthly power, though not ultimate, has temporary legitimate power that provides provisional peace and order. So I have do doubt that he would encourage us today to become more involved in the political process as part of our Christian service.

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