Our nation seems quite preoccupied with our national election scheduled for this week. The journeys and speeches of the candidates seem to have pre-empted many other news stories, until last week as Hurricane Sandy swept up our eastern seaboard wreaking havoc throughout the northeastern states.
One could think that all the chatter about what this or that political party or candidate can do might have been eclipsed by the demonstration of the vastly greater powers of the atmosphere, and the demonstration of what such a storm can do. But hardly.
It occurs to me that there may be a message in the appearance of Hurricane Sandy just the week before the election. I personally don’t believe there’s any more “chance” nor randomness in the path of this storm than there is in the design of the creation. I also believe that the profligate use of our natural resources has indeed caused the major disruption of climate that has resulted in more frequent and more damaging storms such as this one.
We seem preoccupied by some of the other things that men can do, especially these days by what the political powers promise us. Unfortunately they have not dealt decisively enough with our biggest problems: climate, war, finance, employment, health, and housing. Some of us wonder if there is much significant difference between the two major parties.
But this question is trumped by another one:
Where is God in all of this?
We are approaching the seasons of Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas in which we focus on what God has already given us, on the promise of Jesus’ second coming, and on celebrating his first coming – which we hope will always be re-enacted and refreshed in our hearts and homes every December.
The psalmist and prophets of old told of the coming of the final kingdom of love and justice, and those prophecies bring a lot more believable hope, real hope, to our hearts than any of the political promises.
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the LORD and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the LORD’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Malachi 3: 1-5
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
Isaiah 60: 2-3
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
For this reason my church is planning to have a day of prayer and fasting tomorrow, November 6th, on election day, when we will pray more earnestly than ever for our country and our world. They need it. All of us need the promises that the prophets told us about, and we look forward to them with hearts full of hope and expectation!