As we enter this new year with a new President and new administration in the US, some of us may be feeling a bit unnerved. We are seeing President Trump carry out campaign promises. He has issued an executive order to stop refugees of certain countries from coming to the United States. He has also promised a wall will be built between the US and Mexico. His cabinet picks seem to be setting up a regime built for war, big oil and gas anywhere and everywhere; for big banking without restraint; for more secrecy when it comes to how industry does its business, such as allowing the USDA to cover for animal abusers and to remove records of animal welfare violations from its website (go here for a petition and to read more about the latest on the USDA situation).
We may find our selves asking, are we going backward? How on earth can we build peaceful relations with others, to protect the environment and animal kingdom, to require transparency from leaders and industry, under these circumstances?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know a little about what we can all do to combat the powers and principalities at play in our world affecting policy world wide and the US leadership that continues to bring us corruption and to set up situations that foster unethical treatment of people groups, the animal kingdom and environment.
- Pray. In Exodus chapter 17, the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. God uses sword wielding governments and regimes who will not lay down their differences and solve problems peacefully to further his plans, bring about as much good as possible from the situation, and ultimately advance his will on earth. So God used this situation in Exodus to further his purposes, and “as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.” (Exodus 17:) So we go to the Lord with outstretched hands in prayer. We know by the teachings of Jesus which trump all other prior authority and revelation, that violence is not the ideal in God’s plan for people. We learn a new way to deal with conflict through the work of Christ on earth. We love our enemies; we commit to a non-violent way of living and solving human problems.
- Violence doesn’t work. Opting out of the world’s systems is a way in which we fight spiritual warfare, and storm the gates of Hades. This short post explains more and is excellent teaching on this subject. Here are 5 basic contrasts (quoting from the article):
a. A contrast of trusts – the kingdom of the world trusts the power of the sword, while the kingdom of God trusts the power of the cross.
b. A contrast of aims – the world seeks to control behavior, while the kingdom of God seeks to transform lives from the inside out.
c. A contrast of scopes -the world is intrinsically tribal in nature, and is heavily invested in defending, if not advancing, one’s own people-group, one’s nation, one’s ethnicity, one’s state, one’s religion, one’s ideologies, or one’s political agendas; this is why it is a kingdom characterized by perpetual conflict. But, God’s ideal for the world, however, is intrinsically universal, for it is centered on simply loving as God loves.
d. A contrast of responses –the world is intrinsically a tit-for-tat kingdom; its motto is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” …kingdom-of-God participants carry the cross, not the sword. We, thus, aren’t ever to return evil with evil, violence with violence.
e. A contrast of battles – the world has earthly enemies and, thus fights earthly battles; the kingdom of God, however, by definition has no earthly enemies, for its disciples are committed to love “their enemies,” thereby treating them as friend (end quote).
Jesus is our President and his Kingdom is our nation. From Abraham to Jesus, we see that Yahweh has been reaching into human history, trying to draw Israel out from the surrounding nations to be his people for the purpose of reaching those nations and restoring the earth to its original peaceful ideal. Yahweh created us in his Image to be the stewards of the creation and his Image bearers as we exercise dominion upon the earth. When we look at what Jesus did when he was on earth, we see him addressing the church of his day, not the Roman rulers under which the Jewish peoples were being oppressed. Jesus leaves us the example we need to follow as the church. We are to leave the sword wielding governments to the Father to deal with; our job is to be the church, set apart and peacefully reflect his Image, drawing others into the realm of his nation. For further reading on the the future of the church, a different kind of nation, go here and here.
As Jesus followers, we need not get discouraged at what we see happening in our world, or in our nations leadership. We should not be surprised at seeing evil, Satan is yet the Prince of this world who “prowls around… looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8); instead we rejoice for Jesus has won the war (1 John 3:8), and Satan’s days are numbered (Revelation 12:12)! We continue to persevere, to be a Jesus looking “nation” as the church (Ephesians 5:1,2). We continue to support one another “the more we see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). We continue to speak up “for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8). We continue to trust that the Father has a plan and he is working on it (Deuteronomy 7:9)!
The more of us who are willing to stand in the gap as Moses did, raising our hands in prayer and praise, bringing all our petitions and requests boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), acting as his hands and feet (2 Corinthians 5:20), “not conforming to the patterns of this world but being transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2) so that we will be equipped to more closely follow his lead, the more we will “speed the day of his coming” (2 Peter 3:12).
Note: SAGC is hosting Peace Without Borders prayer event which will go through February 11, 2017. Come and join us in prayer, there is much to pray about!
Thank you for reading and sharing! Comments are always welcome, and we pray you are blessed by our article! ~Kathy