Saturday, November 01, 2014

Courier-Times article for Saturday, November 1, 2014: "Kings without Consultation"

Kings without Consultation

They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. (Hosea 8:4 ESV)

Do you know how it feels to want something in a particular person’s hands when it matters most? Sure, we all do. Perhaps the most vivid way to picture this is through sports analogies.

Who do you want with the ball in their hand at the end of a basketball game? You know the answer; you want Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. Do your homework; those two have hit more game winning shots than anyone.

Who do you want leading your football team down the field with the game on the line? Good research would lead you to say Peyton Manning or Dan Marino. Those guys are clutch.

Who do you want up to bat when need a late game RBI? You might be surprised to learn who it is, but Keith Hernandez has the most game winning RBIs.

For a believer, it’s not who we want up to bat, or making the winning drive or shooting the hoop that really matters. It’s not who has the ball in their hands that really matters; what really matters is whose hands we are in!

Much of life has to do with stewardship. Whether it’s the money in the bank or the breath in our lungs, what we do with what God has placed in our care is serious business.

Consider these words of Jesus: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5 ESV)

Those words should grip our hearts: “…apart from me you can do nothing.”

If we’re going to be clutch, we’d better make sure we’re abiding in Jesus!

If we hope to exercise any good judgment; if we hope to be wise in our use of anything whatsoever; if our desire is to produce anything pleasing to God, we must be abiding in Jesus.

Point blank; period.

Let’s take the upcoming elections, for example. As an American citizen, if you are of age, you’ve been given the stewardship of your vote. You can vote without abiding in the Lord, but your vote will not bear spiritual fruit if you are not abiding in Him. In other words, your vote will be meaningless to Him. Sure, it might get someone elected, but it will not bear fruit of the Spirit.

The vote is in your hands, but you make sure you’re in God’s hands!

Today’s verse from the Prophet Hosea is a prime example. The people of Israel set up leaders without consulting the Lord. Israel simply followed their flesh, acted in their own wisdom, and moved forward in establishing leaders not of God’s choosing.

In very foreboding language, God tells Israel they have acted foolishly, and it will cost them: “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7a ESV)

Don’t be misled, dear friend; I am by no means telling you who to vote for or who not to vote for. Sure, do your homework. It doesn’t make sense to say you’re a Christian with biblical values if those values don’t translate into wise stewardship of your vote. Still, that’s an issue for you to wrestle with, not for me to command.

Consult with God. Be led of Him. Make sure it is He who leads you into the voting booth and make sure it is He who picks the candidates. Let us pick no kings – or princes, or county commissioners or legislators – without God’s consultation.

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