Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack Obama is My President

Hello friends,

Like many of you I stayed up to watch the election returns. And it appears that in the future no one is going to want my support since NO ONE I supported ended up winning!

I'm sitting here listening to President-elect Barack Obama give his victory speech, having listened to John McCain give a gracious concession speech. My cousin who lives in DC just texted me that the people are taking to the streets to celebrate. I'm also receiving text messages of concern from people who fear this selection, not because of Obama's race but because of the platform of the Democratic party.

I must admit to mixed emotions. On the one hand, Obama has a tremendous ability to inspire. He is a very charismatic figure and a captivating speaker. I have been inspired by some of the things he has said. And I'm grateful that a whole new generation was motivated enough get involved in a process they usually feel doesn't have a place for them. I think it speaks well for our country to that we did not make a choice based solely on the color of his skin. That encourages me.

I remain seriously concerned about the planks in the Democratic Party platform that oppose the values and morals of a world-view that is based in Biblical teachings. Will life be cherished? Will the sanctity of marriage be upheld? Will secular humanism be the promoted religion of our land? These are questions and concerns that only time will reveal the answer.

So, I do have mixed emotions. I want to join the crowd saying with confidence, "Yes we can." I want someone to speak up for the down-trodden, the oppressed, the poor and hopeless. And at the same time I worry about the values that will now be promoted by the new powers that be. Values that are 180 degrees opposite from the values I have tried to teach my children and exemplify to those the Lord has trusted to my care as a pastor.

But when it's all said and done, we didn't select Barack Obama for our President, the Lord did. Romans 13 begins this way:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1 NIV)

So Barack Obama is my president, put in that office, not by voters, but by God Himself! And I must follow the biblical command to pray for him and for all who are in authority:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)

I urge everyone who reads this to join with me in praying for President-Elect Barack Obama and all those who were elected today, whether you supported them or not. And remember, God is in control. He made this choice. He has a plan that He is working after the counsel of His own will. And He is GOOD. I can trust Him that He has a plan and a place for me in it. I can trust Him as I pray for the ones He selected to be our leaders. My confidence is that my life is in His hands. So I can go to sleep tonight and sleep well, not worried or bothered, but assured that God is in control.

So I pray for my president, Barack Obama. He has a huge job on his hands. He will need all the help he can get. Will you join with me in praying for him?

Blessings,
Nathan

5 comments:

Shana said...

Thank you for this post. I too have mixed emotions, but at the end of it all, I know that it was ultimately God's decision, and that in His decision , He as a PLAN. And I know that His plans for me are GOOD. So, I am at peace.

I love you tons! Once again, you have soothed my spirit. Thank you. Have an awesome day!

NathanMartin said...

Thanks for the kind words, Shana! I always appreciate the encouragement! :) I love you! See you at Family Lunch!

Gil McKee said...

“But when it's all said and done, we didn't select Barack Obama for our President, the Lord did. Romans 13 begins this way:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1 NIV)”

So Barack Obama is my president, put in that office, not by voters, but by God Himself! And I must follow the biblical command to pray for him and for all who are in authority:

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV)

I urge everyone who reads this to join with me in praying for President-Elect Barack Obama and all those who were elected today, whether you supported them or not. And remember, God is in control. He made this choice. He has a plan that He is working after the counsel of His own will. And He is GOOD. I can trust Him that He has a plan and a place for me in it. I can trust Him as I pray for the ones He selected to be our leaders. My confidence is that my life is in His hands. So I can go to sleep tonight and sleep well, not worried or bothered, but assured that God is in control.”


Nathan, as always I think the world of you and am glad that you are a man of God that chose to represent him through elected office as you do in your personal life!

That said I must disagree with you on this!

God did indeed establish the governing authorities. The positions, not the men or women who fill them!

Early in the bible the Israelites saw the other nations had kings and they wanted a king to guide them. Now we are talking a group of people who already had the best leader possible! They had been guided for years by a cloud and protected from all the elements and provided for each and every day. They had defeated the Pharaoh and the armies in the lands God sent them to inhabit, but they wanted something else, an earthly king and earthly guide! God told them NO, but they kept on and in a case of “be careful what you ask for” he gave them a King to rule over them. Some were good and some were bad, but they got what they wanted.

God gives each of us a choice and we get to exercise it each time we decide something. Are we deciding for God or against God!

Now in our current times we see these same principles of free will and lack of trust in God and lack of concern for Biblical leading in our modern day elections. God DID NOT put Barack Obama in place. He gave a group of men two hundred forty or so years ago, through much thought, deep prayer, long debate and intense scrutiny, the wisdom to create a system that has stood the test of time. As a result of their wisdom and this system we have been able to exercise the free will he gave us through voting to select the men and women who govern us.

Just as we have the freedom to choose to have a relationship with Christ and be saved through his death, we have the freedom to choose who leads us. Both are guided by our own choices! If we choose to follow Jesus and make choices based on the principles found in the Bible then we lead ourselves and those attached to us to realize the ideals and ultimate peace found in traveling life on a God directed path!

In this election, as in many things in recent years, we have not seen the freedom of choice God allows us used in any way that can be called “Christian”. God allows us to go the way we choose, gently chiding us and tugging on us through the spirit to come to him. But we can indeed ignore that pull and go our own way. We have each done it and will do it again. What separates the people that call themselves the children of God from the population as a whole is that the Children of God are trying in the best way they know how to be in an intimate relationship with God our creator and ultimate deliverer. This relationship allows us to have an understanding that is gained only through time spent in communication with God. Just like in our marriages, communication is the key, talking to each other and getting to know your spouse is the only way a marriage survives the trials of daily living! Only through learning about our intimate partner can we understand how to guide our families in daily tasks. The same principle hold true with God! Except we are his bride and he is out guiding force.

What we saw in last week’s election was people NOT following God’s plan as laid out in the Bible and lived out through his Son. We saw freedom of choice used to put faith in man not God. We think a liberal Congress and a liberal President will “fix” it all!

A leper doesn’t change his spots. A man either does what he has done in the past, admits what he did in the past was wrong and does something different, or does something different while lying about his past because he knows it is the most politically expedient way to power!!! When a man chooses the third option and then cloaks it in a persuasive speech given with the most eloquent of oratory he can indeed dazzle the populace and get elected! But beware the wolf will devour the sheep once he is in the pen!

This is not an response based on being either a Democrat or a Republican, but a rather thought on the direction our nation is taking. God is alive and well, but his church is doing a poor job of sharing his desires!

God did not pick Barack Obama, man did. God did give wisdom to our founding fathers, when they asked for it, to create a system that has been the pinnacle of all governing systems to date. We took that system and without reliance on Godly principles used it to our own poor end! These coming years are not going to be good years from a God perspective!

I DO agree with your admonition to pray for our leaders. They need it! But what we really need to do is start a “grass roots” campaign to get Godly men and women elected so slowly we begin to move our country back to where God is and get it involved in seeking his will and his direction! God does indeed have a plan and He is indeed going to accomplish it! The question today is are we making choices, especially in the voting booth, that are helping him or is he going to have to look elsewhere to find an army to help him accomplish his plan?

If he has to look elsewhere no system of governance will save us, no man or congressional bailout will save us, no new politician will save us. Only people in right relationship with God, seeking him on a day to day basis, making choices that reflect his will and his desires, voting for leaders that will put those desires into place through laws, policies and directives, will ultimately right this ship and turn it toward HOME!

NathanMartin said...

Hi Gil,

Thanks for writing and for your kind comments about my elected service. I'm not going to try to do a point-for-point reply, although your comment was very reasoned and deserves a thoughtful response.

I can appreciate the complexities of the debate over whether God "put" Obama in office or "allowed" him to be elected. Obviously I came down on the side of God placing him, but I definitely understand, and value, the thought that God allowed people to make their own choice, just as He did with Israel and Saul. However, in that "allowing" God still chose Saul, telling Samuel who to anoint as the first king of Israel.

My other lingering question comes from Daniel 2:12 which says that God "removes kings and establishes kings." (NASB) Other translations say "sets up" (NIV), "raises up" (NKJV). So however you read it, it appears to indicate that God chooses who will be ruler, even if the ruler is something that doesn't line up with godly standards, if having that person in office will achieve God's purposes. Some examples include Nebuchadnezzar-king of Babylon, Cyrus-king of Persia, and even Pontius Pilate who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. Remember the exchange between him and Jesus in John 19:10-11:

So Pilate said to Him, "You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?" Jesus answered, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."

I appreciate your comment that God established the idea of government but doesn't necessarily choose who fills those roles. However, the examples I've given above seem to indicate otherwise, although I'm not saying it's conclusive.

My main point was to speak to the fear that appears to be motivating a lot of Christians. We have to understand that God is ALWAYS in control and is working HIS will to completion. He has a plan and a timeline and He will achieve that by whatever means possible. So there's no place for fear in the Christian's life.

Thanks so much for your comment. I have thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue that has arisen as a result of this election and I continue to look for ways the glorify God in everything. Thanks again!

Blessings,
Nathan

Gil Mckee said...

I can certainly agree with your overall points made in the end of your comments.

God IS in control and will use whatever we put in place to accomplish his purpose.

We will have to agree to disagree on the larger point here. God did place kings as the form of government at the time was one of hereditary service. It passed form father to son or was taken through battle.

As we have progressed to a more "civilized" time and have developed governments of the people, we have seen free will exercised more readily in choosing governments.

But even in early times we saw free will at work. They chose to live in Egypt under the Pharaoh or follow Moses. In the desert we saw their free will in that at several points they wanted to go back to Egypt, but through convincing speech they stayed! (Politics from an earlier time!)

Free will has always been in play. Throughout history Kings and dictators have been overthrown.

I guess I see God as allowing people to come to power in a broken world. Allowing is different than placing or appointing! God cannot be a part of brokenness or anything less than perfection. That is why he sent his Son, to renew perfection as a possibility in his people. So saying God placed people who would knowingly do things against his plan and will, people who have chosen to go a way not directed by Him, is something I cannot agree with. Will he allow it? Most certainly! Back to free will and choice. He will use it for his good!

He does indeed use the situation to His GLORY! He WILL accomplish his goal! That I agree with wholeheartedly!

Just some thoughts from my over-squozen mind!

Again the question is are we there to help him?