Just in case you think the Bible isn’t timely:
In I Samuel 8, the prophet Samuel is growing old and his sons are not following in Dad’s footsteps. The natives are getting restless wondering what’s going to happen when Samuel dies, so someone comes up with the bright idea that Israel needs a king like all the nations around them. Neither Samuel nor God is pleased with this arrangement, so Samuel tries to talk them out it:
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day. (I Samuel 8:10-18, NIV)
However, they wouldn’t be dissuaded. All the other cool kids had a king and they wanted one too. So, God gives them what they asked for, knowing the consequences would be punishment enough. They gave up the King of the Universe for a figurehead.
Looking at our current political landscape, I can’t help but think we’ve done the same thing. We’ve sold out for figureheads. We’ve reaped what we’ve sown. Regardless of what side you choose, both options are equally awful.
Perhaps it’s time to take the directive given to Israel’s wisest king:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:13 – 14, NIV)
We can’t change the choices in the polling booth in November, but we can bow our hearts before the real King and let Him change the way we think and treat one another. That’s the beginning. That’s the way to begin the process of replacing figureheads.