Many conversations are evolving across America regarding the condition of our country. Some citizens say we should have more laws to enforce specific crimes. Other folks are concerned that our elected officials are corrupting the current system of justice.
What, as Christian American citizens, is our role or responsibility to make sure our country continues to prosper? Should we just turn the other cheek when we see the country falter? Or is rebelling against undesired government decisions the better option to grow a strong nation? Honestly, who knows the correct answers?
In His omniscient, all-knowing power, (Psalm 139:1-24), God knew all the problems that citizens of a nation would face. And in accordance with His all-loving nature, God gave instruction on how to live with justice for all.
But humans are selfish, we think we know best.
Sadly, that truth was revealed even as the Jews were lead from captivity in Egypt to freedom. It was then that a certain leader, being in direct communications with God, Himself, revealed the goodness and truth he received straight from God. Yet that leader was ignored by the people.
Moses lead the first generation of Israelites out of Egypt. But when that original generation ignored God’s laws, they were then left to wander the desert for forty years. They were not worthy to enter God’s promised land because of their disobedience to Him.
It was the second generation, standing on the east bank of the Jordan River, who believed God when He said He would make them great as they prepared to take possession of their promised land. There, the people listened to how they should live.
On the bank, Moses shared God’s rule on the importance of fair judges for decent and righteous living.
Deuteronomy 16:18-20 Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Another specific responsibility the Bible shares with us is that citizens are to pay taxes.
In Luke 20:20-26, Jesus states to the religious leaders it is correct to pay taxes to the government. Jesus also led by example on the importance of paying taxes when He paid His temple tax.
Matthew 17:24-27 After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”
Submitting to the government is important.
The apostle Paul writes in Romans the importance of submitting to the government, as long as the government does not force us to disobey Jesus.
Romans 13:1-5 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Paul also wrote to Timothy with instructions for all to pray for all leaders.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—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 people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Prayer is a great power tool. If we desire any aspect of America to “become” something more than it is, then this instruction from Paul confirms Christians have power through the authority of God to make it happen. But remember, we aren’t to pray only for unjust circumstances to change. We are more importantly to pray for the hearts of those creating the unjust circumstance in the first place.
Let’s make America great again, by following God’s law.
Today, please take this opportunity to pray for a specific law or injustice to change for the good. Ask God to please change the negative hearts of all those involved, that they may see the injustice for themselves and long to correct it. And, that they now decide to accept Jesus as their Lord and savior. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.