Christians and politics

Every nation on earth has a political agenda; a political course that it seeks to drive and maintain. And it has very important players and persons put in place to ensure that it stays on course that agenda. And because of this, as children of God we need to constantly pray to God for His will to be done in our nations and for His agenda for our nations to take centre stage.

And yes God is interested in our nations and how they are run because at the end of the day, those nations are His and He’s only given it to us to inhabit as His tenants –

“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”  – Psalm 24:1

But what we cannot do as Christians is remain passive in the affairs of our nations or be disinterested. Because if we are disinterested, our disinterest will not protect or shield us if things go awry. What should be our level of involvement one might ask?

Well the obvious no-brainer is praying for our nations. This much is clear from 1 Timothy 2:1 -3 –

       “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”

And the purpose of prayer from the above scripture is clear – our prayers will help maintain the needed stability in our nations. The stability that would ensure that we continue living our disinterested easy lives in peace. So you see disinterest in the running of our nations cannot be an option because if our nations are in chaos, we cannot lead peaceful lives. In praying for our nations, we pray for our leaders and those who drive the political agenda of our nations because if we have the wrong drivers at the helm of power, such wrong drivers will drive the nation into chaos. We are shown the importance of having the right drivers in Proverbs 29:2 –

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”

What I find curious here is the term “when the righteous are in authority”! Hmm does that mean a godly man or woman running our nations? I am not certain. What I do know is there is no place in sciptures where it says I or we as Christians are to distance ourselves from the affairs of our nation. I do believe when it says when the righteous are in authority, it means positions of authority. Those strategic areas of authority that drives the affairs of our nations, God I daresay needs righteous men and women in those strategic areas. Two very good examples that come to mind here is Daniel and Joseph. Get this – these were two very godly men and these two men played a strategic and important role in the two biggest civilisations at the time. Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon. These men did not occupy just about any obscure or non-influential role. No, they were the second in command. Joseph we are told ran Egypt while Pharoah simply just held the title,

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”     Genesis 41:39-41

and Daniel gave counsel to more than two rulers of Babylon. So powerful was Daniel that a decree went out that in all of Babylon in a certain period, every person was commanded to worship Daniel’s God not once but twice – first by the egomanic king Nebuchadnezzar and secondly by king Dairus –

“Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.” Daniel 3:29

“I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end.” Daniel 6:26-27.

And before I get rants from feminists who will say that God only seems to use men, He also used women. I’ll give just two examples. Three powerful women – the two midwives in Egypt and Esther. Esther a Jewish godly woman, through the favor of God became the queen in a land not of her origin. In that position, she saved her entire people from annilation and extermination. Esther is an interesting one because initially she was reluctant to get involved, seeing the problem as outside of herself. She however eventually understood that her reluctance would not shield her from the destruction that was to come-

“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:13-16

And the two midwives Puah and Shiphrah who were not afraid to disobey an unlawful instruction from king Pharaoh to kill Israelite male babies at the time of their birth. Because of their courage, they prevented infanticide targeted at a particular people –

“Then the king od Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.”       Exodus 1:15-17

So yes God does need those righteous men and women in positions of influence and authority. Imagine if we had Daniels and Josephs at the helm of affairs in our nations. Imagine that for a second. Now imagine that you could be that Daniel and Joseph and Shiphrah and Puah and Esther.

Politics is a dirty game you may say. But look all around you, all of life is political. Whether or not you choose to believe it, you are a player in the game of politics, albeit at perhaps a small and/or medium scale and level. Think about it. In your school, there are cliques and groupings; in your hood, there are cliques and groupings, in societal circles, there are cliques and groupings. And if you find somehow that you don’t fit into the cliques, you create yours. You are getting the picture – all of life, everything around us, has a political dimension to it. You might say to me, the politics at that level is not the same as politics at the level of running a nation. But is it really that different. It is those who play at that very small level that eventually end up playing at the bigger level of running a nation. It therefore becomes all the more important that righteous people are at the helm of affairs. Imagine that really petty boy or girl or wicked boy or girl in your university group running a nation!!! Does that make you shudder? I think it should. God needs righteous men and women in positions of authority. As nations, we need righteous God-fearing men and women in the helm of affairs. If all the righteous people cowered and ran away, what hope will our nations have with the ungodly running it into the ground.

Aside from those strategic areas, all facet of our nation is important, as they holistically make up the composite structure that we call our nation. So think of that sector you find yourself in – whether it be the music sector, the arts sector, the business sector or whatever sector you find yourself in. Those sectors form part of the nation’s polity; they are crucial to its continued functioning and existence. In that small or big sector you may find yourself, you contribute to the proper running of the nation by being righteous, transparent, honest and hardworking. This God expects from us as godly people. He expects that we excel so well in the areas that we find ourselves that rulers seek after our counsel and expertise. The book of Proverbs is replete with admonitions to be diligent and industrious; to go the extra mile over and beyond what is expected of us. I’ll just give one or two references

 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.” Proverbs 22:29

 “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour.” Proverbs 12:24

For everytime we do our job or endeavor right, we contribute to the polity of our nation. We contribute to a peaceful and organised and well-functioning nation. For everytime we slack and do things lackadasically, we peel away from the fabric of proper functionality in our nation. Too much of a stretch? I think not. Let me use the civil service as an example. We all know how important the civil service is. When civil servants fail to do their jobs properly, we all complain about how the poor service delivery is rendering progress impossible. Or let’s look at civil society. Imagine if we did not have proper functional public interest civil society organisations putting pressure on government to do things legally or sleflessly championing the cause of the weak and vulnerable. And in all these facets, we have godly people who have been placed there to assist in making all these happen.

So in short what I am saying is this – as Christians we have a role to play in the running of the affairs of our nation. Disinterest and absolute non-involvement is not an option; it’s not even biblical. At the very least, we should all take praying for our nations very seriously and give it a more important place in our prayer lives. At a more active and practical level, in whatever sector we find ourselves, we should put in not just our best, but extra because in our excellence we contribute to the functionality of our nations. And who knows while you are working excellently, God can exalt you to those areas of strategy that steers the political agenda of your nation. Remember, if you choose not to be involved, it will not shield you should things go completely awry. So rather than being disinterested, why not ask God to show you areas you can get involved in, in addition to praying of course 😉