Government is essential. The Apostle Paul emphasized the purpose of governing authorities:
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. (Romans 13:1-8)
We realize, of course, that governments are far from perfect. Nonetheless, we still have a responsibility to pray for those in authority:
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. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Ultimately, good government comes down to the choices we make. The people of Israel wanted a king like all the other nations around them.
All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” (1 Samuel 8:4-6)
Unfortunately, the elders were more concerned about appearances and surface values than they were about receiving godly wisdom in the matter. Samuel was greatly concerned about the expectations of the people:
Samuel prayed to the LORD, and the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only– you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7-9)
Samuel warned the people but they would not listen:
But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20)
The children of Israel did not understand that the selection of their leaders was a sacred responsibility in partnership with God. Do we understand that today in America? Life often presents us with difficult choices. Do we make them without consulting God? In the Garden of Eden Eve made a choice on her own. Bad choices can have lasting effects. We need the wisdom of a Holy God.
Our system of government is sacred because God established it. Our selection process is sacred. We are choosing leaders to uphold the laws of God which are sacred. Many of the political issues we face are sacred because they affect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of our people. They are about our unalienable rights given to us by God. Are we to take these sacred things and treat them as if they were just secular? Worst than that, are we to profane the sanctity of life and marriage? Are we to blaspheme against that which is holy unto the Lord?
Too often when preachers dare to speak out on some of these issues they are described as intolerant. They might even be accused of “hate speech.” Nevertheless, we need to be careful about attributing the things of God to the enemy of God. Jesus gave this warning:
“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” — for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.” (Mark 3:28-30)