A Verse for All Seasons

GLEANINGS — June 1st, A.D. 2014

And, looking two days ahead to an election, let’s remember that like the whole Bible, it is a verse for all candidates and for all other citizens of all political and economic persuasions. Here’s the verse:

” ‘…I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien – because they do not fear Me,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:5)

Scripture declares that God made all the nations of mankind, and established the boundaries of their habitations (Gen 10, Deuteronomy 32:8, Acts 17:26). Jesus, God incarnate and Messianic King, will be the heir of all nations (Psalm 2:8, 82:8). He also is and will be the Judge of all nations (Psalm 110:6, Micah 4:3, Matthew 25:32).

God’s declaration through Malachi underscores various public and private sins for which He comes in judgment – not only the final judgment, but in His comings throughout history to judge the nations and their rulers.

Sorcery conjures up (pun intended) images of spells and old crones with bubbling cauldrons. God’s words to king Saul through Samuel (1 Samuel 15:23) reveal its core nature: rebellion. A sorcerer proudly seeks to work his own will to the hurt of others by deceptive, occult (dark) ways. Adulterers and others who desecrate marriage as God ordained it are doing this, and God will judge leaders who try to work their will in “normalizing” or even encouraging sinful behavior such as homosexuality and cohabitation in society. When Christians fail to stand for righteousness in such matters, we are complicit with those who approve and practice such things.

But so called “values voters” and others who might have a right (Biblical) view about what the world calls social issues might be involved in various kinds of exploitation, failing to see the adverse effects which all sin has on society. As we see throughout Scripture and highlighted in our verse, the righteous are to take special care for widows, orphans, and aliens – not overlook or despise them. The law of Moses makes provision against the callous exploitation of the poor, of employees, and of those who must borrow (Deuteronomy 24:10-15; cf. Leviticus 25:35,36; James 5:4).

So concern for the habits of a nation and its leaders concerning marriage, human sexuality, the family, uprightness in all relations, and care for the needy and the alien is the business of the believer. Those habits make manifest whether or not a nation can expect blessing or cursing from the God Who is just as much the temporal and eternal Judge of nations as He is of each soul. And He certainly will do right(Genesis 18:25)! Our nation’s ways inform our intercession and provide a context for our witness.

When you vote on Tuesday, vote according to a Biblically enlightened conscience. By voting, by prayer, and by other means support rulers who fear God and who will labor to restrain rebellion against His ethical standards, fight the redefinition of marriage and the family, and be mindful of those in need.

Such leaders and citizens of nations only exist when the Gospel – the power of God unto salvation – is going forth, changing their hearts, and making them disciples. Are we involved with that? Let judgment begin with the household of God (1 Peter 4:17).

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