God is Not a Member of My Political Party

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When I first read the account in Scripture of Joshua and the Commander of the Lord’s army in Joshua Chapter 5, I was shocked. Jericho was the first city the Israelites were going to have to take as they entered the Promised Land. The Scripture says Joshua was by Jericho when the Commander of the Lord’s army appeared to him. Joshua specifically asked him if he was for them or for their adversaries. I expected the Commander to say, “I am for you and your people.” But he didn’t say that. He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.

In other words, the Commander was on the Lord’s side and was there to help the Israelites accomplish God’s will. That statement gave me pause the first time I read it and it continues to give me pause, especially in today’s political climate. There are lots of people who believe that God is on their side and that he is a member of their political party. They discount the other political parties and feel that God could surely not be on their side. 

Ever since I read that verse in the book of Joshua, I have been hesitant to think that God belongs to my political party or any another. I do believe that God is concerned about people and about the issues that affect them. One political party may focus on some of those issues and others may focus on some of the rest. For those who don’t think God cares about social issues, a good look at Isaiah 58:6-7 should let us know how he feels about them.

God shares his priorities in these two verses and we would do well to look at them. In verse 6 He desires us to “loose the bonds of wickedness.” Surely that would talk about crime and those affected by it. Next, it says he wants us to “undo heavy burdens.” Could that mean debt and taxes? “To let the oppressed go free,” surely talks about slavery in all forms. He wants us to “break every yoke.” Would that apply to drug and alcohol addiction?

Verse 7 is just as illuminating. He wants us to “share our bread with the hungry.” Obviously, we are to be concerned about hunger. “And bring to your house the poor who are cast out;” homelessness seems to be another issue we are to address. “When we see the naked, that you cover him,” speaks about taking care of people’s basic necessities. Last, we are to “not hide ourselves from our own flesh.” We are to do our best to take care of our families before we seek help from the government or any other source.

Those two verses in Isaiah speak to several social issues and we know that there are a lot more commands throughout Scripture about our obligation to care for the least among us. A good look at the verses in Matthew 25: 35-46 show us that Jesus will judge the nations when he comes back. Verse 35 talks about hunger, thirst and homelessness. Those we have just discussed, but verse 36 talks about those that are sick and in prison. Surely, we should be concerned about health care and those suffering in the prison system. 

We also know that God cares about life…all life. Psalm 139:13-16 talks about how God knew us and formed us in the womb, so human life is high on his list. In Genesis 1:28 God gives man dominion over all the earth and every living thing. Man has been given the responsibility to look after animals, plants and the earth itself.

Before I discount another political party and those that work in it, I would do well to consult Scripture and see what God’s priorities are. Then I can look to his agenda and work with others, regardless of their political affiliation, to help accomplish his will here on the earth.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Politics and Religion – A Toxic Mix

poison-bottle-medicine-old-159296.jpegIn our country, there are two main parties, Democrat and Republican. Most people are a member of one or the other, and may or may not espouse their party’s platform. That is how our country works: we vote, elect an individual, and either two or four years later we get to decide to re-elect that individual or vote someone else into office.

It’s called politics. It is dirty, messy and sometimes distasteful, but that is how we do things in this country. The problem comes when people decide to mix their political beliefs with their religious ones. There is nothing wrong with joining a political party because you feel their platform lines up with some of your religious beliefs, but the problem lies with associating that particular party with your religion.

Once a person does that, they begin to assume that everyone who believes what they do religiously should belong to their party. Of course, we know that is a fallacy, but if enough people align themselves with a political party because of their religious beliefs, a bloc of voters is formed and that reinforces the idea that all people of that particular religious persuasion are part of that party.

I have been at different religious meetings, and the person talking about certain policies assumes that everyone in the room believes the way they do and is part of their political party. I have even heard people make the statement that those who are not part of their political party may not even be part of their religious belief system.

Hold on……religion is religion and politics is politics. Let’s not meld our religious beliefs with any political party. If there is an issue that we feel we must align ourselves with a certain party, great, do that, but let’s not expect everyone else’s thoughts and political beliefs to line up neatly with our political persuasion.

One political party may champion life, but the other may champion social issues. Both are important to the well-being of our country and the fabric of our society. Let us never try to pigeon-hole people into one or the other parties because of our own religious beliefs. It doesn’t work, is totally toxic and only tries to force people to not think for themselves and conform to whatever we think they should believe.