Worried About George W. Bush?

… you shouldn’t be.

Let me elaborate. Some of you may know, I am not a huge fan of our good friend across the pond (pond = Atlantic Ocean, if you’re not up to speed with British slang…) I disagree on a pretty fundamental level with some of the things he has said and done, not least the particular brand of “Christianity” he seems to be promoting which to me doesn’t look much like the Christianity I see in Christ.

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What does this have to do with anything? Well, on Sunday morning Mike preached a really good sermon on 1 Samuel, specifically the story of Eli and his sons. If you’re not familiar with the story, what basically happens is that Eli’s sons go bad, Eli doesn’t really do much about it (and, in fact, perhaps even takes part in their corruption by enjoying some of the spoils). What happens is that God judges him for it. In other words, Eli was a bad leader, and God judged him for it. Mike went into a lot more detail in the sermon, and to be honest I can’t remember all that was said! But what reminded me of it was a passage I read in the Psalms this morning.

Firstly, I’d advise you to read through Psalm 94. Go away and read it now, I’ll wait.

Ok, read it? Right, now look specifically at verses 20-23. I’ll quote from the New Living Translation because I think it brings out the point I want to make the clearest:

Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side–
leaders who permit injustice by their laws?

They attack the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.

But the LORD is my fortress;
my God is a mighty rock where I can hide.

God will make the sins of evil people fall back upon them.
He will destroy them for their sins.
The LORD our God will destroy them.

Is that topical or what? When I read through that passage I couldn’t help but have GWB on my mind. “leaders who permit injustice”? It would seem so. “They attack the righteous and condemn the innocent to death”? Hmmm, well… it would certainly seem that way! I think what struck me most about that passage was the very first line in the passage I quoted: “Can unjust leaders claim God is on their side.” GWB definitely appears to believe God is on his side.

What is comforting is what happens after that — although I don’t want God to destroy GWB (to be honest, I’d rather he were to repent and be saved ;-), I certainly think that God will deal appropriately with those in positions of leadership who do like that. In fact, Jesus himself said that if a leader was responsible for leading people astray, it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around their neck!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, God’s in control, our place is to do what we can in the here and now to love God and love our neighbours.

2 thoughts on “Worried About George W. Bush?

  1. Interesting thoughts, Phill! I’ve been reading through Joshua this year and in chapter 5 there’s a really interesting account, where Joshua encounters “The Commander of the Lord’s Army”. A little curious Joshua asks him whether he fights for Israel or for Israels enemies. What is the response? “Neither, but now I have come.” This is amazing given Israel’s place as God’s special chosen nation. The whole thrust of Joshua seems to be not whether God is on Israel’s side or not, but will Israel choose to be on God’s side or not. It strikes me that throughout history, political leaders have been very quick to claim God for their cause, rather than asking “Actually, am I on God’s side – am I doing what he would want me to do!”

    Bush seems to have forgotten that the battle which God does call us to is not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12) but a spiritual battle against Satan. And what is our weapon of attack? The Word of God – the gospel message. As the gospel is preached, people hear the words of eternal life, they accept and submit to King Jesus and are saved – they move from death to life. And as this happens, we more clearly see the great victory that Christ has already achieved at the cross, the ultimate defeat of Satan. God does not need us to fight his battles for him – he’s already won the victory – our job is to proclaim the great new peace with God to those under sin’s captivity, that they might be set free.

    It is important that our rulers do stand up to the threat of global terrorism and seek to punish those who do evil (that’s their job as rulers) but to make out this is a holy mission specially sanctioned by God seems like a bit of an ego trip with dire consequences. Especially as a “holy mission specially sanctioned by God” seems to be understood as “I can do whatever I want and no one can argue or criticise cos I’m on a holy mission!” It’s no wonder that the Muslim world sees the current Iraq/Afghanistan conflict in light of the Crusades …

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