The Great Divide
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
Dear Cambridge Family & Friends,
I was listening to some people talk about the upcoming presidential election, and overheard one of the folks say that they would be glad when it’s over so we can get back to life as normal. Although I applaud this individual’s optimism, I’m not sure we’ll ever get back to ‘normal’ (however you might describe normal). Regardless of the election results, we will undoubtedly remain a country divided, but what concerns me more is whether we will remain a ‘faith divided.’ I got to tell you, one of my greatest disappointments of this election process has been listening to Christians talk and watching (primarily on social media) folks who ‘claim’ to be followers of Jesus Christ, divert from that “path of righteousness” frequently mentioned in the Bible. During this election process, I’ve observed insults, name-calling, blatant disrespect and calculated efforts to bait the other into negative responses and emotions, and I’m not talking about the candidates. I’m talking about Christians airing their dirty laundry of negative chatter out there for the whole world to see. Is it any wonder that recent Barna research reports that up to 70% of none church going folks see Christians as insensitive to any issue that doesn’t align with our own political agenda.
As I was preparing my message for Sunday, I felt led to the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles. The book opens with God promising (Solomon) the leader of the (Jewish) nation that He will give this new commander-in-chief anything he wants. Instead of asking for more money, greater numbers in the polls, the political death of his opponents or even electoral votes, Solomon asks for ‘wisdom.’ Not wisdom to outwit and prove his political enemies have committed fraud, ethics violations or treason, not wisdom to make a killing in the real estate or stock market or on the international speaker’s circuit, not wisdom to secure special interest support and then clandestinely return the favor. Solomon asks God for wisdom ‘to govern this great people of yours’ (2 Chronicles 1:11). If you’re familiar with the text, you know that not only does God grant Solomon wisdom, but all the wealth, power and influence an earthly king could ever hope for, and Solomon becomes one of the greatest kings in Jewish history. I may be wrong, but I doubt if ‘either’ candidate has read and internalized this lesson from “Two Chronicles.”
It’s also important to remember that there’s an equally important component to effectively governing the people i.e. ‘the people.’ Later in 2 Chronicles Solomon asks God to forgive the people of their sins. He prays that God will have mercy on those who repent, reconcile and remove the idols and sinful barriers that separate them from the love of their Creator. In Chapter 7, the Lord appears to Solomon and lets him know if the people are to be forgiven and their country restored, there needs to be full out humility and a sincere desire to change direction from the path they’ve been walking. And that’s when the Lord makes this often repeated promise, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
As suggested, this election has caused a ‘Great Divide’ amongst Christians, yet we still have the hope that comes from the sacrificial love of Jesus and thus forgiveness from of our Father God. It’s time we stop playing politics and start preparing people for a Kingdom that will far outlast this petty political period in history. It’s time Christians unite as ‘one nation under God,’ and as ‘one Body in Christ.’
In Him alone,
Cambridge Baptist Church