The United States of America may be one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world, but she isn’t Lord over all. It’s been said before that the U.S.A. isn’t mentioned anywhere in the Bible. That’s so wrong. America is found smack-dab in the middle of Isaiah’s prophecy.
“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales.” (Isaiah 40:15)
There’s the land of the free and the home of the brave—like a single, barely noticeable water droplet falling out of the bucket. If you lose that droplet, do you lose your mind? Nah. If you ask the server at the ol’ Cheesecake Factory to fill your glass, and you notice a teeny drop hits the table as he pulls the pitcher away, would you say the glass isn’t full? Of course not. One little drop of water falling from the bucket is nothing.
God likens the nations to dust on a scale. Before the doctor weighs you or your kids, they don’t purge the scale of particles. They are negligible. Nothing. While it is good and right to love our country and to seek its welfare, remember, America is like a drop of water, a speck of dust. At the end of the day, at the end of the age, non-impressive.
God doesn’t panic over a speck of dust. He doesn’t wonder if a lost drop of water is going to shake things up. He knows the nations for what they are in the grand scheme of his sovereignty.
“All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.” (Isaiah 40:17)
It’s not that the nations are unimportant. God cares about the people in the nations (Matt. 28:18–20). But the nations—their power, pride, government, military, policy, and place in the world—to God, they are nothing. Less than nothing. Do we see our nations as God sees it? We need perspective.
Christians in America are Aliens (And We’ve Always Been)
When we see America for what it is, we’ll see we are strangers in this land—sojourners, aliens, exiles (1 Pet. 2:11). We haven’t always realized it, but we’ve always been strangers in this land. We don’t have a lasting city in the United States. “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come”(Heb. 13:14). We look forward to the Kingdom who’s founder and architect is God (Heb. 11:10). We are to let our light shine before others, and this light isn’t red, white, and blue. Our light is Christ.
It is good for American Christians to remember our place in the universe, our place in eternity. We are trending toward the place where voices from every tribe, language, and nation will live in harmony, with a co-heir and co-reign with Jesus Christ. We need a more robust politic in mind. You won’t be Democrat or a Republican forever. You will be Christian forever. Our citizenship is in a lasting monarchy.
A Powerful Politic
Jesus is Lord of all—that is a politically charged statement. A wonderful politic.
Presidents are powerful but just like everyone else, their job will end, and they will fade out of public life. Then one day, it’ll come across the newswire that President so-and-so has died. Folks will read it on social media, a moment of nostalgia will strike, and then people will roll over and watch reruns of Seinfeld. It sounds cruel and cold, but that’s how things happen under the Sun. “There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after” (Eccl. 1:11).
The coming generation won’t pay much attention to this generation’s president. Presidents are fleeting. Here today and gone in a few years. They are given the keys to the car for four years—eight if they don’t total the country—but only Jesus has a name that is above every name. Only Jesus has a name where every knee will bow, and every tongue declares that Christ is Lord.
These are the kind of politically-powered sermons we need. Ones with gigantic enjoyment and exaltation of Jesus. Most Americans can’t name the 23rd President. What does that tell you? It tells you Solomon is right. “For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten” (Eccl. 2:16). We can’t bank on the steam and vapor of this world.
Preach Politically Where The Bible Brings It
A friend asked if I was going to preach on the presidential election. I did not. But I know we will have to preach, pastor, teach, counsel, rebuke, and exhort our church in politics where the Bible does.
Since Jesus is Lord over us, he is Lord over our politics. He makes gentle commands on how we treat our President.
- Honor the President. “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet. 2:17). This means no slander, no gossip, no hateful thoughts, no punching bags or toilet paper with the President’s face on it.
- Pray for the President. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1–2). This means actually praying for the President. Praying for their protection, their leadership, their heart, their conversion, and more.
- Live Peacefully Under This President. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Rom. 13:1–2,7). To honor this President, to live peaceably, is to honor God and to live peaceably with God.
God put this President in place for reasons that align with his ultimate end and will (Dan. 2:21). Why would God allow such a President in the United States? God knows. But remember, America isn’t “God’s country.” The United States is a country filled with a lot of God’s people, and so is China and South Korea. And as an American Christian, I have more in common with a Christian in Ghana than a pro-family, pro-life, pro-gun, agnostic American.
God is helping rid the American Church of our narcissistic tendencies. America, and the Church in America, is not the epicenter of God’s activities in the world. This is unsettling to our patriotism, but realigning to reality.
We are not lackeys to a political party or a nation. Chance The Rapper is right when he says, “Don’t believe in kings, believe in the Kingdom.”
- “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.” (Psalms 118:9)
- “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalms 146:3)
There is a particular kind of politics we need in our pulpits:
- The nations—including ours—are like a drop of water. We need perspective.
- Jesus is Lord of all. We need perspective.
- We are aliens in America. We need perspective.
- Let us honor our President. We need perspective.