Bunny trail update:  Mordecai’s family had fully assimilated into the Syrian culture.  They could not physically be distinguished from the native people.  Adele Berlin, in The JPS Bible Commentary, wrote, “It seems likely, given the context, that Mordecai is a member of the king’s secret police.” This is in reference to him sitting at the King’s Gate, prior to overhearing Big and T (as I have un-affectionately named them) plotting the assassination attempt on Xerxes life.

In a letter from God to the exiles in Babylon, Jeremiah wrote these words (Jer 29:4-7):

4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 

Seek:  An active verb.  To actively work towards something.

In a study on Esther from Beth Moore, I read this quote:

Mordecai’s action on the king’s behalf shows that a Jew can also be an excellent citizen.  “Those who, in modern times, deny any Christian interest in political processes cannot have read with sensitivity the stories of Mordecai, Joseph, and Daniel.  A conflict of interest indeed may come, and has come to many.  But each of us, until it does, can take to ourselves the exhortation which in God’s name the prophet Jeremiah addressed to the exiles in Babylon to ’seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you’.  (J.G. McConville, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Ester p. 163-4)”   (Beth Moore, Esther, p. 53)

I think there is great danger in characterizing political actions as a wrong focus for a Christian.  If you use ANYTHING that comes from a free government, than you are participating.  Example:  This very blog.  We have freedom of speech in this country.  In Canada, they do not.  Therefore you are benefiting from the politics/government of this country AND using it to further God’s kingdom (hopefully).  Those out there who don’t think we should be involved in politics, this question is for you:  Will God ever call someone to be in politics or government at any time?  If no, then you need to tell that to the Christians (and yes, there are some!) in Congress, the Statehouse, the White House.  If yes, then why?  Maybe, like Queen Esther, there is a greater goal, a higher purpose that we can’t see now (or ever).  Consider Proverbs 21:1:

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD;
he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

And a few verses down from this, I find:

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

You know, God gives us freedom.  Freedom to succeed, freedom to fail.  Often we learn more from the latter than the former, but it is freedom nonetheless.  I am BLESSED to live in a country whose forefathers wrote in the blood of their families that they recognize that freedom.  I am humbled by the courage of those men and women who fought so I can have the freedom to speak out against the inhumanity of this world and FOR the only way to true freedom which is Jesus Christ.  This freedom makes it easier to impact  the rest of the world.  Look at the AIDS work in Africa, look at the great things that are being done by Rick Warren, Bono, every college student that supports clean water…all these things stem from the earthly freedoms we are blessed with.  Why would we NOT want to protect the single-most important concept (freedom, in case you missed it) that makes it easier to help those in need, easier to speak out against true injustice, and easier to tell people of the Way, the Truth, and the Light?  Will that freedom be misused?  Absolutely.  Then with God’s help, we must be stronger than the evil ones, love more than the pagans, and give bigger than the wealthiest.

I know we all love to read, but ultimately, our worldview must come from the pages of God’s word.  In it, we read of moderation in life, extremism in faith and grace, and conservatism in morals and judgment.  So, if American life allows me to live these Biblical ideas to the fullest, then I will fight also for that continued freedom.

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11 Comments(+Add)

1   nc    
October 15th, 2009 at 11:53 am

for me it’s remembering that the coming Kingdom sweeps all human systems away and reorders the world under the rule of God.

are there benefits to our current situation here? of course.

but the house church in china does not enjoy the freedoms we have and by many standards makes the american church look downright awful.

i just don’t know if being grateful for freedoms, etc. automatically translates to a total support of the place.

praying for peace and prosperity of the place we find ourselves…AWESOME.

but that doesn’t meant losing the eternal perspective that the coming Kingdom will judge our hope in democracy and capitalism just the same as secularism, socialism or any other human ‘ism’.

for me, that’s always been my main point.

people who get their hackles up when that statement gets made are revealing some real issues for themselves…

2   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I have no freedoms from an earthly government. I am totally free in Jesus Christ. It cannot be more free than totally. There were .9% Christians in Rome before the persecution began. During the persecution the church grew expedentially.

The money that secular institutions give to cahritable causes dwarfs Rick Warren’s efforts, and Bill Gates alone has given Billions to Africa.

National freedom, when viewed in a wrong perspective, can sometimes lead to a resistance to a divine purpose in persecution and suffering.

There will be no revival until the church see herself apart from any one nation.

3   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

BTW – When did the church begin to compromise? When Constantine embraced it and entered into a symbiotic relationship between the government and the church.

The camel’s nose was no longer under the tent, the camel was in the tent taking communion.

4   Zan    
October 15th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Rick,

#1 – You have the ability to do things in America without punishment. That is the freedom of which I wrote.

#2-The money that secular institutions give to charity, along with Bill Gates, comes from capitalism operating with some amount of freedom. Freedom to compete, to earn money for themselves and employees.

#3 – I will agree that nationalism must always come behind, and be seen through the prism of, God in the number one slot. And there are divine purposes in persecution and suffering…in freedom and out. You and I both know that personally.

#4 – The churches in the NT were called by their cities, and had different personalities, struggles, and strengths, and points of view. Do you think their was no revival in them? I don’t know Christians anywhere that wouldn’t accept as brother or sister a Christian from another country. We are, nonetheless, the American church, if only because we live in America, have American personalities, struggles, strengths, and points of view. That is not wrong. That is ok. That is geographical. Are there people in America who put America before “foreign” Christians? Of course. That doesn’t make the idea of American church wrong, though. It makes some American Christians wrong.
AND you never answered the questions:
Will God ever call someone to be in politics or government at any time? If no, then you need to tell that to the Christians (and yes, there are some!) in Congress, the Statehouse, the White House. If yes, then why?

nc,
Did I sound like I was giving total support of everything about America? Of course not. But maybe I look back a bit more than you do, and see the sacrifice of those older than us…and appreciate it. Do I give them carte blanche support in all things? No. Do I agree with everything our government has done? no. But at least I can openly say that….loudly if I want….and not fear imprisonment or persecution. I really don’t have a problem being happy about that. And more than happy, I feel grateful and blessed. I don’t think my post came across as losing perspective or revealing “real issues”…..

5   Christian P    http://www.churchvoices.com
October 15th, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I’m sure you wrote a wonderful post Zan, but the title just didn’t make me want to read it. ;)

6   Zan    
October 15th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I’ll try harder next time!

7   nc    
October 15th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

my bad, Zan.

i think i was just ruminating out loud and not so much trying to say something about you and your situation.

after i posted i realized i probably should’ve said so…

it’s cool.

8   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 15th, 2009 at 11:59 pm

“Will God ever call someone to be in politics or government at any time?”

I cannot speak for God, however I have my doubts. :cool:

9   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
October 16th, 2009 at 8:43 am

#4 Well said Zan. I really get tired of folks that insist on trying to make me/us feel guilty for being an American!

10   Zan    
October 16th, 2009 at 10:22 am

Rick,

Why did God put me back in school, at the age of 35, to get a degree in Interior Design? Of all things, this degree can encourage as much materialism as the next thing, lack of moderation in lifestyles, etc. I have struggled with this, yes, but I can NOT doubt He put me there. He held me there, even when I wanted to give up. Why? A bigger purpose. Likewise, as in Proverbs 21:1, God controls the heart of the king (president), and can guide him if He so chooses. Could God not choose to “guide” the king’s heart through Christians in key positions within the administration or the government? Apparently, God DOES care what happens in governments, or He wouldn’t care to guide rulers or not.

If we are called to actively seek peace and prosperity for the place in which we live, then God cares about that. If I can pray about a sore arm or a hurt feeling and trust that God cares, why in the world would I think that God has a “hands off” policy in governments around the world?

11   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
October 16th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Zan,

I respect you and your love for Christ and would never question your journey. I only share in principle, and I attempt to steer completely away from personal judgment. I do not judge/question your new venture.

“Why did God put me back in school, at the age of 35, to get a degree in Interior Design?”

He desires you to minister to the gays. (Call me, I’ll help!) :)