Much of America sits in shocked amazement watching the melodrama in DC surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the US Supreme Court. The drama is decidedly an unpleasant one. (At this writing the confirmation vote has yet to be taken.) Gone is any pretense of kindness or even civility. Words like “ambush”, “justice”, “hypocrisy”, “lying” and several dozen others fill the airwaves, the internet and the printed page. And it is very easy to have hostile thoughts and acidic attitudes. We wonder why a marine sniper doesn’t take out a few select people; or “where are the Russians when we need them”; or even “why can’t God strike several with some fatal disease”.
But those thoughts and attitudes do us little good and only increase our need for antacids. So is it wrong to be angry and upset by these current events? Not necessarily so. God Himself expresses His “hot anger” towards that which is evil on many occasions, as in Ezekiel 14. However, in all of this I am reminded of certain well-known truths from the Scriptures which we might want to consider. We must think “Christianly.”
(1) In Daniel 2:21, seventeen year old Daniel was reflecting on God’s gracious revelation to him as he faced execution at the hands of the Babylonian king. But Daniel realized that the power of the king was limited, because it is God who controls and structures all of history, both its great happenings as well as the sequence of all events. It is the Lord who controls this planet and all the people and nations on it. God’s sovereign power is evidenced by the fact that He alone decides who will rule, as Daniel notes: “He removes kings and establishes kings.” And we today must think like Daniel and realize God has a clear endgame in view and He is directing the world towards that. I go back to this truth regularly because I need to recall that no event and no group of people can derail God’s program. God is not in heaven saying, “I never saw that coming”, or “I didn’t realize they would do that!”
(2) But is it wrong to get angry about the DC drama? Generally our anger ends up in the “unrighteous anger” category. But Dr. Edmond Hiebert has insightfully observed that: “anger against sin is an essential part of a healthy, moral nature.” So being angry over injustice and violations of God’s truth is a legitimate, and even good, response. Mark 3:5 helps give some needed perspective, as it records Jesus’ anger with the religious elite of His day. These arrogant religious leaders willfully resisted the truth that Jesus was giving. On this occasion, Jesus’ eyes swept over the group of leaders looking for at least one who would respond positively to His truth, but none existed. Jesus’ righteous anger was momentary (the use of the verb tense shows this), but His grief over their stubbornness was prolonged (use of the present tense). His anger was more against their rejection of truth rather than against the men themselves. We tend not to be like Jesus in that our anger is prolonged (present tense) and is directed towards people and not their rejection of truth. This is likely why the Apostle tells us to keep our anger under control by not letting it take root (Eph. 4:26-27). We probably need to learn from this.
(3) I am also reminded of the familiar exhortation of 1 Timothy 2:1-4 where we are told that prayer is to be the key factor in our relationship with secular government and leaders. Paul says that “first of all” we are to pray so that life might be tranquil. With “peace” and “tranquility”, the gospel can proceed more easily and people can come to faith in Jesus; which Paul says is God’s desire. So interestingly, our prayers are a key factor in God’s workings in leaders and nations because the “king’s heart” is in the Lord’s hands and, He can “turn it wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1). He has done this in the past.
(4) When we pray as Paul exhorts us, we know that we are praying within the declared will of God. Proverbs 14:34 says that “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” This truth applies to all nations including America. The best thing for our nation is not the domination of one political party over another, but rather the prevailing of God’s righteous standards in the national life. When Abraham pleaded his case with God about His necessary coming judgment of unrighteous Sodom in Genesis 18:22-33, he did so with an amazing combination of humility and boldness, recognizing that the gracious God had to deal with evil. Abraham, like you and I, really didn’t understand how God’s love and mercy combines with His righteousness as He deals with people and nations. But Abraham prayed knowing the Judge of the earth will do what is right. And this should be our prayer as well. He did understand, as did Daniel that there really is a great Supreme Court. This court is not in Washington DC, but in the throne room of heaven. So, in reflecting on DC’s Supreme Court, let’s not forget the Supreme Supreme Court.