In our area, the elected officials have grand ideas for combatting crime and drug use and homelessness. It is an election year, and they have all kinds of proposals for making life swell in our parish.
If only everyone got a decent education, they say. If only we could remedy mental illness. If only we could get a major employer here. If only we had more funding. If only we had more recreational opportunities for single people and families to improve their quality of life.
None of that will do a single thing.
Not a thing unless there is unity among Christians in this parish. Not until Christians from various church traditions are able to pray with one another for God’s blessing on this parish and collaborate in ministries together.
Oh, some may say, but crime and drug use and immorality and a struggling economy in our area will get better if we could only elect this person or that person to office.
That’s nothing but bald-faced idolatry.
“Give us a king,” the Israelites told the prophet Samuel. “Give us a king so we may be like the other nations, and we won’t have to do anything ourselves, but our king will go out and fight our battles for us.”
The Israelites knew how life worked: As their king, God fought their battles for them, but the Israelites decided it would be better to dismiss God and call for a man to do the job instead.
Israel got Saul as king, and look how that turned out: The First Book of Samuel ends with the Philistines slaying Saul and completely routing the nation of Israel.
Do not heed the call to action issued in the election news cycle this year.
The call to action you need is this: Your God has given you in His Word the mission to serve Him in worship, to obey Him every day, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, in your church and in prayer and ministry with other churches.
When that happens, God is pleased to raise up Deborahs and Samsons and Davids to deliver you.
What the famous 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon preached concerning the verse: “TEKEL; you are weighed in the balances and are found wanting” (Daniel 5:27).
There is a weighing time for kings and emperors and all the monarchs of earth, albeit some of them have exalted themselves to a position in which they appear to be irresponsible to man.
Though they escape the scales on earth, they must surely be tried at the bar of God. For nations there is a weighing time.
National sins demand national punishments. The whole history of God’s dealings with mankind proves that though a nation may go on in wickedness; it may multiply its oppressions; it may abound in bloodshed, tyranny and war—but an hour of retribution draws near—when it shall have filled up its measure of iniquity.
Then shall the angel of vengeance execute its doom. There cannot be an eternal damnation for nations as nations—the destruction of men at last will be that of individuals, and at the bar of God each man must be tried for himself.
The punishment, therefore, of nations, is national. The guilt they incur must receive its awful recompense in this present time state.
It was so with the great nation of the Chaldeans. They had been guilty of blood. The monuments which still remain and which we have lately explored prove them to have been a cruel and ferocious race.
They were a people of a strange language, and stranger than their language were their deeds. God allowed that nation for a certain period to grow and thrive till it became God’s hammer, breaking in pieces many nations.
It was the axe of the Almighty—His battle-ax and His weapon of war.
By it He smote the loins of kings, yes, and slew mighty kings. But its time came at last. She sat alone as a queen and said, “I shall see no sorrow,” nevertheless, the Lord brought her low and made her grind in the dust of captivity and gave her riches to the spoiler and her pomp to the destroyer.
Even so must it be with every nation of the earth that is guilty of oppression. Humbling itself before God, when His wrath is kindled but a little, it may, for a while, arrest its fate.
But, if it still continues in its bold unrighteousness, it shall certainly reap the harvest of its own sowing. So likewise shall it be with the nations that now abide on the face of the earth.
Sermon edited with preface by Zach Parker, news editor at The Ouachita Citizen, and pastoral intern at Church of the Redeemer in West Monroe. The excerpt is from Charles Spurgeon’s sermon, “The scales of judgment,” delivered on June 12, 1859 at the Music Hall in Royal Surrey Gardens.
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