Psalm 10: The Lord is King

The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

The UK is alive with election fever. Admittedly it is an interesting year for British politics. Conservatives are winning by a landslide. The Liberal Democrats have all but disappeared. Labour clearly backed the wrong man because, despite an aggressive campaign, they hardly made any gains. Something of a revolution is going on in Scotland. And of course, UKIP are gathering a staggering amount of momentum. So forgive me for applying the Psalm to politics this morning, but I just couldn’t help myself.

The truth is, this passage helps me tremendously during elections. How? It provides me realistic expectations.

Democracy is not the answer

So many of the people I talk to are disillusioned with politics. To many, it seems that we have to choose the least rubbish rather than the best. Well, what did we expect. It is all too easy for us to elevate politicians as false messiahs, saviours of the world. The problem is that there is only one Messiah, and one Saviour…Jesus Christ. He is God’s appointed King and until the world acknowledges and bows the knee before Him we will never have a perfect world.

Democracy is not the answer. We were never meant to live in a democracy. We were meant to live under a monarchy, with God as our King. Politicians, political parties and political systems will come and go but God is King forever. One day that kingdom will be tangibly realised in God’s new creation.

Ok so I need to throw in a few caveats at this point. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a democracy. In fact, democracy is definitely the best political option for us at the moment (in my opinion). However, we need to have realistic expectations about what democracy can and cannot do. Democracy limits the power of leaders and therefore limits the potential for abuse of power but it cannot fix he world.

People are the problem

This psalm describes human nature with terrifying honesty.

2 In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
    who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
    he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous;
    your laws are rejected by him;
    he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”
    He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”

7 His mouth is full of lies and threats;
    trouble and evil are under his tongue.
He lies in wait near the villages;
    from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
    like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
    he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.
10 His victims are crushed, they collapse;
    they fall under his strength.
11 He says to himself, “God will never notice;
    he covers his face and never sees.”

The reason why politicians, politics and political systems will all fail, disappoint and disillusion is because they cannot change people. People are the problem. This is as true for the general public as it is for the politicians.

Does this mean that we should give up on politics? Absolutely not. It is important that we vote, speak out and pray for politicians because they do play a role in keeping order, limiting the effects of evil, and striving for progress in society. Some systems, leaders and parties will harness and restrain sinfulness more effectively than others. There is a massive difference between valuing politics and making an idol out of politics. The former recognises that we need more than political reform to change the world. We need moral reform.

We need a leader who always does what is right, who is perfect in truth, love and justice. We also need a leader who can change the hearts of his followers and make them increasingly truthful, loving and just. There is only one such leader…the Lord Jesus Christ.

16 The Lord is King for ever and ever;
    the nations will perish from his land.
17 You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
    you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
    so that mere earthly mortals
    will never again strike terror.

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