Like so many of you, I will be thrilled when this political season is over. I’m already worn out with all the attack ads, the speeches that are much more about what an awful, unfit person the other candidate is, instead of what the speaker stands for. I’m also weary of all the followers of Christ who are pronouncing doom and gloom on the country due to the ineptness of the presidential candidates. It all reminds me of a strange Book of the Bible written about 800 years before Christ came into the world as a man. It is the Book of Hosea. Hosea was written during the period shortly before the Assyrian army came into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and captured the people, and destroyed the nation. Hosea was sent with the mission of trying to alert the Nation of what was coming and striving to call them to repentance and submission to God instead of doing things their own way. In Hosea the people of both Israel and Judah have had a time of prosperity. They have expanded their borders back to what they were when the kingdoms were united under David and Solomon.
Hosea is sent to challenge the people for three major sins going on among them that seem to be very relevant for our own time. They were trying to worship God along with worshiping different idols and thought God should be pleased since they continued to offer their sacrifices and observe the different feast days Moses commanded them to keep. They were deeply involved in immoral behavior. And they were giving the political leaders credit for the blessings that had come from God on them as a nation. It doesn’t take much imagination to realize we face the same three problems in our own day.
Far too often people are trying to mix their faith and service to God with all kinds of religious ideas and concepts that have no relation to God or the Bible. How often do you hear someone who is a follower of Christ talk about what happened to them or someone else as being “Karma” which is a Hindu concept and certainly never taught in the Bible. I’ve heard at a Christian’s funeral recently the preacher say that the were sure the person had gone to heaven because on a balance they did more good in their life than bad or evil. That is a Muslim teaching and certainly has no basis in Scripture. What the Bible teaches is that we all have sin in our life and that only through our faith and obedience to the Lord can our sins be forgiven so that we might be saved. Salvation is based on God’s grace and never on what we deserve or on our doing more good than bad on a balance. When we try to mix together other teachings with what Jesus said and make others Lord along with him we lose Jesus in the process. He isn’t A WAY, A TRUTH AND A LIFE. He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. There is only room for one Lord and Savior in our life and that is Jesus or we are lost. Peter declared in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The problems we face with immorality are as obvious as anything can be. Between pornography, hooking up, shacking up and every other form of pretending we are husband and wife in a covenant of one flesh and a media that promotes such a lifestyle, the immoral and perverted is made to look like the normal.
But notice closely the third thing that was a problem for Israel. They were so carried away with their human rulers or politicians that they gave them credit for whatever good or whatever blessing came into their life. If their crops were good they either praised some idol or credited the king for all going well. When they won a battle against some enemy instead of thanking God for it, they praised the king. When the king became ill they panicked at the thought the next ruler might not be so effective for them. God’s message through Hosea was that he was the one who raised up their rulers and he was the one who took them out. He had Hosea to plead with them to see that it was God that caused their crops to be bountiful, not some human leader or some idol they might worship. He pointed to God’s amazing love for the nation of Israel and how he was to them their husband and they were his wife but they were rejecting Him and going after other lovers.
Now I will certainly admit that the potential President’s that are before us leave a lot to be desired. But, whether we rise or fall as a nation depends on far more than just who sits in the White House and what party they represent. If we persist to live immoral, ungodly lives and to try to mix every other kind of religion with our faith and worship to God it won’t matter who is elected President. When the moral fiber of a nation is lost the nation’s fall isn’t far behind. When the leaders put themselves in the place of God it is never long before God will demonstrate who is really in charge.
But there is something we can all do that I believe will make a huge difference. We can obey God and actually, regularly, faithfully pray for the leaders of the nation. We can give glory to God for the blessings of life. We can give total loyalty to the one God and not try to blend together all kinds of notions that leads to a mixed up mess and rejection from God. We can refuse to excuse the sins in our own life and in the world around us. We can live totally dedicated lives for the Lord and be ones that show love, compassion and care for those who are hurting, disabled or unable to function on their own. Instead of thinking the solution to every problem lies with the government we can realize that the solution to many problems come only from God and that God uses us to make a difference for good. We can refuse to justify sin no matter who may be supporting it. Too often in life our moral standards are based on what is done by the ones we love and respect. We need more of the heart of John the Baptist who stood up to King Herod to tell him he was sinning and that he didn’t have the right to take his brother’s wife and have her as his wife instead. It would have been easy to compromise when he was called before the king to give account for what he had said. But his heart was that sin is sin no matter who is doing it. Now please understand recognizing that a thing is wrong and taking our stand against it is never justification for being rude or uncaring toward the person involved in the sinful action. Jesus loved sinners and so must we if we are to follow him. He didn’t justify or pretend their actions weren’t wrong. But he loved them and offered them forgiveness and new life even though they were guilty of sin. We should do the same.