"Understanding the Times"

“Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…
(1 Chron. 12:32)

It’s OK that God’s people would understand the times they are living in, and it’s OK that God would give to them knowledge of what their nation’s leaders, should or should not be doing.  I am not speaking of economic and political matters which we may not be trained in, but I am speaking about matters of morality and social issues.  The fabric of any society is of great concern to God, who wants to establish righteousness and justice, and destroy works of wickedness.   The Bible says in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

As the sons of Issachar, who was Jacob’s 5th son, “understood the times of their generation, with knowledge of what Israel should do…”, so should it also be, and even more so, for all Christians today,
“In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 3:10)

I’d like for us to consider that we too, as sons of Abraham, should be understanding the times that we are living in, and that God wants to give us the “knowledge of what is right, that our nation’s leaders should be doing.”  It’s not a good thing to be uninformed and uncaring about what’s going on in our country.  We are to be sober minded and alert to the works of Satan.  It's also not a good thing to just stand by and let wicked rulers establish the devil's ungodly agenda.  God isn't!  "He judges in the midst of the rulers... (Ps. 82:2)". "The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.  But the Lord's plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken (Ps. 33:10,11)."  A scepter of wickedness that would rule over a land is the work of Satan, accomplished through people who have been deceived and held captive by the devil to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26).  This is why God has established His Church in the earth.  We are supposed to be the salt and light of the world.  Scripture is clear that every born again Christian is to...  "Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy (Prov. 31:8,9)." 

We live in an age when our Federal Courts have decreed that we can’t express political views from the pulpit, and that we are to maintain separation of church and state, which is a gross misrepresentation of the First Amendment to our Constitution.  But I’d like to ask the question, what does God think about being separated from governmental affairs?  How do you tell God to keep out of this nation's politics?  He speaks through His church, anything He wants to say, and perhaps His most cherished platform from which He would do this, is the pulpit in every true Christian church across America.  In God’s sight, no government has the right to tell God or His preacher or teacher or prophet, what He can or can not talk about from the pulpit.  We have been given “freedom of speech”?  God established this in our nation's constitution.  God also gave us “freedom of religion”?  And when our political leaders come along and change what God mandated in this nation's framework, the Church has no recourse but to continue on as she always has: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)  There are simply some man-made laws that are ungodly, that we cannot obey.

Did you know that God is involved in what we call politics?  What we call politicians, God says they are rulers and authorities, and He’s got a lot to say to all the leaders of the world, including the United States!
“The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’  He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.  Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury…” (Ps. 2:2)
“The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes.  But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken.”(Ps. 33:10)
“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Prov. 21:1)

Try and tell God to stay out of the political affairs of our nation, that there is separation of Church and State.  He just laughs.  Who can tell God to stay out of politics?  The Bible says that every government works for Him!
They area minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” (Rom. 13:4)

But when any government proves itself wicked before God, and actively engages in promoting ungodliness and injustice and persecution of people who are righteous, watch out.  God has a word for them:
“Now then, you kings, act wisely!  Be warned you rulers of the earth!  Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Submit to God’s royal Son, or He will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities.” (Ps. 2:10)
“Therefore the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.  For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.  Look among the nations!  Observe!  Be astonished!  Wonder!  Because I am doing something in your days- You would not believe if you were told (Hab. 1:4,5)."
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil...Who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right...For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.  On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against His people..." (Is. 5:20, 23, 24b, 25)

Recently, I was reading through 2 Kings, as part of my daily devotions.  I discovered an amazing thing, and I say this reverently: God was constantly sticking His nose in the political affairs of Israel.  Imagine that!  Where does He get off, messing in the affairs of State?  And He didn’t even ask permission!

I counted at least 18 times that God said the reigning king “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  And at least 6 times, that God said the reigning king “did what was right in the sight of the Lord.”    You see, what any ruler does, anywhere in the whole wide world, is in the sight of the Lord, even things hidden and done is secret places.  God judges the motives of them all, including presidents and congressmen and judges, and the Bible says that all people, from every generation, will one day, be held accountable for every deed they ever did.

Let’s look at a good example of just how serious God is, concerning what the ruler of any nation says or does.  This king’s name is Nebuchadnezzar, and he was ruler of a vast heathen empire called Babylon.  But this didn’t impress God.

Let’s read Daniel 4:29-37.

You see, Nebuchadnezzar was “in the sight of the Lord,” and he did evil and was punished for it. God demoted him for 7 years and sent him to live like a beast of the field.  God is in charge of all the government rulers of the world.  He does what He wants to, and you don’t kick Him out of governmental affairs.  The following is Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony, after God restored him to power.
“I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the One who lives forever.  His rule is everlasting, and His kingdom is eternal.  All the people of the earth are nothing compared to Him.  He does as He pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth.  No one can stop Him or say to Him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’” (Daniel 4:34,35)

It’s the same in our United States of America, as it was with Nebuchadnezzar.  Our nation’s politicians, since its inception, have been “in the sight of the Lord.”  They’ve either been wicked or righteous.  God is not concerned with what we call them.  They may be Republicans or they may be Democrats.  We call them “Politicians”.  But that’s not what God calls them.  They are either righteous, or they are wicked, and you’ll know which they are by their deeds.
If a nation’s leader is evil, that leader promotes wickedness, unashamedly.  He enacts laws that are sinful, encouraging the wicked and oppressing the righteous.  Time after time, in 2 Kings, where you read that the king did evil in the sight of the Lord, you also read, “he made Israel sin.”  Can a president of the United States make America sin, and not be held accountable before God for it?  No, he will stand before God and pay for his crime against heaven.
Proverbs 29:2 says, 
“When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.  But when the wicked are in power, they groan.”

This is why God is involved in the governmental affairs of our country.  And if He is there, working to establish His righteous plan of equity and prosperity and blessing, He is also fighting to thwart the plans of the wicked.   So should every Christians be. 

Who said the Church is not to be involved with politics?  God didn’t.  If a public figure is doing wicked things, hidden or otherwise, a preacher is to warn his congregation!
“Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.  But all things become visible when they are exposed…” (Eph. 5:11,12)

The Church is the “salt and the light of the world.”  Salt is a preserving influence and light is “the knowledge of what is right and wrong.”  If I am to preach anything, it must be the difference between what is right and wrong, according to the Bible.

And if any politician’s lifestyle is wicked, then that is an issue to be exposed.  The issue is not their party affiliation.  It’s what they stand for, and whether or not their deeds are ungodly.

When God intervened in the political affairs of Israel, He sent His prophets to declare and expose the wickedness of the leaders.  Today, God’s prophets are standing in pulpits, all across America, declaring the word of the Lord?  And they send out a warning to anyone who will listen, “Wake up and be aware of what’s going on!”

God got involved in the political affairs of Pharaoh in Egypt, when he sent His servant Moses to say, “Let my people go!”  Herod the king got eaten by worms and suddenly died, because God got involved in politics, and sent an angel to kill this evil ruler.

God is enthroned over His universe, and He defines what is evil and what is not.  It is not defined by a nation's ability to pass new laws declaring evil “legal”, and righteousness passé.  Righteousness is not old fashion and it’s not out-of-date.  Try and tell God that righteousness doesn't matter anymore.  The world may not think so, but the Church knows better.  "The Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness. (Ps. 11:7)

God sees everything, and He has not been at all pleased with what’s been going on among our nation's politicians.  And It’s not because they call themselves Democrats or Republicans.  It’s because so many are running this country, without consulting its Maker.  They are doing what they want, without a thought of the consequences we're all going to reap, as God's judgment falls on America.  If a president or a congressman or a supreme court judge or any other elected official chooses the path of wickedness, they are provoking the wrath of God against themselves, and the nation they rule over.

I’d like to briefly discuss some points of abuse and affront against God, here in America.

  • Unemployment and national debt are out of control: God says, “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord.” (Prov. 11:1) Our leaders are sinning against God in this.  Their spending is out of control.
  • Rampant domestic violence and moral decay: God says,“Those who indulge in sexual sin… or commit adultery, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6:9) "Behold, the day!  Behold, it is coming!  Your doom has gone forth; the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed.  Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness." (Ez. 7:10,11)
  • Abortion, which is murder of unborn babies:  Most of our nation's so-called "liberal" politicians, including President Obama, are pro-choice, support partial-birth abortions, and are pro-infanticide.  Obama voted to stop the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act", which was legislation designed to stop the barbaric practice of leaving delivered babies out to die.  God is in the womb of every pregnant mother, creating new life, and no one has the right to "play god" and interrupt what God is doing, for the purpose of destroying life!  Conception is when life begins: "You watched 'me' as 'I' was being formed in utter seclusion.  You saw 'me' before 'I' was born  Ps. 139:15)."  Here, the Bible is talking about a real person, and not some mass of tissue.  It's not the mother's body, we're talking about.  It's a living person inside the mother, and that's why it's infanticide. [Please see our report on "Made In God's Image" for a full report on this issue of abortion.]
  • Weaker border security allowing illegal aliens entry: These people are lawbreakers, just the same as if they were to break into the Whitehouse. This makes them criminals.  Our politicians are seeking to give special rights to these lawbreakers. God says, “To show partiality to the wicked is not good…He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.” (Prov. 18:5; 17:15) God says, “Law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious.”(1 Tim. 1:9)  “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established from God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God.” (Rom. 13:1,2)
  • The threat of socialism seeking to destroy our American dream:  The government should not control how much we can earn, nor should it redistribute the wealth by taking what belongs to one person and giving it to another who did not earn it.  Neither should the government seek to own or control anyone’s business they’ve worked hard to build.  This is socialism and it is an affront to God.  Socialism  is extortion and coveting of the worst kind.  Extortion means:  “The crime of using one’s official position to obtain money or other things of value unlawfully.”  God says, “Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it.  This, too is meaningless, a great tragedy.” (Eccl. 2:21)  “But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who pleases Him.”(Eccl. 2:26) “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth (not the government), that He may confirm His covenant..” (Deut. 8:18)  Increased persecution against Christians: God says, “Justice is never upheld.  For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.” (Hab. 1:4)  “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for there’s is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (Matt. 5:10,11)
Christians, we are instructed to pray for our nation's leaders (1 Tim. 2:1).  We are also instructed to be charitable towards our fellow man (1 Cor. 13).  We must be sure to do these things, in obedience to our Lord Jesus.  But as long as the Church is in the earth, we must not keep silent concerning our nation's leaders, who are serving in an ungodly manner.  And as long as God is in politics, Christians should prayerfully be in politics too, sharing their concerns with others, from a biblical point of view.

The Church of Jesus Christ must work to establish righteousness, not only in herself, but also in the society where she lives.  Remember the sons of Issachar understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.  This too, is our calling in in these United States of America.  

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