Almost everyone is exited about the election of Barack Obama – the world is expecting a lot from him.
“Barack Obama truly is the hope of our time” – Kevin Rudd
“We are eager for him to get to work so that with him we can change the world” – French President Nicolas Sarkozy
“Your election to this high office has inspired people as few other events in recent times have done” – Nelson Mandela
“Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven” – Rev. Rick Warren
How do you feel, how do you rate his chances of reforming the States and changing the world? Perhaps we can learn something from the events of the sixth century BC in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 21-24, 2 Chronicles 33-35).
The people of Judah barely survived under fifty five years of Manasseh who had profaned everything that was holy and “filled Jerusalem with blood from end to end”. His son, Amon, would seek to outdo his father in tyranny until he fell, assassinated by his own officials. The people rose up, slaughtered the officials and installed Josiah, Aman’s eight year old son, as king.
At 16 Josiah would seek the Lord with great determination and at 20 he began to reform the nation and bring it back to God. Pulling down the Asherah poles and breaking up the carved images and statues of Baal, he purged the nation of all its symbols of pagan worship. He got rid of the mediums, spiritualists and diviners and slaughtered the pagan priests – burning their bones on their own alters. His campaign of cleansing extended beyond the borders of Judah into the lands once held by the northern kingdom of Israel as far as the region of Galillee.
He then set about to put the temple back to order. In the cleaning out process the long lost book of the Law was found. Josiah would discover in reading it, just how far the nation has transgressed. The discovery increased his zeal for reform and so successful was he that, by his eighteenth year in office, the people were ready once more as a nation to celebrate the Passover.
The author of Kings would describe this Passover held that year as the greatest in the nation’s history. He would also proclaim Josiah to be the godliest king they ever had.
“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the lord like he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the law of Moses”. (2 Kings 23:25)
Sadly the same author would also record that God’s anger towards his people was not about to change, he knew their hearts and within a short time after Josiah’s death they would be led back into their old evil ways by Josiah’s successor.
No leader can truly change a nation unless he begins at the heart of every individual in that nation.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, no fan of the United States, may nevertheless have been prophetic in his response to the election of Obama: “I am deeply convinced that the biggest disappointments are born out of big expectations”.
The only king that can truly reform the human race is the one who has the power and authority to rule over us and the intimacy to rule in us. While even one heart refuses to have Him as Lord no nation is safe.
When Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world he meant, among other things, that we are not to put too much hope in human leaders. We are to obey them, pray for them and where possible encourage them, but we are to be careful not to expect too much from them.
Our best leaders don’t save us – they prove beyond doubt that without Christ we are beyond salvation.
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