Isaiah 58:12 - And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
As we approach the 2024 election cycle, I have some thoughts and concerns. We are clearly in a spiritual battle, not flesh and blood as we seek to restore our American constitutional republic. As American Christians we need to remember that, as in the book of Isaiah, building, raising up foundations, repairing breaches and restoring paths for America’s constitutional republic is a noble and worthy cause.
If we are not careful, we may be consumed with the culture to attack others with our words including texts, emails or postings on social media which will end up destroying our Christian testimony. Consider the next few paragraphs that document my personal experience.
In 1994, I was researching the colonial newspapers to gain an understanding of what citizens were thinking prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I noticed in the February 8, 1773, edition of the Massachusetts Gazette, that a reader had sent in an article and stated, “To The Printers ... an Extract from the Book, entitled, The Practice of Quietness, Directing a Christian how to live quietly in this troublesome world, printed a hundred and fifty years ago, which I hope you will insert into your paper, and doubt not will be acceptable to many of your people.”
The paper inserted the entirety of Chapter 13 from the book: “Civil Quietness: And first of that which ought to be between Magistrate and Subject.” The book was in the Eighth Edition and was published by Bishop George Webbe, an Anglican Bishop of Limerick, Ireland. I have since restored the book from microfilm and it was published by my company Brentwood Christian Press in print and e-book in 2006.
Chapter 13 shares the duties of the Magistrate or Ruler as well as the Subject or Citizen. The following quote appears on page 75 under "1. Honor and Reverence: Fear God, Honor the King. 1 Peter 2:17. Thou shalt not speak evil of the judge, neither shalt thou speak amiss of the Ruler of the people. Exodus 22:28, Acts 23:5."
This was very convicting to me as I read this and thought if I criticize people in authority whether it be in elected office, the local church or the workplace I am not giving a positive Christian testimony. Another point on page 76 under "5. Charity, in covering and extenuating the faults of our Governors: good Shems and Japeths will cover the nakedness of their fathers; unquiet Hams will be blazing of the fame abroad unto their disgrace. Genesis 9:21-23."
Since Noah was the first civil governor it was a very teachable moment for me to use when dealing with today’s civil government. When I see something amiss in our local government it is best to first take it to the representative privately as in Matthew 18 because it will give an opportunity to have the situation corrected.
Nehemiah is a perfect example of how to rebuild. First, he internalized the cause. “...and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach (emphasis mine).” Nehemiah 2:17b. He realized that God’s people were the source of reproach and today the American Christian wants to blame others as the source of reproach. We need to own our situation.
Nehemiah acknowledged his distractors as hindrances but did not allow them to knock him off his mission of rebuilding and did not attack them in the flesh. “...when Sanballat...Tobiah...heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth. And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.” Nehemiah 4:7-8.
Nehemiah took his concerns, fears and attacks to the Lord instead of personally attacking his adversary and prayed “My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear.” He let God fight his battle for him.
A study of and contrast of Nehemiah and his calling to rebuild Jerusalem with restoring America’s constitutional republic will yield some of these things to consider.
U.D. Roberts and his wife Connie are members of Beallwood Baptist Church, Columbus, Ga. U.D. served as chairman of the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Committee in 1999 and presently serves as president/CEO of Brentwood Christian Press and vice-chair of the Muscogee County Board of Elections and Registration.
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