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Raging Waters and Restless Politicians

“Daniel spoke, saying, ‘I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea’” (Dan. 7:2). The sea represents the nations of the world. Like the mighty winds and waves of the sea, they push and crash against each other. When the sea is stirred up, it is unstable and unpredictable. The waves come from one direction and then the wind blows them in another. What a fitting image of politics! Men strive for power. They are always looking for ways to unseat those who have it. They have an insatiable thirst for power, land, and money. This leads to lies and deception, bribery and theft, violence and war. This is the story of mankind.

Isaiah used this same image to picture national and international chaos: “Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters” (Isa. 17:12-13). Chaos in societies is like the noise and turbulence of a stormy sea.

Every country on earth seemed to be in the midst of a storm at sea in 2020. It was hard to tell what was happening, why it was taking place, and where it was going. Most people felt helpless. Hopefully we learned to trust in God more because there was no way to see clearly as the storm raged. Thank God things have calmed down some.

Storms in and between nations continue to erupt, however. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has left thousands of families wondering where they will live and what they will eat. The war in the Middle East is like a bomb that could explode at any moment—literally. This week at the West End congregation we have had prayer requests because of other chaotic situations. A preacher we support in an African nation asked us to pray for his country and for the church. Violence is filling the streets there because of the national election, making it unsafe to go outside. Closer to home, one of our members is working with other law enforcement officials to keep peace at the state capitol in the midst of protests and demonstrations. These officers need our prayers. They are working on a ship in the midst of a stormy sea, and without them we would all be at the mercy of a societal hurricane.

As you read the Old Testament, you see this instability in almost every age. As you learn what is happening today in our land and outside of it, you are painfully reminded that this is the nature of this present world. People are selfish and prideful, and that makes conflict inevitable.

God tells us to pray for our rulers so that we will have peace (I Tim. 2:1-3). That is their most important job in God’s sight—to keep our streets safe by punishing criminals and rewarding the righteous (Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13-14). We need to remember this in an age when people expect the government to give them everything and do everything for them. The first and most important thing that the government owes its citizens, from God's perspective, is to maintain peace and stability in society. Let us remember that God is the one who ordained civil government for this very reason.

We also need to remember that God works in the midst of stormy seas. In fact, he shows his power even more in those times. The situation may seem hopeless to us as it did to the disciples when they were caught in a violent storm at sea. But Jesus calmed the waters and asked, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). And, don’t forget that God caused national upheavals in the Bible to effect changes for the better. A frightening storm may be just what we need.

David said God led him beside the still waters (Psa. 23:2). This should be our hope and prayer every day—even if we have to go through rough waters to get there.

Kerry

West End church of Christ bulletin article for August 27, 2023

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