Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In

I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In, On Inauguration Day . . .

Today I forwarded an email from a friend poking a bit of fun at (now President) B. Hussein Obama.  The email pictured three ships, beginning with the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, and ending with a little dilapidated boat labeled the “USS Barack Obama.”  It was a satirical piece, meant to critique the political position of not only Obama, but also of Bill Clinton.

This apparently offended another friend, who replied:

Honestly, I am having difficulty seeing how this attempt at humor is becoming a follower of Jesus Christ.  I definitely do not agree with many positions that our incoming President holds.  But come on, he hasn’t even officially taken office yet.  I think the call of the hour is for us as disciples to pray for our country, including our President, per Paul’s admonishment in I Timothy 2:1-2.

But there is something else that should be considered when we talk about what is ‘becoming of a follower of Jesus Christ’ and that is the context of 1 Tim. 2:1-2.  There the Apostle not only tells us to pray for all sorts of positions of authority, but he also tells us to what end those prayers should be offered, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

The idea that a Christian should never speak negatively of any official does not comport with scripture when scripture is carefully examined.

I firmly believe that we should ‘pray for’ President Obama.  But I think we should be careful, and very Biblical, in how we go about this.

Notice precisely what Paul says in the passage mentioned above.  He does tell us to pray for governing officials, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  This is what could follow from officials who carried out the mandate of Romans 13.  But this, of course, will be impossible under an administration built around policies of legalized murder and legalized theft.

If I need to persuade you that President Obama has clearly announced his intention of pursuing policies of legalized murder and legalized theft, then you haven’t been paying attention to what he has been saying in his years of public life and recent campaign.

I will join with those who want to pray for President Obama to be guided by wisdom, justice, and righteousness.  But these are things that human beings must decide to follow.  Should President Obama repent of his evil policies, and decide to do true justice, I will thank God and support him.

But until that time I will be forced to include another aspect of Biblical prayer in this equation.  In the face of a Obama administration with announced intentions of doing evil, I will pray these prayers for our new President:

Arise, O LORD!  Save me, O my God!  For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.  (Ps. 3:7 ESV)

Arise, O LORD, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.  (Ps. 7:6 ESV)

Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD?  And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?  I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.  (Ps. 139:21-22 ESV)

Perhaps one reason we now suffer under an administration like that of Obama is that Christians, churches, and church leaders have taken a head-in-the-sand attitude about these matters.

In Luke 13:32 Jesus calls Herod a ‘fox.’  That label was no compliment, but rather a metaphorical way of pointing out what one commentator calls Herod’s "unscrupulous cunning."

If Jesus rightly called Herod, who was a king, a derogatory name to make a moral point, surely Christians can rightly use some pictures of ships and boats to make a point about our new President with all his announced immoral intentions for our country.

And perhaps we should all study scripture a bit more carefully before making pronouncements  about what is becoming of a follower of Jesus Christ.

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