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Click here to read Isaiah 33 on BibleGateway.com

kingOne of the big challenges of the post-modern Christian is to separate our understanding of the Bible from our culture.  Not that this is a new thing, of course. The ancient Romans saw the model of the Roman Empire in scripture, and built their church accordingly (looking at you, your Popeness).    The early modern Protestants saw the Enlightenment outlined in Scripture, and many of our modern churches reflect their touch.  So, it should come as no surprise that when post-modern Christians read the Bible, we see our own culture (or what we think are the good parts of our culture) reflected there.

For example, it’s easy for us to focus on turning our country into a “Christian” country.  We want giants of the faith leading us, like Washington (cough-slaveowner-cough), Jefferson (cough-Deist-cough), or Lincoln (cough-astrologer-cough).  We want our country to be the city-on-a-hill that we envision that it was in the past.  Surely God is in favor of democracy, right? After all, everyone knows that’s the best political system, even though the examples of voting are few and far between in the Bible.  (but they’re actually there, you just have to read between the lines.  right?) We know that God is in favor of our political party, right? Every moral and right-thinking person would be.

IN GOD WE TRUST

However, in so doing, we miss what the Bible clearly says about culture, particularly our politics.  Our trust should not be in our legislature, our Prime Ministers or Presidents, or our system of Justice.  Isaiah says in our reading today that the Lord alone is our Lawgiver, our Judge, and our King.  This is not a division of powers; this is recognition that all power, all authority, all right to rule comes not from us, but from the Creator of all that is.  Our own philosophies and political theories are nice, but Jesus is our Lord; period.  There is no voting in heaven; it’s a dictatorship through and through.

Can we accept that? Can we accept that we have no rights, no petitions, no checks and balances on God? He is all and in all and through Him all have their being.  There is no other.  Can we accept that we exist merely by His desire? That without Him, we are nothing.

GIVE IT AWAY

It’s a tough idea for us to swallow in our day.  We have been saturated with the idea that we are all powerful in our own way, that we have the right to do or say or be anything we want.  Can you accept that you have no rights, once you give them away to Christ? Can you accept that maybe we bring as much cultural baggage to Scripture as any unreached people group? Are you willing to give up your vision of who Jesus “should” be, and realize that it is our vision and ideas that must be changed?

Can you accept that He is Lord?

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