For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us (Isa.33:22).
It is the nature of humanism (the world’s second oldest religion), to replace the commands and laws of God with our own. But this behaviour always comes with a price: God’s judgment. He spoke through Hosea,
...since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children (Hos.4:6).
This is what we have observed from the garden of Eden, till today. Hitler, early in his rule of Germany, spoke of his as the “thousand year Reich.” Thankfully, it was only twelve years before the Third Reich perished in the war-torn ruins of Berlin.
The salvation of God is to be reflected in the totality of our lives, our families, our communities and our nations, and the above text illustrates this fact: the judiciary, the legislature and the executive are to obey Jesus Christ. When a nation submits to God completely, the promise of God is that “He will save us.” This was evident in Israel’s history, and will indeed be evident in the future.
But Israel didn’t want that when Jesus was around. In the Parable of the Nobleman (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus predicted what Israel’s attitude would be towards Him: they would say, “…we do not want this man to reign over us” (v.14). And when He was on trial, they declared to their pagan governor Pilate, “…we have no king but Caesar” (Jn.18:15).
There was nothing new about this. Ever since they had left Egypt, Israel had spent most of the time in rebellion against the Lord. The brief interludes of revival under godly kings were atypical of Israel. Thus Isaiah had to acknowledge around 700 BC, that
an ox knows its owner, and a donkey its manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand …where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint (Isa.1:3, 5).
Later, Israel reached the peak of its rebellion, when they got rid of the Son of God. But 40 years later judgment arrived in AD70 at the hands of the Romans, just as Jesus had predicted in Matthew 23. He said then that
…upon you may fall all the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the porch and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation (Mat.23:35-36).
All around the world, nations are in decline because the Church has been in decline. We have been failing to provide the leaven of the kingdom of God, because we have ignored the law of the Lord. The Bible tells us that
the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple…the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether…moreover by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward (Ps.19:7,9,11).
No doubt there will be some reading this who will be thinking, “but we’re under grace, not under law.” But what must be understood is that law and grace always go together. Since the Garden, God has only ever dealt with sinful people on the basis of His grace, but His law gives us the only legitimate framework of legitimate social and ethical behaviour.
The indifference and contempt for God’s law in the church has to go. As the Church has progressively ignored God’s law for 350 years, humanistic legislators have been stepping in to steadily replace it with their own forms of “justice.” And so we abort about 90,000 babies annually in Australia (with State and Federal government sanction), and society thinks nothing of it.
Well, God thinks about it, and calls it murder: the shedding of innocent blood (Prov.6:16, 17). I expect Him to hold us to account for our negligence in this, and many other areas.
But all this can change-quickly. When Jerusalem was being rebuilt in the days of Nehemiah, Ezra was sent there by Artaxerxes king of Persia. Ezra was
…a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all he requested because the hand of the Lord his God was upon him (Ezra 7:6).
This was a significant opportunity. Artaxerxes commanded Ezra that
…according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River, even all those who know the laws of your God; and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them (Ezra 7:25).
Artaxerxes knew something most of the church today doesn’t: the observance of God’s law is of vital importance to the stability of any nation. God had said through Isaiah,
if only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea (Isa.48:18).
We must be more than merely conservatives. We must say with David, “Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps.119:97). When the church loves and embraces God’s law, and successfully presses for its adoption throughout the nations of the world, we can really expect to see powerful changes take place, along with the fulfillment of this promise:
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance (Ps.33:12).