Monday, May 30, 2011

A Pit Stop in the Middle of Life’s Race

(photo by Kdildei)
By Buddy Hanson 

We’ve discussed how civil rulers resort to creating dangerous straw men (either a foreign dictator, or a social problem), then hope that by knocking them down, they will be esteemed in the eyes of voters. Here, Machiavelli suggests another way to win esteem: Be consistent with your policies, and don’t “flip-flop” on issues. 
Nothing causes a prince to be so much esteemed as great enterprises and giving proof of prowess. … A prince is further esteemed when he is a true friend, or a true enemy, when … he declares himself without reserve in favor of some one or against another. This policy is always more useful than remaining neutral. Principle 21                                                                          
It is interesting that even a non-Christian recognizes that people don’t like to be lied to, so Machiavelli says to would-be princes, “If you’re going to lie about something, stick with the lie and people will be more forgiving than if you adapt the lie as time goes by.”

It’s Christian, however, to be the kind of civil ruler that the non-Christian only appears to be. Even when the non-Christian legislator succeeds in deceiving his constituents in the short term, we can be confident that he is not deceiving our Lord, Savior and King, Jesus Christ. While non-Christian civil rulers imagine that they have figured out how to manipulate us to achieve their goals, King David and the prophet Jeremiah record Jehovah’s comforting words that non-Christians have been raised to power by Him to shame us to repentance, and once we do that, He will bring their tyrannical reign crashing down. In other words, they are momentary pit stops along life’s highway! 
 Why do the nations rage,
      And the people plot a vain thing?
 The kings of the earth set themselves,
      And the rulers take counsel together, 
      Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces
      And cast away Their cords from us.” 
 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
      The Lord shall hold them in derision.
 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
      And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
      On My holy hill of Zion.” 
“I will declare the decree:
      The LORD has said to Me, 
      ‘You are My Son, 
      Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
      The nations for Your inheritance, 
      And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
      You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” 
 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
      Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
 Serve the LORD with fear,
      And rejoice with trembling.
 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
      And you perish in the way, 
      When His wrath is kindled but a little. 
      Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. Psalm 2 
The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.  Jeremiah 18.7-10 
What must we do while we are waiting for God’s justice to be poured out? King Solomon provides the answer: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12.13)  

Excerpt from The Christian Prince: Putting Civil Back Into Civil GovernmentBuddy Hanson (Hanson Group). Scripture quotes from NKJV   

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