Human Government: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By: Bruce R. Booker
One does not have to read far, if he or she is a student of the Bible, to be confronted by the foibles of human government.
The Israelites were warned, when they wanted a king like the other nations, that “This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8)
Nevertheless, God allowed them to have their king. The first was Saul, a Benjamite, who the Scripture says, “a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.” (1 Samuel 9)
Saul started out as a good and choice young man, but over time he became prideful and arrogant and took upon himself that which was not his to carry out. (1 Samuel 13:8-14).
So it was that Saul’s kingdom was taken away from him and given to another, a shepherd boy from Bethlehem, named David.
Now David was a humble man, a brave, young man whose heart was after the Lord’s own heart, and he ruled righteously. However, as time passed and as he fought and won many battles he too succumbed to temptation.
One day, as his army went out to battle, David stayed in his house (2 Samuel 11) and from his roof saw a beautiful woman bathing herself. He called to have this woman named Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, come to him so that she could have sex with him. He lay with her and she conceived a son.
He had Uriah killed in battle and because of his sin, the child was to die.
Now, to be brief, because the story is long, Bathsheba became his wife and bore a son named Solomon, who also started out his reign a humble man (1 Kings 3), and built a Temple for the Lord (1 Kings 6), but over time disobeyed the Lord because of his many foreign wives (1 Kings 11).
After the death of King Solomon, his kingdom was divided into two: Israel and Judah.
His descendants ruled after him. Some were righteous and did the will of the Lord and some were evil and displeased the Lord.
Over and over again we see that some kings were good and righteous and some kings were evil; as with Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 16:30-33).
So, we have seen many examples of the good, the bad and the ugly found in the books of the Bible.
Now, 1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us, “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”
If this is so, just WHAT are these things telling us?
- That ALL humans are sinners. It does not matter our rank or wisdom. Regardless of how we started out in life, we are ALL susceptible to sin. The weakness of human government is this: “We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Human government fails because ALL humans fail. No exceptions.
- “Power corrupts,” and as the saying continues, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A politician, president or king often starts out humbly and with all good intent, but ends up being corrupt because of corrupting influences surrounding him or her and the power that individual can wield – to the good or to the evil.
- An individual’s influence to the good or evil ALWAYS outlives them. Notice how King David’s sexual sin extended down to his sons and to his sons’ sons…Case in point: Absalom (2 Samuel 13) raped his half-sister Tamar. He tried to take over his father’s kingdom and (2 Samuel 16:22) had sex with his father’s concubines. For those who are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), note that they are not judged immediately after they die for just the sins they committed in the flesh, but are judged at the end of time. The reason for this is that their works outlive them and carry on for generations past their own deaths. One is responsible for the good or bad that occurs down the corridors of time because of what they did with their time on Earth. This should be a sobering thought for all of us. We will not simply be judged for the things we DID or DIDN’T do in this life; we will also be judged for what happens to those who follow us because of what we did or didn’t do in this life.
Conclusion: Our lives are not lived in a vacuum. We are given in the Bible the guidance we need to live godly lives and inspire us to have healthy communities and governments. If we listen to what the Bible says and understand and learn why these examples were given to us, we will prosper and live in safety, as God desires us.
However, if we choose otherwise, and reject what the Bible teaches us, we will reap the products of unrighteous living and see our society and country fall apart around us.
Perhaps we ALL need to take a fresh look at this country and what we are doing to see what is happening to us as a nation. What we are or aren’t doing will have repercussions for eternity; long past our own deaths.
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Wowza, excellent article.