This is my sixth attempt at writing a blog post, and guys, I am going for the low hanging fruit. I am going to talk about the election.
In reading that last sentence, 84% of you stopped reading.
Okay, okay, I get it: we are all OVER this election. We hate both candidates. We believe that voting third party is the best/worst thing to do. We are all voting based on the lesser of two evils, which is why Clinton/Trump is the best candidate, blah, blah-blah, blah, blah.
But I have been wondering about why everyone seems to be so on edge about this election and why the outrage and anger seems to be so high. Clinton may be a dirty politician, but the fact that the trope of “dirty politician” exists seems to suggest she isn’t the first dirty politician to grace our governmental system. Trump may be a misogynist/sexual predator, but our third president (and many, many, many in between) have also been rapists and sexually deviant. And I am not saying that it doesn’t matter, but I am curious about why it matters so much this year. But, hey, the Cubs won the World Series, so it may just be a weird year…
Regardless, this outrage makes me reflect on a very specific moment in time in the Bible: roughly 1200 BC. The Mycenaean civilization of Greece was collapsing and refugees were fleeing their country and took to the sea and landed on the shores of Canaan, Egypt, and Anatolia. Armed and desperate, this group had no place to go and nothing to lose. They were refugees without homes and without hope. So they did what you did back then and began fighting for land, starting from the coasts moving inland. These peoples—known as Sea Peoples—were made of a bunch of tribes, one of the most powerful being the Philistines.
What is going on with Israel at this time? I am glad you asked! In 1 Samuel 8, the Israelites ask for a king, a flesh and blood human king. Never before have they asked for one. Since the beginning of their culture and national identity, they have not had one. They have been ruled by God. It was a theocracy mediated by judges and prophets. And Samuel, the last judge, is taken aback by their request. He prays and God answers by saying “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice.”
Is God changing his covenant plan for Israel? He had made a covenant with Noah and with Abraham and with his people through Moses before, a covenant that he would be their God and they would be his people. Is he changing all of that on a his peoples’ whim? No, he knew his peoples’ hearts even at this point. He knew that as the culture changed around them—as all the other countries started to have kings and warring tribes threatened safety—that his people, his beloved, would change too. They want a king, a representative to serve between God and his people.
Christians tend to stop thinking through the weightiness of this here: you hop immediately (and appropriately) to Jesus, THE representative to serve between God and his people!
And yes, yes, it is an echo of the Christ to come, but before you jump to there stay with me in 1200BC (ish).
The Israelites, also refugees, had come into Canaan and have been fighting the Canaanites, pushing their boundaries inward. And along come the new refugees, the Philistines, landing in the seashore. The Israelites are surrounded. They need saving.
And they believe their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not enough to save them. They want a king.
Ah, my soul hurts for God. The rejection! The insult! The audacity! I don’t take rejection well. I literally have not talked to my exes in person ever again since the day of our breakups. I love being rejected and handle it well! (cough sarcasm cough).
But, I am amazed at God’s response. Not only does he give them a king, but he will end up using that idea of king and of a savior to introduce his son, the representative to serve between God and his people. He uses his peoples’ weakness and fears and insecurities in the time of changing culture and warring borders to create the framework for ultimate redemption. He literally uses our weaknesses—his peoples’ weaknesses—to redeem us.
This biblical narrative helps me calm down in the face of the election. I have picked a candidate that I think is actually a pretty decent. I support her/him and I am worried about what will happen to our country if his/her opponent wins.
But I remember that if I truly believe the Bible, if I truly believe that Christ is my representative between my sinful self and God, then I am ultimately safe.
I already voted (and you should vote too!). I will pray for my country. I will fight to make it more beautiful and more believable everyday.
But no matter who wins next week, whether it is Trump or Clinton or by massive write-in Chuck Norris, my faith is not in my earthly representative, but my everlasting one.
And therein lies peace.