Christians in Parliament (XII)

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:22-23).

Gideon was not thrilled by the idea of having the political leadership of Israel gifted to him and his sons. Why? He’d just had God grant him the task of temporary military leadership of Israel, and though he’d tasted success, he was hardly ambitious for more. To seek political leadership in Israel’s state, would be like asking for a poisoned chalice.

I can hear him saying,

Political leader of Israel? Well, wouldn’t that be a joy! Didn’t you hear about what happened at Succoth and Penuel? (Judges 8:4-8). I was hastening after the invaders of the nation, and the locals wouldn’t even give me and my men any bread! We were being invaded then. What would it be like to lead Israel, if we were at peace?

Gideon’s military experience showed him that political leadership of Israel would be no cake-walk, given its religious state. He’d had a first-hand taste of the state of the nation, and it wasn’t good. What sensible person would want to lead it, in its present situation? Frankly, none.

This is why we have to be ruthlessly realistic about Christians involving themselves in politics. What really matters is the religious state of the nation-any nation. When Israel was in apostasy before Saul, it was intent on making a dreadful choice for a political leader. The priesthood was corrupt under Eli, and so the nation was corrupt. It wanted a king to centralise authority, and he proved to be a disaster.

If a nation is in rebellion against God (as all of the West is today), a Christian being given leadership has a very challenging task. He has to lead a nation whose religious views (and bear in mind: all law is religious in orientation) are fundamentally different to his. Most people would be opposed to him.

It would be harder than the task Moses had, leading the children of Israel.

What the nations of the world need to do, is to seek first the kingdom of God, and bow the knee to Jesus Christ. That is what Gideon was really implying, in an Old Testament context.

II Chronicles 7:14 begins with the responsibilities of “My people,” and ends with God promising to “…heal their land.” It makes no mention of political leaders. So far as God is concerned, the buck stops with the people of God, and no one else. They are the ones who are to have the leavening influence in the nations of the world, and if the nations of the world are in decline, it is because the church’s leavening influence has gone.


So where does true reform have to begin? Not with politics, but with “My people,” God’s people. And that will be a long-term process, beginning with individuals, families and churches that set their hearts to seek and obey God.

Is that what we are really ready for?

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