Sometimes, this world can get really discouraging. Especially when it comes to politics.
It seems like, much of the time, the people who are in control either don’t know what they are doing or don’t care. Things continue to go downhill. Our leaders spend more time arguing with each other than actually taking action on anything that matters.
It might feel like this is a new development, like if we could just go back to a better time, a simpler time, the government would be better. But the truth is, there have been issues with human governments since the very beginning. Even the ancient Israelites, God’s chosen nation, couldn’t get it right. String after string of bad kings, kings who forgot God, who disregarded his laws, who oppressed his people and led them in wrongdoing.
But this didn’t mean that God wasn’t with his people. See, back in the time of King David, Israel’s second king, he had made a promise.
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. ”
-2 Samuel 7:12-13
At first glance, we might think this promise was referring to David’s son, Solomon. And in some ways, it is. Solomon had a flourishing kingdom, presiding over one of the most prosperous times in Israel’s history. He built a temple for God. But that’s where we run into a problem: Solomon’s throne didn’t last forever. It’s quite obvious, as we continue reading the Old Testament, that things deteriorated, and that eventually Israel would be captured and destroyed by foreign nations.
But what about God’s promise?
At the heart of it, this promise is reaching much farther into the future than it seems at first glance. This is, ultimately, the promise that we celebrate at Christmas: the promise of the Messiah, of Jesus come to earth. He came to earth and established his kingdom, and now is building a church of believers from all around the world, one that will last for eternity.
This is the promise that we inherit as Christians. Jesus is the Forever King. He was reigning at the side of God the Father in the beginning (John 1). He will reign in the eternity to come, when his kingdom is fully established and his people are fully gathered.
Because human rulers will always disappoint us. God may pour his Spirit out on one for a time, may bless us with wise government for a time, but thanks to the Fall the human spirit will so often be corrupted by power. If we place our hope in human governments, we are placing it in something that will always fail us. We are seeking security in the wrong place, when it has already been offered to us by Christ.
Because he reigns! He is ruling over the world now, and his rule will only get better as we enter into an eternity of his kingdom. This is the story of Christmas: Jesus was born to establish a kingdom. He lived to establish a kingdom. He died to establish a kingdom.
“And he shall reign forever and forever.”