Thursday, September 23, 2010

(Don't) Follow the Leader

The nation of Israel was in its glory days about 1000 B.C. under the kingship of David and Solomon, but one king later, the nation divided into two, a Northern set of 10 tribes (aka "Israel") and a Southern set of two (aka "Judah").

Over the next couple of centuries, the leadership of the Northern Israel was particularly neglectful of living as YHWH would have them live, which eventually resulted in God using the nation of Assyria to conquer and punish Israel.

We see in the Biblical book of the Kings how the leadership of the nation leads up to this:
2 Kings 15:17ff Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel. ... Sin for sin, he repeated the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.
2 Kings 15:23ff Pekahiah son of Menahem became king of Israel. ... In YHWH's eyes he lived an evil life. He stuck to the old sin tracks of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.
2 Kings 15:27ff Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria. ... In YHWH's view he lived an evil life; he didn't deviate so much as a hair's breadth from the path laid down by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who led Israel into a life of sin.
We see that King Jeroboam led Israel into a life of sin, and these three kings followed in his footsteps.

After Israel is taken into captivity, this is what God says:
The exile came about because of sin: The children of Israel sinned against YHWH, their God, who had delivered them from Egypt and the brutal oppression of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They took up with other gods, fell in with the ways of life of the pagan nations YHWH had chased off, and went along with whatever their kings did.
What I find significant here is the suggestion that if the people had not gone along with their leadership, they would not have been sent into exile from their homeland.

What does this say about following our governmental leadership?

I'm just askin'....


Sheri said...

I often hear in church that we "must always obey the laws of the land, unless they conflict with the laws of God." I have a problem with that. The citizens of the USA are supposed to be free from governmental interference. The Constitution is the law of the land, not the Congress. Our national government has strayed too far away from the Constitution and we all need to stand up and NOT follow our leaders.

I know that doesn't really answer your question. You got my Libertarian dander up. But, always there is that caveat of "only so long as the leader doesn't violate the will of God." If the people had not followed the leader, I believe God would have dethroned the leader and not punished the people.

Chyntt said...

I like your thinking, Sheri. The way I think of it is that in the U.S.A. the people *are* the government. Built into the very DNA of this wonderful nation are these words from the Declaration of Independence:

[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [the People] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So yeah, the Bible/church teaches us to obey the laws of the land, but the law of our land (U.S.A) says that We the People trump the lesser laws enacted by governmental entities.

I'm also convinced of the truthfulness of the saying (usually attributed to Tocqueville, apparently erroneously): "America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."