By Rev. Mark H. Creech (L.D.H.)
Once there was a lion that was proud of his supposed mastery of the animal kingdom. So he decided to make certain all of the other animals knew he was the king of the jungle. He was so confident that he bypassed the smaller animals and went straight to the bear. “Who is the king of the jungle?” the lion asked. The bear trembling, replied, “Why, why, you are, of course, Mr. Lion.” The lion then gave a mighty roar of approval. Next he asked the tiger, “Who is the king of the jungle?” The tiger quickly replied, “Everyone knows that you are, oh great lion!” Once again, the lion roared with pride. Next on the list was the elephant. The lion boldly faced the elephant and addressed his question: “Who is the king of the jungle?” The elephant immediately grabbed the lion with his trunk, whirled him around the air four or five times and slammed him into a tree. Then he pounded him onto the ground several times, dunked him in water in a nearby lake, and finally threw him onto the shore. The lion – beaten, badly bruised and battered – struggled to his feet. He looked at the elephant with sad and bloody eyes and said, “Look, just because you didn’t know the answer is no reason for you to get so mad about it.”
An unfortunate dynamic of our political times is that too many politicians proudly strut around behaving as if they were king. They roar and act as if they own the country. But obviously they’ve forgotten, or were altogether unawares, there is somebody much bigger than they to whom they’ll have to give an account. God has not been toppled from his throne. The Scriptures admonish, “The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake” (Psalm 99:1)
A little unknown fact to most Americans is that original state constitutions included a stipulation that each member of government must verbalize a belief in God and a judgment where all men would receive either future rewards or punishments. Such a requirement helped public officials recognize and acknowledge their public service was to be performed in the fear of God’s judgment – they were to answer to Him for the actions they would take while in office.
Noah Webster once spoke of this, saying, “The principles of all genuine liberty and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man therefore who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer.”
The sixteenth President of these United States certainly understood this principle. Once, upon hearing a preacher say that he hoped the Lord was on the Union’s side during the Civil War, Lincoln responded, “I am not at all concerned about that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right. But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”
During these times of national crisis, few things could be more important than America’s leaders constantly living and performing their duties in the light of God’s coming judgment – They should be committed to leading the public to honor His laws – endeavoring to see that this nation is always on the Lord’s side.
Quite frankly, however, that’s not what’s happening. And, the fact that it isn’t happening is an indictment not only on the nation’s leadership but of the public itself. For in a Democratic Republic, the country gets exactly the leaders it deserves.
Webster admonished, “When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands that you choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for selfish local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated and disregarded. If a republican government fails to secure prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”
President James Garfield reiterated this same point, noting, “Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these qualities to represent them in the national legislature…If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”
Interestingly, a Reuters poll in August of last year showed that 73 percent of Americans believed the United States is “off on the wrong track,” and only one in five, 21 percent felt the country was heading in the right direction.
Could it be God is tugging on the conscience of the majority in this nation?
America is full of pride and has attempted to function without God and outside of His commands. Its politicians have only been a reflection of this fact. But if wholesale repentance doesn’t take place – if the nation doesn’t listen to the beckoning of its better angels and return to its religious moorings – getting back on the right track – it may roar and claim to be the king of the jungle – even in the face of the Almighty Himself – but it will suffer the beating of its life – one where freedom may not survive.