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Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Problem with Democracy

Numbers 14:1-4 (ESV)
1  Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2  And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3  Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4  And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 

A majority of the people wanted to reject what God had for them. The majority was wrong.

The United States is often described as a democracy. It is not. It is a republic. That means that people elect representatives who will enact laws for the betterment of the people. The rule of law prevails rather than pure democracy. Thus, a group of vigilantes is not justified by their swift justice of someone whom they believe is a thief. The rule of law prevails rather than pure democracy.

But what happens when those who are elected to office are as corrupt as the law breakers? What happens when a majority of the people who elect these representatives are just as corrupt? Will that not result in more and more corruption?

Let's face it: man is a fallen creature who lives in a fallen creation. The lack of God's presence will result in more and more sinfulness. Greed and corruption will prevail in the absence of a force that will stop them. Thus, even the best of people who fail to identify with God will be left to their own to decide what is right or wrong. They will often go toward public sentiment. They will lean toward ungodliness when the public becomes ungodly.

Is there a better system? Maybe but I will admit that I prefer democracy over an oligarchy. At least, there is a method of corralling the greed and corruption of a representative with each new election in a democracy. 

Is it hopeless? No. We do live in a fallen world but we have a strength to combat that fallenness. We have the Spirit who inhabits us and enables us to call on the Almighty to bring conviction. Of course, those who walk closely to God need conviction as much as those who have no thought of God. Holiness will evade us all if we assume that we can condemn others as worse than ourselves.

But for democracy to function for the true good of the  people, those who know God must first be fully engaged with God. We must know our sins as terrible and truly confess them. We must commit ourselves to confession on a daily basis and pray that God would continue to reveal in unrighteousness. We must rejoice in the forgiveness which has been given to us and seek God with our whole hearts. We must live lives which reveal a glory to God. Our work and words, no matter what our employment is, should reflect the glory of God. No one should be more dedicated than the one who is completely committed to the Lord.

I believe this is contagious. Revivals have erupted when God's people have sought Him. In each case, the governments ruled by democratically  elected representatives have drastically  changed. Laws were enacted that rejected greed and corruption. 

The problem with democracy is what we are seeing today without God. I pray that I will not be content with my own unholiness. I pray that I will live my live in such a way that it positively brings people to live holy lives. I pray that holiness prevails with a majority of the people. Then, I believe, there will be no problem with democracy.

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