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The See-Saw of Sovereigns

We always have skin in the game, for our neighbors, and yes also our enemies, are just like us. Flesh and blood, bone and sinew. We must not ignore the tragedy of refugees and separated families, of grandfathers and grandsons toting weapons in the same conflict, of smoldering vengeance and so-called collateral damage. I am not searching for a casus belli or attempting to prove a just war or a reason for just involvement. I want to see how Scriptures foreshows the regimes of man crumbling, not because I wish to witness abrupt chaos or because I am a voyeur of violence. Instead when the mountains crumble and the sea foams and the nations rage, to prevent nausea from overwhelming me, I need a stable point on the horizon (Psalm 46). To that end Scripture keeps before us the enduring framework in which these puzzling and yet also expected pieces of authoritarian pride and feckless decisions fit. Whatever heights are achieved—whatever crowns the head—or however weak the feet are—an admixture of clay and iron—the golden age and the old age succumb (Daniel 2). And only one reign continues, the one that began when “He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done” (Genesis 2) and will have no end, for the Lord Jesus is over every power and dominion (Ephesians 1)—though for the present this reign is often hidden under the rubble of demolished walls and toppled statues. Some experts declare that agricultural seasons are shifting due to man’s impact, but God alone regulates the times and seasons of kings and princes (Daniel 2). And no country, no authority, no government can shield itself from an entropy unto dissolution or isolate itself from the rot and decay of man’s sin or insulate itself from God’s almighty power wielded for His unrevealed purposes. We were all playing the proverbial ostrich if we had believed that industrialized modern nations had evolved beyond wars and rumors of war, and could be exempt because former generations erected cathedrals. Resident exiles are we, and to our grief (but for the prompting of prayers) our exterior lives are entangled in the hosts country’s political and social machinations. Yet the interior life remains the province of our Father, for we are baptized into Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, whose crucified and resurrected life has ransomed ours from the reign of death and we have been transferred into His reign, now believed but then seen in all its glory (Colossians 1). Thus we pray for a steadfast faith, that we do not lose hope or focus as the path becomes cratered; and we pray for peace, that our neighbors may without fear receive their daily bread; and we pray that leaders and rulers govern with justice, hindering and uprooting the evil and preserving sufficient space for the good to take root and to flourish. Until that day, when our Father has had the last laugh (Psalm 2) and Babylon and all her suburbs are fallen and the King in His glory is seated on the throne for judgment (Revelation 19), where shall we find the peace? “Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3). He Himself is our peace.

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