Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Prophets love the Law

The modern church has a problem. We do not really like the Old Testament and are quite embarrassed about the law, so we attempt to build our Christian lives on the New Testament. The problem with this is that the New Testament tells us very little about the role of the state. Apart from Romans 13 and Matthew 22:15-22, there is almost nothing about political powers, but there is a good reason for this. God had already given his revelation about civil government in the New Testament and did not repeat it. His guidance for civil law is contained in the biblical law.

If we want to develop a legal system that conforms to the will of God, we will have to base it on the Old Testament law. This will require a change in attitude to the law. Several Psalms teach that we should love the law.

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day longYour commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.I have more insight than all my teachers,for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the eldersfor I obey your precepts. (Psalm 119:97-100)
We have interpreted this a call to love the scriptures, but that is not what the Psalmist says. We are actually told to love the law and are promised that this will give us greater wisdom than our teachers. If we want to understand godly civil government, we must begin by loving the law. Only those who study the Old Testament law with passion will understand how to apply it to civil government in a Christian society.

As prophets exercise the power of the trumpet on behalf of the Church, they will need to love the law. The Old Testament prophets were like legal prosecutors who charged and attempted to convict Israel of failure to keep the law. They were so passionate for God’s law they were willing to risk the wrath of wicked Kings when confronting their nations sin.

I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame,for I delight in your commandsbecause I love them. (Psalm 119:46,47).

Prophets will only be able to speak clearly to the rulers of their nation, if they truely love the law.

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Humble Prophets

Prophets must remain humble, so they are not corrupted by their close link with the state. The scriptures have strong words against the "court prophets" who support everything that a ruler does, but do not listen to what God is saying. Prophets to the nation must also be careful to remain in the place where God has planted them. Because, they understand the art of government, they might be tempted to enter politics. However, prophets have a responsibility to speak God’s word, so they must not usurp the role of the king. This would be dangerous for them and their nation. An excellent prophet will make an inferior king.

The boundary between church and state must be kept clear. Prophets must not attempt to manipulate or control the civil authorities on God’s behalf. They must limit their efforts to persuasion. They must speak God’s word and leave the Holy Spirit to change the politicians heart. The key to being heard is to hear from God. The more clearly the prophet hears from God, the more his words will be heeded. Wise prophets will remain separate from the trappings of the state, so that they can hear God clearly and speak with integrity.