The situation sounds all too familiar. The leaders of another country ask for help. “Tell us what to do! Protect us, hide us, give us sanctuary.” Their representatives need help with everything foreign policy covers.
More than that, they are at war against a common enemy. Their refugees clamor for sanctuary. The situation is dire enough that it’s described as the “killing fields.”
Open the paper to any page. Watch any political debate. Visit any news website. The issue of refugees and immigrants remains a hot button topic. Should we or shouldn’t we? Do we pick and choose? Do we set a limit? What about the cost to our own country?
Here’s the surprise. The cry for help occurred over 2,500 years ago when Sargon defeated Moab in 715 BC. Moab pled with their neighbor Judah for help. The record is found in Isaiah 16.
Judah doesn’t tell Moab yes or no. We don’t know what happened to those refugees. Instead, the Jews pointed Moab to God’s plans for their future. In the government outlined by Isaiah, plenty of material exists for a healthy discussion.
- The end is in sight.
Isaiah prefaced Judah’s answer by saying “When this is all over.” The present difficulty wouldn’t last forever. The tyrant would be toppled, the killing ended, cruelties gone. Isaiah sidestepped the question of Judah’s role in making that happen. Instead, he went forward with a description of the government God wanted for Moab.
- Government of love.
The concept of a government of love may make us laugh. Who can imagine a government run by the love-ins of the Sixties? But a quick study of what the Bible says about love paints a very different picture. 1 John suggests that a government of love is also a government of law: “This is love for God: to keep His commands.” (1 John 5:3)
- A proven form of government.
Isaiah described it “in the venerable David tradition.” While this points ahead to the day when Jesus claims His rule over the earth, it also refers to the here-and-now. Is democratic government the proven form of government for every country? That’s a good subject for discussion.
- Dependable government.
Whatever form of government, it needs to be dependable. All citizens must be able to expect the same treatment. Financial security is needed to provide the promised services. The leaders must be people of integrity, who will act in accordance with their promises and their oath of office.
- Leaders passionate for justice.
Justice, our blind lady, must hold the scales. Elsewhere God condemns rulers who chase after gifts and bribes. Over and over God holds the government responsible for helping the fatherless and the widow. God desires leadership passionate for playing fair, whatever the cost to themselves.
- Quick to act.
How many times do we see the president or a governor visit the site of a disaster? They give a public face to the government’s commitment for timely help in the midst of tragedy. What is the need? What resources are needed? The right leader will act quickly.
These guidelines could almost be split in half, leaning either to the right or left. But they all come from God. By exploring them together, pastors can open an honest discussion about the right kind of government.
Darlene Franklin is a best-selling author who continues to write full-time from a nursing home. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. You can find Darlene online at darlenefranklinwrites.com, on Amazon and you can follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/Poet.Darlene.Franklin.