The foundation of human government emerged as Noah and his family stepped out of the ark.
“From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
Humans were to govern themselves. There was to be a reckoning whenever the primal sin of murder were to occur.
Murder is wrong. We know this intuitively. It is marked into our DNA. Those moral relativists who say no absolute right and wrong exists cannot escape the wrongness of taking a life.
Murder is wrong because of the sacredness of human life. We are made in the image of God. No one ought to be thrown away and discarded, snuffed out, with no regard to the sacredness of life.
And God puts the matter of justice in the hands of humans. Humans are to set things right. And the reason we can do that is because, again, we are made in the image of God. It is the likeness of God in us that enables us to see right from wrong and to administer justice fairly.
Rather than take life, we are to make life. “And you, be fruitful and multiply, and increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” It seems that humans are to govern themselves in order to allow the divine mandate to be carried out. We prevent murder in order to allow human flourishing.
And so it is true that human government has been instituted by God. The governing authorities who have held sway over human peoples through the centuries received their mandate in Genesis 9. God is the one who commanded us to police ourselves and to administer justice fairly. God is the one who announced we are capable of doing such things. God is the one who made us in his image.
But human government is a very fragile thing, as we have seen in recent days and months. Government was designed by God to exist for our good, to make room for our flourishing. It was designed to create peace and enable families to thrive.
Government, however, can be infected with sin, and it can falter. The “reckoning” can be improperly administered. Rather than make way for human flourishing, it can make way for human chaos. Rather than enabling families to thrive in peace, it can oppress and lock up the innocent. Government can shut down a person’s livelihood, and it can allow the killing of babies.
Some people want to place every hope in the government. They figure democracy or socialism or some other form of government will see us through to the promised land. By now, after these long centuries, we ought to know that no human government is capable of this – because every human government is soiled by sin.
Our efforts to govern ourselves ultimately will fail. The Assyrian experiment failed. The Babylonian experiment failed. The Persian experiment failed. The Greek experiment failed. The Roman experiment failed. And so it goes. Right now, the American experiment looks a little shaky.
We might as well come to terms with this. And we ought to look for our Messiah. “And the government shall be upon his shoulder” (Isaiah 9:6).
Yes, this is the only answer. In times of national strife and uncertainty, we must continually remind ourselves we have a King – not a president or senate or house of representatives or governor or county commission or city council. We don’t elect this King. He simply IS.
Our King has his own way of “reckoning” with the sin of humanity. He gathered up all of our sins, including murder, and carried them to the cross. The guilt of human sin was something he took upon himself.
We can put our hope in His government. It will not come to an end. No election can change that. There is no storming of his capitol building. There is no media to spin a narrative against Him. His judgment is final.
His name is Jesus Christ. And his word is one of hope.
When this King comes at the End, he will be preceded by good news. In fact, the good news is already here. All we must do is accept him. We drop our pretenses and our ideas about the perfection of humanity. We see ourselves for who we are. And we ask him to lead us.
The good news is he accepts any who come to him.