Scandal has dominated the national news the past several days and weeks. If you haven’t noticed it, you haven’t been paying attention. I don’t even have a TV and I’ve picked up the following sampling: … need to hold our government accountable to the American people … Benghazi … whistleblower demoted after testimony … the department’s spying and stonewalling … continuous and blatant lying … journalists who care more about image than about the truth … a widening web of lies and deception … outrageous abuse of power and breach of the public’s trust …
Sounds pretty bad. The level of corruption and truth-twisting makes cynics of liberals and conservatives alike. King David’s lament could be our own:
When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
Indeed, what should we do? You can feel the hopelessness in those words. Should we give up? Blame somebody else? Move to Australia? Regardless whether you’re a believer or never darken a church door, you sense something is radically wrong with our society, our country.
What should our attitude be? Some might say that we’re supposed to support the government, regardless. They forget that oppression stimulated the founders of our great experiment in democracy to declare independence from the tyrannical government of King George III. Christians might quote Paul’s letter to the Romans: Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except that which God has established (Romans 13:1). Keep in mind that “submit” doesn’t mean roll over.
Again, what to do? The following words of wisdom are based on the best supportable authority I have—the Bible. I’m not known to be the first or second smartest guy in the room but I believe God’s Word. It’s validated my trust in it time and again. (If you have a different perspective, I’d like to hear from you.)
Drawing only from the Psalms and Proverbs, following is God’s viewpoint re this season of lawlessness, and what he will do about it:
There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).
We may make our plans, but God has the last word (Proverbs 16:1).
Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free (Proverbs 11:21).
And he will judge the world in righteousness, He will minister judgment to the peoples in uprightness (Psalm 9:8).
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace (Psalm 29:11).
In order—man’s way isn’t so good, though it may seem reasonable at the time. Unrepentant lawbreakers cannot escape ultimate punishment for their wickedness. God—not me or anybody else—is going to judge the whole world. That judgment will be impartial and complete because he is a holy God. Note that the Lord gives (present tense, ongoing) strength to his people and will give them peace. Are you one of his people? How do you know?
Back to our tasks in view of growing scandal:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes (Psalm 37:7).
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).
I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14).
The presence of evil and of evil people in the world is a reality. Matthew Henry said, “Even that which grieves us must not fret us … If wicked people prosper, we must not therefore incline to do as they do. Envy not their prosperity. There is no true happiness in it.” We are to trust in who God is and in his name. The goodness of the Lord can be ours today—“in the land of the living.” Though we want God to deal with the corrupt on our timeline—right now—we are exhorted to wait for the Lord.
Waiting confronts our bent toward impatience but these times of social decay and moral relativism also demand strength and courage. What are our options in the land of the living re the truth-twisters and abusers of power and position? Does evil win by default?