It is coming up to election time and I am thinking about how I can declare “Let Your kingdom come,” here in my nation. The Bible shows us many examples of believers who served God well in their nation – Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Elijah, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Stephen. They may have had different roles, different responsibilities, and seen different fruit in their nations, but each one of these people served God in their time. They spoke God’s word for His kingdom ,and witnessed His work in their lives, and in their nation .
God showed Moses His plan to take Israel out of Egypt and set them apart as a nation holy to the Lord. Moses spoke the word of God to Pharaoh, and warned of God’s judgement upon Egypt with the ten plagues when Pharaoh refused to let the people go. God used Moses to lead the people of Israel into freedom and towards the Promised Land.
Today, God desires to lead His people, and His church out of “Egypt”. He desires to set us free from our slavery to sin and sickness. Moses saw something that was not of this earth and turned aside to it. He saw a burning bush that was not being consumed by the fire and, drawing closer to it, he heard God’s voice and calling on his life.
Will we recognise God’s fire in the midst of our nation, and hear His voice?
We know the story of Joseph – son sold to slavery, dreamer turned administrator. Joseph showed an integrity and excellence in his work, even though he had been unfairly taken to a foreign land. Genesis 39:2-4 shows the impact Joseph had because God was with him.
[Genesis 39:2-4] – “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand… So it was, from the time that he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.”
Even as a slave in Egypt, Joseph shone with the presence of God. His work brought blessing to his Egyptian master’s house, and he continued to serve with greater responsibility. Eventually, Joseph became second in command to Pharaoh, and here, God worked through him to provide and protect. Israel was provided with food in the famine, and lands in which they could settle with plenty.
Will we allow God to work through us both as we serve, and as we lead?
Taken into the Babylonian court after Israel’s defeat, Daniel rose to a privileged position of service. He served three kings, counselled them wisely, and maintained a testimony that caused them to acknowledge His God. He lived in such a way that his enemies were unable to find fault with him, and he was faithful in his work.
[Daniel 6:4-5] – “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said. ‘We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'”
Daniel’s testimony in his nation was that he served faithfully, and knew God who showed himself to be deliver, revealer of secrets and God of gods. Because of Daniel’s testimony, kings Nebuchadnezzar and Darius worshipped God.
Will we declare God’s deliverance over our nation as we serve faithfully and with integrity?
Through Elijah, God showed Himself as Lord of lords and King of kings. Elijah was unpopular and found himself hated by the king and queen of his time – Ahab and Jezebel. During one meeting, we see this exchange between Ahab and Elijah:
[1 Kings 18:17-18] – “Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said to him, ‘Is that you, O troubler of Israel?’ And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.'”
After this, Elijah asks that the prophets of Baal be gathered together. They make an agreement that the god who answers by fire upon the altar, he is God. The prophets of Baal are unable to elicit a response, but Elijah cries out to God, and God sends fire to consume the altar, the sacrifice, and all the water in the trench around it. At this, the people fall on their faces and worship God, acknowledging that “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” – [1 Kings 18:39] The prophets of Baal are executed, and Elijah tells Ahab that the drought upon the land will now be alleviated. Later, Elijah throws his mantle on Elisha, and Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
Will we stand for God’s values even when authorities despise us? Will we disciple others to do the same?
Orphaned, in a foreign land, and taken from her home into the king’s harem, Esther lived for such a time as this. Though her life was at stake, she prayed, fasted, and petitioned the king on behalf of her people, the Jews. Though she became queen, she did not forget her heritage, and she did not forget her God. In her position of privilege, God used Esther to deliver his people from a plot against their lives. Because of Esther, Mordecai became second in command to the king, and the Jews started to have a bigger presence in the nation where they resided. Ezra, and Nehemiah both served as officials of the king after Esther’s time.
Will we make petition for God’s people at such a time as this?
Ezra, a skilled scribe in the service of king, played an important part in restoring the Jerusalem temple. The Bible tells us that Ezra had both the desire to do this, and the means to accomplish it.
- [Ezra 7:10] – “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
- [Ezra 7:6] – “…this Ezra came up from Babylon; and he was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him.”
Ezra recognises the Lord’s desire to build His temple, and is glad to work with God in this.
- [Ezra 7:27-28] – “Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers, who has put such as thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem, and has extended mercy to me before the king and his counsellors, and before all the kings mighty princes.”
Will we desire what God desires, and work with Him to build His temple on earth?
Nehemiah initiated and led the restoration of Jerusalem. He served as the king’s cupbearer, had a vision for the rebuilding of God’s holy city, prayed, and persevered through oppression by his nation to see God’s people worship again at Jerusalem’s temple.
One thing that stands out in Nehemiah’s success, is his constant petition to the Lord.
- [Nehemiah 1:5-6] – “… I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commands, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against you. ..”
- [Nehemiah 2:4-5] – “Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’ So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favour in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
Nehemiah also stood firm against oppression. When faced with opposition, he:
- Refused to leave God’s work
- Refused to meet or engage with false accusers
- Firmly spoke the truth
- Asked God to strengthen his hands
Will we pray for our nation, pray to know God’s will, and pray that God would strengthen our hands?
Stephen lived and died boldly for the kingdom of God. The Bible describes Stephen’s ministry like this:
[Acts 6:8,10] – “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people… And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.”
Stephen persevered in this even until his death. As the people were persecuting him, the Bible tells us that Stephen, “… being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” – [Acts 7:55]
Will we be filled with the Holy Spirit to see the glory of God at all times, and proclaim the coming of His kingdom?
HOW WILL WE LIVE?
Despite living at different times, in different places, and with different responsibilities, all these Biblical men and women served God well in a foreign land. They were citizens of heaven, of God’s Jerusalem, but they lived and carried out His will on earth. They lived in pagan cities, faced persecution, and at times, doubted their own strength. However, God was with them – His word, His presence, His power, His favour.
When I look at the way these men and women lived, I see the following things:
- They understood a vision for God’s people
- They prayed, and spoke to God
- They were filled with the spirit of God, and equipped with everything they needed to do His will
- Their nation recognised that God was with them, and for them
- They continued in the work of God despite opposition
It doesn’t matter if you are a Prime Minister, or a cleaner. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, learned or unlearned. We can all serve God and call forth His kingdom. We can live in a way that honours our leaders, but also upholds God’s commands. We might give a word of wisdom, make petition on behalf of God’s people, lead someone into the grace of God, or shine with faith in the midst of persecution. Wherever we are placed, we can influence the world for the kingdom of God, and call His church to walk in His promises. [Romans 12:10-12] summarises what it takes:
- “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.”
Will we be faithful in all God has given us to do and speak in our nation today?