For the last two weeks, I’ve taken a break from politics to share some of my thoughts about the true meaning of Christmas. But when the Christmas story and politics come together, it seems like bad news for most of today’s politicians, Republican and Democrat alike. If too many politicians read it, there may be no room for me in the “inn” of their office next session.
Mary’s Christmas Song
Until this year, I had overlooked an important part of the song (The Magnificat) that the Virgin Mary sang as she contemplated what God was doing in bringing the God-man, Jesus, into the world through her womb:
He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and [has] exalted the lowly (Luke 1:51–52)1.
This passage tells us that Jesus’ birth was about way more than the typical Christmas narration of how Jesus came to earth to save sinners.
The Part of the Christmas Story I Had Missed
What I didn’t appreciate was the connection between the Christmas story and the larger effect of Adam and Eve’s disobedience beyond that of the individual person.
By their sin, Adam and Eve not only alienated themselves from God, but they also rebelled against the authority that God had delegated to them when He told them to continue filling and forming the earth in order that it might become like the garden He had planted for them.
The presumption of such authority by human beings over and against God’s authority and the rejection of their God-given calling to display God’s glory in their culture-creating work in favor of their own glory are exactly the kinds of prideful imaginations of the human heart that Mary said God “scattered” by the incarnation!
What Meaning Should Politicians Draw From the Incarnation?
The incarnation is a tangible reminder that there is a “God in Heaven,” and the virgin birth is a reminder that He has ultimate authority over and can exercise that authority over the lives of those whom He has created. The angel who came to Mary didn’t come to ask if she’d give God permission, and Joseph sure wasn’t asked if he was okay with it.
But for those in places of civil authority, here is an often-overlooked meaning of the incarnation. In the incarnation there was no confusion or co-mingling of the two natures of Jesus—the Divine and the human. This is a tangible “reminder” that there is no divinity, no transcendent being-ness in mankind. God is God, and we are not. For us to act like we are God or even to think that we are is high treason from God’s perspective.
Consider, for example, Psalm 2:2–3:
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.”
For those unfamiliar with this Psalm, God is saying that the civil rulers think they can break God’s ethical laws and do away with His creational laws and rule on the basis of their own authority and reason.
This kind of prideful, man-exalting God-complex is endemic to civil government when the allegiance of those who hold its authority is to voters or political parties (and often to their own person above all), not God.
God’s Response to Politicians With a God Complex
Notice God’s response: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision” (Psalm 2:4)
I’m thinking this is not a bowl-full-of-jelly laugh. Why? “Derision” is one clue, but the next sentence reads, “Then He shall speak to them in His wrath” (v.5).
In the next verse, God gives them a little counter-truth to consider: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion” (v. 6). And this King is no less than God’s son. Psalm 2:7b says, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” Sure sounds like the New Testament description of Jesus as God’s “only begotten Son” (John 3:16), if you ask me.
But then comes the big hurt, when God says to His king:
Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel’ (v. 8–9).
This is exactly what Mary was singing about when she said, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones.”
Do we see them put down yet? No, but it’s coming because we’re told that what God said about His Son was His “decree” (v. 7), and the very nature of an immutable, unchanging God means He can never go back on His word and there is no power on earth that can thwart God, as he of the arrogant God-complex, Nebuchadnezzar, learned the hard way (Daniel 4:35).
Do We Have Psalm 2 Politicians Today?
In America, we don’t have a Psalm 2 king, but we do have Republican and Democrat politicians who “break” the ethical law of God against stealing by redistributive taxation to fund their respective pet programs that go beyond the function of civil justice. We have Republican and Democrat politicians who support or, by man-fearing induced acquiescence, allow the creational boundary law of male and female to be “cast away” by the redefinition of marriage and parenthood. I could go on, but you get the point.
‘You Better Watch Out’ Because God’s ‘Telling You Why’
So, it is to these politicians (and judges) I leave the rest of Psalm 2 for their Christmas consideration (and the consideration of those who encourage them to run for office):
Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little (v. 10–12).
Like Mary said, at some point those who are lowly and the meek before God will, indeed, “inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).
- All quotations from the Bible are from the NKJV.
David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.
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