Good government sounds like an oxymoron.
Since the Fall men have sought unsuccessfully to govern themselves. Everything created by fallen man, including systems of government, is tainted with sin (pride, selfishness, greed, prejudices, etc.). Human governments promise lift without redemption, justice without covenant, and end up exploiting the masses while enriching those who govern. Power always attracts exploitation.
Therefore, good governance must come from outside of man—which it does for Israel. Good governance is revealed through the laws that God gives Israel:
Laws establishing a cap on owning property, forbidding accumulating wealth at the expense of others, and canceling debt (examples: Sabbath, Seventh year of rest, 50th year of Jubilee).
Laws protecting family and marriage
Laws separating the priesthood to a life of service and self-control.
Laws protecting monotheism
Laws valuing God’s presence and Israel’s redemption
Laws elevating justice and retribution for theft (for one example: Ex. 22:1)
Laws protecting communal health
These and the other regulations that God gives Israel remind them that His continued presence in their midst requires holiness in all areas of life. They are unlike the other nations. Theirs is a theocracy, a nation under God’s good rule. Theirs is a nation where everyone is valued and thus feels safe. Theirs is a nation where covenant and redemption form their foundation. One nation under God.
To remember His rule, God commands all of Israel to add a blue thread in the tassels of their garments, “And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined” (Numbers 15:39).
God’s system of governance is good. They, Israel, are the problem. After receiving the Law and constructing the Tent of Meeting, Israel leaves Sinai. Almost immediately the problem manifests itself in complaining, rebellion, suspicion, and unbelief. Tucked between the two censuses in the book of Numbers are thirty-nine years of restless rebellion. One generation, because of their rebellion, forfeits their entrance into the land of promise. Rebellion and insubordination to God’s good governance is costly.
Laws cannot cure what ails Israel. They don’t need a new system of government; they need God’s mercy—mercy that looks upon substitutionary atonement and pardons iniquity. They need new hearts—hearts that submit to substitutionary atonement and walk in step to the beat of God’s law—hearts that surrender to God’s good governance. Government from the inside out.
IN THIS SECTION
Subscribe to this Blog