A Biblical Response to Storming the Capitol
By Rick DuBose | Posted In What Does the Bible Say
As I sit here taking in the news of the day, I want to encourage my fellow believer to stay encouraged. Like you, I am seeing the response of a few Americans who have allowed their disappointment with the direction of our nation cause them to disgrace our capitol and our elected leadership. In spite of the fact that I know God has this, I am still gravely concerned for how we, pastors and ministry leaders, lead the Church when our communities and citizens are so divided over its direction and values: Do we pick the side that we believe best represents our biblical view and stand with them? Do we avoid both sides and play neutral in hopes of not offending either side? Or is there another side to choose?
Joshua, God’s selected leader to replace Moses, was faced with a similar choice when leading the Israelite people to Jericho:
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 5:13-15, NIV).
The answer to us in this moment of American history regarding which side to choose may be the same as it was to Joshua: neither. Let me paraphrase the angel’s communication: “As a messenger of God, I refuse to be limited by the two choices you presented. There is a much better choice – God’s side.” The angel wasn’t as concerned with the victory or advancement of Israel as Joshua was: Joshua’s aim was too small. The angel was already looking past Israel’s possession of the promised land to a greater and more enduring victory—that of God, not humankind. Perhaps the angel could already see the coming kingdom of David, the temple of Solomon, the expulsion of Israelites from their land and their later return to a broken-down temple. Perhaps he could see the birth of Jesus in the city of Bethlehem, the cross standing in Jerusalem, and the empty tomb. Perhaps he could see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room and the birth of the church and the gathering of every tribe, tongue, and nation. With such a view, which “side” he was on in relation to Joshua wasn’t even the right question to ask. The angel maintained an eternal focus in the present battle—and so should we.
Insurrections, turmoil, and dissent and will not be ultimately quelled until Satan has been bound. At that time, loud voices in heaven will say, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Any national victory or national failure will pale in comparison until that day when all kingdoms have surrendered to the just and true reign of Christ.
In response to the angel’s third-side option, Joshua fell down in reverence. His spiritual eyes were opened to see that place not as a battle ground but as holy ground. And so ends Joshua 5: Joshua recognized the holiness of the moment before he was able to receive God’s directives for how to address Jericho.
In these first few moments of 2021, I encourage all of us to continue looking toward God’s eternal purposes: if something isn’t advancing His kingdom, then it’s too small a goal. Our purpose is not to save America; it’s to save Americans. The same rings true within every country: the highest goal is the preservation of citizens’ souls, not of one political party over another. Before calling the Ephesian believers to put on the full armor of God, the apostle Paul encouraged them to be very careful to live wisely and make the most of every opportunity because they were living in evil days (Ephesians 5:15-16)—and so it is with us. Make the most of opportunities to engage with people about the nation’s events and bring to mind God’s eternal purposes: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
Despite national unrest, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus and remains with Him (Matthew 28:18). The Lord’s purpose for every believer, from his ascension to the present day to His future return, is to make disciples of all nations. Chaos in our Capitol will not stop that. Be encouraged by His promise to be with you always, even to the end of the age.