I was talking recently with my friend (who’s also my oldest son’s father in law) Russell Minick about America. We were discussing some of the ugly things in our country’s past and present, how we should respond, things like that. He said the following:
“We have to come to understand that we are not King David in Israel. We are Daniel in Babylon.”
That has stuck with me, in particular as I face the increasingly likely scenario of a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton next November. Seriously, can I vote myself off this island?
Daniel was exiled in Babylon. It was not his true home, but he was commanded, along with all the other exiles, to make it a home, to do good to it.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV)
There is a middle, balanced, better way between anger/frustration and apathy, between “protest” votes and staying home, between avoiding cultural engagement and the contention, bickering and partisan blindness of the political junky.
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf”
America has never been Israel, and we Christians are not the rulers here. We’re Daniel, the blessed exile, and we should be seeking to spread that blessing to the people around us, both our fellow exiles and our Babylonian neighbors.