This is the time of year where everyone starts getting into politics. Whether you are for one presidential candidate or against another, you are going to hear about politics non-stop over the next few weeks.
Unfortunately, watching the presidential debates reminds us regular Americans that politicians are not really paid to solve governmental issues. Neither of the presidential candidates or vice presidential candidates will even answer the questions that they are asked. Rather than having an honest conversation and trying to reach a consensus on what is best for our country, they just use their time to speak their sound-bites and try to encourage their base.
But that’s politics! Being a politician is more about skillfully being able to tell people what they want to hear and knowing how to work the system than it is about actually doing anything. We don’t call someone a skilled politician because they are successful at what they do—we call them a skilled politician when they can use their charm to get people to support them, follow them, and agree with what they want.
That’s not always a bad thing. Skilled politicians have existed ever since government existed, and some of the most skilled politicians have used their political skills for God’s purposes. Just look at Joseph—the first politician among God’s chosen people.
Please read Genesis 46:28-47:6.
Joseph is a skilled politician. In the beginning of this passage, he wants to provide a place for his family to live, and he particularly craves the land of Goshen. But this land belongs to Pharaoh, and while Joseph is second in command, only Pharaoh can officially give the land to Joseph’s family for them to live in. So Joseph hatches his political scheme: he tells his brothers exactly what to say in order to prey on the Egyptian prejudices and manipulate Pharaoh into giving Joseph exactly what he wants. He is such a skilled politician that Pharaoh gives Joseph everything he desires, and thinks that it was his own idea! He then goes even further to give Joseph’s brothers some job opportunities in watching Pharaoh’s own flocks!
When we see this kind of manipulation, there is a part of us that roots for Joseph, but there is another part that feels that its not quite right. Wouldn’t it be more in God’s nature to honestly express your desires without all this manipulation? Is all of this playing of politics really necessary?
Jesus tells us to be wise as serpents, while being innocent as doves. In all of his scheming, Joseph never lies, never cheats or steals, never blasphemes or insults Pharaoh. In everything he does here, he is as innocent as a dove. BUT, God has given Joseph incredible wisdom—not just regarding the interpretation of dreams or the storing of grain before a famine, but in manipulating the political system of Egypt for God’s purposes. In all of this, Joseph uses his God-given wisdom to help ensure God’s plan for God’s people.
As Christians today, we must do the same. Since Jesus is not running for president, there are no perfect political candidates. Since God has not declared which political candidate He is endorsing from heaven, we must use our God-given wisdom to sift through all the noise and check the facts. We must do our research, pray, and discern which political candidate is most like Joseph; which one will most use his God-given wisdom to help God’s people implement God’s plan on this earth.
As we are practicing discernment in making this decision, we must continue to show love to those who think differently than we do. We too must be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves.
COMMENTS FOR THIS POST HAVE BEEN DISABLED.