It was hard not to be a little misty-eyed listening to Barack Obama’s victory speech last night. It is truly an amazing ‘moment’ in history we are witnessing as the U.S.A. has elected its first African-American president.
We need to be prayerful for him, and for other world leaders including our own here in Australia. They carry a great weight of expectation in these times of war and financial upheaval.
We need also to think carefully about these expectations so many people have of their leaders. It is interesting to hear words such as ‘hope’ and ‘freedom’ and ‘peace’ used so frequently in relation to the president-elect. Clearly he has a very important job to do and that is why we need to pray. But as we pray we will also be mindful of what a mere man can do and what he cannot do.
Ultimately we know that true hope and freedom and peace come only through a greater moment in history than the one we witnessed yesterday. It was that moment witnessed by the apostles and over 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:6) when the crucified Jesus rose from the dead. And ultimately that is where aching hearts and expectant faces need to turn to find all that they long for. It is for us to point to him.
President Elect Barack Obama is certainly a great orator and inspirer from what I saw in his acceptance speech. There is certainly a lot of people putting their hope in him and the Democrats. His slogan “Change you can believe in” was clever and inspiring, but as Steve says above, some things only God can change.
The President Elect will still have to deal with sinful people – in the House of Reps and the Senate, the people in stock market, the banking sector etc.
The other interesting thing is that Obama says he is a Christian. However some of the things he has said give me doubts about this claim. According to Truth or Fiction web site (see http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/o/obama.htm) Obama is quoted as saying “The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell,” he told Falsini. She said Obama did not believe that he or anyone else was going to hell and that he wasn’t sure he was going to heaven either. “What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, aligning myself to my faith and values is a good thing.”
Obama is right in that as Christians we are called to evangalise. However, the Bible is clear that those who haven’t trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal saviour for their sin shall face judgement from God (see John 3:36). It would be good to ask God to give Obama and other world leaders wisdom in the policies they make, but it would also be good to pray that they would come to know Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, and to know the sure hope the Bible gives us for life beyond the grave.