If I had lived in the first century, I would have bought tickets to the chariot races.
I love the football playoffs, basketball games, and, if I could ever learn to follow the puck, I would probably like ice hockey. I enjoy a fast-moving contest.
A lot of Christians felt like we had chosen the right horse and chariot last year.
What do we do when our pick has tipped over and the race is lost?
Everyone in our country has lessons to be learned.
What are ours?
WINNING AND LOSING
We have been invited to a lot of Dallas Cowboys games over the years and always enjoy the opportunity to be in the crowd. Jerry World is a good time, especially if the Cowboys win. (Let’s just say it wasn’t a great time last year for more reasons than COVID.)
Winning is what Cowboys fans were historically used to. We cheered the character of the team as well as the talent. Lately, we’ve grown accustomed to losing. We don’t like it, but it is probably a good thing. The Cowboys will remain a mediocre team until things change at an organizational level.
That is a decent parable for our culture as well.
This past year, we were shut in our homes with too much television and not enough Christian community.
The worst moment I experienced last week occurred as I watched a man charge the United States Capitol carrying a flag with the name of Jesus. In my opinion, he was literally taking the name of the Lord in vain. He was slandering the name and cause of Christ.
The Christian cause isn’t about winning or losing politically. It is about winning or losing people eternally.
If people can’t appreciate our abilities and character, Christians have become a mediocre team.
WHICH RACE DESERVES OUR EFFORTS?
I love watching the Kentucky Derby. Most of the people who attend the race don’t live in Kentucky and therefore spend a lot of time, money, and effort to attend the race. The time slot for the telecast is hours long. We observe ladies’ hats as well as the beautiful horses. We learn about the jockeys and the owners, and finally the crowd sings the famous Kentucky song.
But, if a viewer mistimes a trip to the bathroom, he or she can miss the whole thing. The actual race only takes about two minutes.
It is staggering to consider the enormous quantities of time, money, and effort spent on last year’s politics. I don’t believe Christians, regardless of which side you voted for, should think they got their money’s worth.
Could it be we spent more effort than we should have for a two-minute race?
People are already discussing the next election season. Many are going to great efforts for a race that may never be run. The Kentucky Derby requires years of work just to have a horse that might enter and win. Which races in life deserve our greatest efforts?
WHOM DID GOD WANT TO WIN?
Whom did God want to win?
That’s an easy answer. Himself.
It’s safe to say that God wants his plans to succeed, not ours. It is a biblical promise that God’s plans will always succeed. After all, he is a sovereign God and we are the pasture of horses. (And horses is a compliment. I could have said sheep.)
God wants us to view things from his perspective, not the culture’s.
Throughout biblical history, we see God using some leaders and judging others.
A lot of Christians are wondering which leaders we can trust.
WHOM AND HOW SHOULD WE TRUST?
Our country has never elected a perfect president, and we never will. They are just human beings with fallen natures. Some seem more capable, more powerful, or more astute, but, in the end, no one has ever had a perfect presidency.
It is time for the people of God to join together to pray for all of our leaders, especially when they are horsey.
One of the most powerful people in the early church began his career as a violent terrorist. (I’m speaking of the apostle Paul.)
It would be a privilege to vote for a person who enters politics after having a genuine Damascus Road experience. It would be easy to trust the person who understands biblical leadership. A strong leader doesn’t try to reign; he yields to the reins.
Psalm 20 is a psalm of King David, written as encouragement and instruction. The people used this psalm to worship and pray for the king before a battle. The words teach us how to pray for the people who lead our country.
King David was known for his great ability in war. His strategy with Goliath was just one of his successful battles. You might say King David was a horse everyone would choose to bet on.
But the psalm is a good reminder of what God wants us to understand about any earthly king. The One holding the reins wins the race, not the horse. Bet on the jockey, not the horse.
Psalm 20 reminds the people:
- God is our protection and help (vv. 1–2).
- Our highest effort should be obedience to God (v. 3).
- May our greatest desire be the fulfillment of God’s plan (vv. 4–5).
- The Lord blesses and saves his anointed (v. 6).
The psalm continues with a reminder to the people: they have the responsibility and the priority of trusting and yielding to God.
Psalm 20:7–9 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.”
WE ARE RUNNING AN IMPORTANT RACE
Have we expected laws to do what God has entrusted his people to accomplish?
Have we asked politicians and legislation to do our job?
Have we trusted chariots and horses instead of the one at the reins?
God didn’t just teach us to vote our values. He gave everyone who received his Holy Spirit the job of living those values as our witness.
Our culture won’t change simply because we can elect godly people or enact laws consistent with God’s word. The entire Bible serves as our illustration. God’s perfect rules and laws only worked when people chose to obey them. Human beings are horses and often buck the system.
Will we live like we trust in the name of the Lord our God?
This life is a two-minute race.
We will vote for horses, but we trust the One who holds their reins.
How do we win?
Trust the jockey, not the horse.