A Change of Guard or Change of Heart?

By the time this issue of Israel My Glory arrives in mailboxes, America’s democracy may be days away from the 2016 presidential election. Or the election finally will be over, and the local voting booth will have become every eligible American citizen’s soapbox to project his or her voice around the world.

Americans are ready for a change, yet many lack confidence in the options available. Polling data shows that 65 percent of the nation is dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Many people are discouraged with the way the economy is being managed, the apparent lack of leadership in thwarting international threats like ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups, and the problems surrounding immigration. They shudder at the divisiveness that separates Americans based on political leanings, class, color, and faith.

Americans are ready for a change of guard because many believe that with change comes hope. They’re looking for a fresh outlook and a powerful response to whatever issues they believe are taking this country down the wrong path.

The United States of America will inaugurate a new president to lead it on January 20, 2017. But changing the chief executive may not fix our uneven economic system. A new face in the White House may not quell the global threat of ISIS or even patch the great divide among us. If people place their collective faith in this person to fix America, we will never have true course correction in this great country. We’ll merely have another person to blame.

What America really needs is a change of heart—a heart that turns to the things of God and chooses to follow His will. A true spiritual revival could correct much of what is wrong with the nation today. The Lord expounds in His Scriptures on the wisdom needed to handle many of our domestic and international problems, if we would just turn our hearts toward Him.

Like us, the ancient Israelites believed their country was headed in the wrong direction. In 1 Samuel 8, they looked for one person to manage their problems. And no one seemed confident about the options that were available. So the elders of Israel said to the prophet Samuel, “Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (v. 5). The Israelites wanted a sovereign who looked, sounded, and acted like every other king in the world.

The Lord told Samuel to give the people what they wanted. “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (v. 7). The Lord’s response to Samuel seems more pertinent than ever today. So many people have rejected the Lord, that He should not reign over them.

Both the Lord and Samuel knew a king would not fix Israel’s problems. The Israelites needed a change of heart to be able to see the freedom they could have if only they turned to God and let Him reign.

The change America needs today will not trickle down from Washington, DC. Policies can be altered and laws can be added and redacted. But the long-lasting type of change—the change for which we all hope—starts in the hearts of individuals. May we pray not only for the new leadership of America but for a global revival that turns hearts to the one true God who knows what is best for this world and whose mercies are new every morning.

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