I know, I know. Why do I keep coming back to politics in a series about war?
Fair enough question, actually! Because the arguments for not serving in the military and the arguments for not being involved in politics are almost the same! The most obvious difference is that military service can and sometimes does involve the taking of another human being’s life. However, just about any reason to not be involved in worldly politics can be applied to serving in the military as well.
So, why not politics? After all, one of the most righteous examples we have in the Bible was Daniel, and he was heavily involved in politics. Isn’t that an example that a Christian may involve themselves in politics?
Glad you asked!
1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
4Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
So, you see, Daniel and his three friends all set up a campaign and ran for office. They got a fundraiser going to afford their run for various offices, set up a PAC, bought TV ads and got lobbyists to gain favor with the king …
… Or, maybe not…
In fact, you often find that the leaders God sets up are the ones who least want the job. For me, Moses was the most memorable example.
13 But Moses said, "O Lord, please send someone else to do it."
~ Ex 4:13 (NIV)
Which basically comes to my point. Daniel and his three friends did not volunteer for the job. They were drafted. However, like people who are obedient to God, once it was clear what they were supposed to do, they did it will all their ability. That allowed them to excel.
Some people in some countries are drafted into some type of service work for their country, so this isn’t as moot of a point as some may think.
Of course, Daniel and his 3 friends had to still be obedient to God and be blessed by God in addition to any natural skill or ability. In fact, one of the earliest tests came when presented with unclean food to eat.
8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8, King James Version)
So, Daniel was obedient in that he studied and apply himself to his duties, but he did not cross that line over into disobedience to God. Later, in the NT, we see the same principle at work with the Apostles.
The government is set over us by God (Ro 13:1-7), and so we have an obligation to obey them. However, I’ve actually heard people stretch this to say that if the government tells us to disobey, then they take on the responsibility for that disobedience. However, the examples above refute that. These examples show us that we are to not obey when it means disobedience to God’s commands.
So, let’s have a little recap:
1. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were taken captive. As slaves, they were ordered to become part of the king’s cadre of counselors and advisors.
2. They did not volunteer for political office.
3. In spite of the forced nature of the work, they maintained good attitudes and worked diligently.
4. However, they did not cross the line into disobedience to God. They did not say, “Oh, well, what choice do we have? God has set them over us at any rate.”
This sets the stage for what to do if you are in a country that has forced military requirements to fulfill.