Why rebellions don’t work (especially when they succeed)

Solomon tells us to stay away from political revolutionaries. I think Solomon is inspired by God so I can’t accuse him of self-serving advice. And besides, his father, despite his career as an outlaw of sorts, set a consistent example.

So why stay away from revolutionaries?

Lets say that a country is run by a regime that is evil and oppressive. God sees it and decides it would be good to change it. So he searches about the land for some other culture or faction that would make wise, just, and good rulers over the country. After all, if the next regime will be as bad or worse, then unless God really wants to punish the population for some crime, he will keep things as they are rather than make them suffer all that turmoil and harm for nothing.

So will God choose people who want power?

Will he choose people who think that the world needs them to be in control because they alone are right?

Will he choose people who can’t tolerate opposition?

Will he choose people who respond to adversaries by lashing out?

Will he choose people who long to destroy all their enemies?

Look at it this way: Either the world is changed by God in his providence or he has left us alone to save ourselves. If the latter is true, then the qualities of a good ruler will be whatever are best suited to take power by any means necessary. Otherwise, he cannot ever gain power. But if God gives authority to those he wants to have it, then other considerations should be important. If one wants to be put in power one must develop the will and skill to use power in a way that God commends. In that case, gaining more power is not your primary responsibility. Your responsibility is learning to do well with what little power you already have.

Will God prefer people who are cheerful in adversity, humble about themselves, and able to extend mercy, be tolerant, and show prudence?

If God prefers these latter qualities, are they ones he is likely to find in rebel movements, even those that have a just cause?

If you want a new and better government you need to be one first. Rebellion (or talking up rebellion) is not a path to that end.

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  1. Pingback: Mark Horne » Blog Archive » Nero never lasts

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