Thoughts on President Obama's "Audacity of Hope"


I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for... kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying... 1 Tim 2:1-7

"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. Acts 5:28-30

Before I make any comments, let me begin with prayer:

Dear Savior (King of kings, Lord of lords, President of presidents),
As we usher in our new American president, we pray for Your protection over his life. Give the man wisdom from above, far beyond his own thoughts and the council of mortal men and women. Help our president to catch a glimpse of things from Your perspective. Save his soul from the curse of trusting in man and give him an ability to live above mere people-pleasing. I am asking in Your mercy and IN the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

I am asking for what seems to be impossible given the words that our new president has spoken up to now. He has been elected by a clear majority of Americans who are hoping for a fresh start. Obama has in fact written a book called "The Audacity of Hope." Hope is a word that is used often in the Bible and there is a natural desire to believe that when a person, especially the likable Obama, uses the word (hope) that he is referring to the same hope that the Bible is talking about.

However, hope is a meaningless word unless it is clearly tied to something or someone in particular. In his first letter, Peter wrote, "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." This implies that it is common (even for Believers) to have hopes set on something besides the grace (undeserved favor) that comes from God through Christ alone. In another place (Acts 4) Peter said, "There is none other name, given among men, whereby we must be saved." The prophet Jeremiah was so bold as to say "Cursed is the man that trusts in man..."

and

"Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The LORD says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.' Jeremiah 23:16-17

With all the talk about hope and change that has come from our new President, I have seen a consistent unwillingness to focus that hope for change on the only place where it can bear any legitimate and lasting fruit, and that is squarely on God as revealed in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That said, I find little reason to expect anything less than an increasing "tightening of the screws" that we have seen in recent years as our nation yields to hoping in an increasing diversity of worthless gods.

As this hope in worthless gods increases, I expect the tolerance for those who hope in the One and Only Living God to decrease. Nothing makes the little "gods" angry like exalting the name of Jesus. Therefore, in the hope of preserving peace, governments will increasingly be tempted to restrict speech that could incite the anger of those who serve these false idols. The problem with this approach is that it underestimates the love of the real God. The perfect love of God is not subject to the fear of a penalty and is more concerned with the well being of those who oppose themselves as they perish clinging to their worthless things and false gods.

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right... Romans 13:1-3

We should be very careful to show respect to those whom God has set in authority over this nation. But if we are witnesses of His resurrection, then we must obey God and not man, and testify to what we have seen and heard. If we want to be like the first century Christians, we will pray for boldness to testify of the living hope that is in Christ and Christ alone.

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