What’s in a name? In a politically-charged election year, nearly everything. The yard signs are everywhere. Trump. Hillary. A thousand other state and local candidates. Every election we’re reminded of the importance of names. We buy t-shirts and hats, bumper stickers and lapel pins. We share photos and videos, articles and status updates. All to show our allegiance to a name.
The truth is, we look to these names because we’re looking for help. And help they may. But there’s a subtle danger here. The danger is not that we see a nation in trouble or that we desire someone to stop the bleeding. The danger is in looking to a name that’s not big enough to do the job.
King David was a politician of sorts. Were he a leader today he’d likely have a yard sign too. His story was one of the most unlikely rags-to-riches stories of all time. From shepherd boy to giant-slayer. The people of Israel saw David’s success and began to do what we still do today: they looked for help in the wrong name. “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands,” they cried. If that was an election year, it would’ve made a perfect campaign slogan.
But it wasn’t. In the nation of Israel, God was the One who appointed kings (much like He does today, although now He works more behind the scenes). Even though David was promised the kingdom, he didn’t run a campaign against Saul his counterpart. He didn’t purchase yard signs. On the contrary, he wouldn’t raise a finger against him. Even when he was viciously attacked, David refused to counter. Why? Because he wasn’t looking for help in the wrong name. As he said so beautifully in Psalm 124:8, “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Christian, where are you looking for help? There’s many places you could turn. Just consult your nearest yard sign. But there’s a better place to look than all the political lightweights flooding your news feed. They can boast of their talents and accomplishments till they’re blue in the face, but they didn’t create heaven and earth. That’s a claim that belongs exclusively to our God.
As we continue our rapid descent toward November 8, my prayer for you and me is that we’d look beyond the yard signs to the One who created the ground that keeps them from falling. It’s only in His name that we can find the help we need.
My prayer for you and me is that we’d look beyond the yard signs to the One who created the ground that keeps them from falling.
Maybe you’re skeptical. After all, God isn’t going to send down Supreme Court justices from heaven or anything like that. Sure, we can trust God and all but we can’t trust Him for stuff like this. Can we?
God knew we’d think that. After all, He knows everything. And so He left us a promise, splattered with blood. Two thousand years ago, on a skull-shaped hill He showed us how far He was willing to go to be our Help. He took the very Name that’s meant to give us help and drug it through the mud. Like a politician burning his own yard signs, God sent His own Son to a splintered beam to be scandalized and tortured as a hardened criminal. Why? Because He is our Help. Because our sin demanded death and our God was willing to tarnish His own name to die in our place.
But that’s not the end of the story, Christian. Three days later, God vindicated His Son as a rotting corpse in a dark tomb opened its eyes. The man who once a staggered under the weight of a cross was now neatly folding His burial clothes.
So Christian, don’t look for help in anyone smaller than Jesus. And when you’re tempted to wonder if He really can help you or your nation, remember the glorious promise in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” Now that’s a yard sign I can believe in.
© M. Hopson Boutot, 2016