Scripture Guide, Part 3: The Policy Implications of Praying, “Thy Kingdom Come…”

The following passage is the prophet Isaiah’s description of what God’s kingdom will look like.  This statement of hope makes very clear what all those who pray “thy kingdom come” should demand of their elected officials.  The policy implications of this vision are obvious, and the contrast between the depiction of God’s Holy Mountain and the “kingdom” that our own institutions perpetuate is damning.

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth…Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years…they will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.  They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD…the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox…they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.” (Is. 65:17-25)

Let us consider that in the United States, 1 in 5 Americans with a full-time job is paid so little that–even with both parents working–their family still lives in poverty.

Thirty-five million Americans are so poor that at least once a month they cannot afford to buy food.  Of those 35 million people, over 13 million are children.  Put another way, just shy of 1 in 5 children in this country have parents who regularly have to face the soul-crushing reality that they will be sending their child to bed hungry because they cannot afford groceries.  Before Obamacare, over 9 million children in this country had no health insurance.

Some may say that Isaiah’s vision of the Kingdom of God is a pipedream completely out of our grasp this side of the grave.  But is a world where children and the elderly do not die before their time because they lack access to basic medicine and health care; a world where workers fully share in the fruits of their labor so that they can live with dignity and without worry that their families will go homeless and their children hungry; a world where a child’s future is not determined by what side of the tracks or equator he is born on; a world where peace and hope reign…is such a world truly beyond our grasp, an ideal that can be brought about only through miraculous, divine intervention?

Read Part 2:  The Responsibility of the Nation and Its Government to “the Least of These”

  • Pingback: A Guide to Scripture, Politics, & the Budget–Part 1

  • Ty

    Once again to try and prove a point a biblical text is taken completely out of context. While I agree that we have problems and issues in this country, to use a scripture in this manner is completly disingenuous. If we are to preach and teach with integrity then let us not misuse the narritives we have been given. The Kingdom of God is an important if not sacred theological concept lets not cheapen it with poor scholarship and exegesis.

    • Eric

      Can you be more precise on exactly what poor scholarship and exegesis you are referring to here? I open by saying it a description of God’s Kingdom, which in this case is clearly an earthly existence…a righting of the Fall in this world. And the ideals the prophet points to are not unimaginable ones. They are real world outcomes and stand a clear goals to shoot for. That is pretty simple and straight-forward exegesis of the text. The point of this vision is to create an ideal for the nation to aspire to. And in a country where we choose our leaders and want them to reflect our values, these seem like pretty solid goals to encourage our leaders to shoot for as well.

      • Ty

        I may have been a little over the top in my critic of your blog. I, personally find it hard to take a fourth century BCE text and apply 21st century CE culture, mores, and issues to it. That being said, I understand we who preach and teach need to somehow make the text applicable to our day and time. I agree the “ideals the prophet points to are not unimaginable ones” but we have not just returned from Exile. That is the context I am referring to. If you want to address economic oppression(fourth century BCE style) or an attempt to cope with life’s post-exilic problems or a resurgence of pagan rituals long indigenous in our country; which the prophet is speaking to, then I will listen and be more attentive to your argument. We have not experienced being carted off to a foreign land, we have not experienced the sorrow Israel has just experienced and we are not fourth century BCE Hebrews. If you are trying to say that when we consider the work of God in Christ, we see that this vision of Isaiah entails the actual project God has undertaken through the obedience of his Son then I am with you. But do you see our nation aspiring to that? Lets feed the hungry, give the thirsty something to drink, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, take care of the sick and visit those in prison then we will usher in the Kingdom of God.


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