It’s Election Day and we all have our hopes set on one candidate or another. Our church is used as a polling place in our city and the folks working there report a lot of people are showing up to vote this year. That’s a good thing, for sure.
A week ago Sunday I preached on 1 Kings 4, which describes Israel under Solomon’s reign. It was a golden age; an ideal kingdom. It reminded me of family vacations as a kid. Every year we went to the same place up in the gold country of the Sierra Nevada. We’d stay in a small resort built on the North fork of the Yuba River, called Shangri-la. It was a kid’s paradise. We caught Brook trout with salmon eggs, we rode the rapids into town on old inner tubes, we hung a swing on a tall tree that allowed us to fly out over the river and jump into deep, cold waters. There was even a General Store in town where we bought real rock candy out of a jar.
We all long for a place like that. Perhaps that’s because God has promised us such a place; a perfect kingdom. Jesus once said to his followers, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32). The Apostle John had a vision of this kingdom: “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4).
Solomon’s kingdom is a foreshadowing of the Kingdom Jesus came to establish. It’s also a reminder of the fact that we’ll never achieve such a place this side of our Lord’s return. Even Solomon’s seemingly perfect kingdom didn’t last for long. At the end of his life, Solomon strayed from the Lord and Israel was eventually divided and conquered (1 Kings 11:6, 14). It’s a reminder that, regardless of the many blessings we enjoy, we live in a fallen world. Every earthly kingdom and king will eventually fall and fail to meet the longings of our heart.
I believe there is a warning in this for all of us; a warning we especially should be aware of on the eve of knowing the outcome of this election. Solomon’s kingdom seemed so perfect. Do you think he would have been reelected? Of course! But eventually the people who voted for him would be disappointed. We tend to look for earthly leaders like Solomon to create earthly kingdoms and for a while it may all seem to work, but eventually they all fail. They fail because we live in a fallen world with fallen people and fallen leaders.
We all care about our country. There are important issues at stake: the right to life, health care, national defense, our role in the world, religious freedom, education. I hope we all do our best to study these issues and vote. But the warning is not to put your hope in any earthly kingdom or any earthly candidate because eventually they’ll all let us down. Even a king as great as Solomon teaches us that.