Of Elections in Israel and in America

This past Monday, the people in Israel conducted their third national election within the past eleven months.  For the past year Israel has had only a care-taker government as no one person has been able to form a unity coalition government.  The pending results of Monday's election appear to be better, but still not conclusive.  With final results to be announced next Monday, the unofficial results have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party winning 36 seats within the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), while his main challenger, Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party, winning 32 seats.  When you focus upon those parties that align themselves with the right-center positions of the Likud Party, then the Prime Minister controls either 59 or 60 seats within the 120-seat Knesset.  That means that he needs either one or two others to join his coalition and then he can form a government.  (Yes, I know that Israeli politics is very complicated).


What happens if the Prime Minister cannot find that one or two others to join his coalition?  Then one of two things will happen.  First, pressure will be upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a unity coalition with Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party with each man serving as prime minister for two years, and then as foreign minister.  In the past, both men have refused this option.  The second thing that could happen, and what the Israeli people certainly do not want, is to hold a fourth national election.  What complicates this entire process is that on March 17, Prime Minister Netanyahu goes on trial for charges of corruption.  There is no provision in Israeli law as to if or how a sitting prime minister can serve while being the defendant in a trial.  The Israeli Supreme Court has not ruled on that matter yet. 


Israel is in need of a fully functional government.  Tensions are still high along the border with the Gaza Strip.  Tensions continue to increase along Israel's northern border with Lebanon and Hezbollah.  Reports keep surfacing that Iran may be close to having enough nuclear material to produce a bomb, which is very troubling.  And now there is the coronavirus.  These next fourteen days will be critical to Israel's future.  I am grateful that God is still in control and still has a plan and purpose for His people, Israel, but I will keep my eyes focused on Jerusalem. 


Meanwhile, yesterday was "Super Tuesday" with fourteen states and the territory of American Samoa holding primary elections.  As I watched the returns last night and listened to the exit-polling data, I discerned three things.  First, happily money cannot buy votes.  Michael Bloomberg's attempt to use his wealth to influence the voters did not work well.  This should give all Americans pause to celebrate.  Americans still want to know those individuals for whom they are voting.  And that knowledge does not come primarily through television or internet ads, but through conversations in coffee shops, at rallies, and through personal contacts.  At its heart, the American political experience still remains primarily a grass-roots experience. 


Second, there is a fear of radical change, especially among those older voters.  Again I find this to be somewhat reassuring.  Third, and most troubling, is the strong support, especially among America's younger generations, for a socialist position.  America's strength historically has been derived from two foundations.  The first foundation being that of a Judeo-Christian worldview and morality.  Just this morning a group of men from our church met and listened to the lesson from The Truth Project (which, by the way, I highly endorse and strongly recommend for small groups) that focused upon the foundations of our nation.  The truths from the Scriptures certainly formed the foundation for those principles that governed our nation for years.  The second foundation was that of free-enterprise.  America was the land where dreams could become realities.  America was that place where, if you worked hard, you could succeed.  As one looks at history, socialism crushes dreams.  Socialism often destroys initiative.  Cuba is a failed socialist state.  Venezuela is a failed socialist state.  The Soviet Union was a failed socialist state. 


These next months are going to be very interesting as Americans decide what they would like their future to be.  It is time for each one of us to become engaged in the process. 


We continue to see the "signs" around us pointing to the return of Jesus.  The coronavirus is a reminder to us that God has said He would use disease as a tool to bring judgment upon the world after Jesus returns for His Church.  The plague of locusts in Africa remind us that pestilence is another tool God will use.  Tornadoes in Middle Tennessee remind us that our lives can be changed in a moment.  I read an article yesterday that said because of the lack of rain in California this winter, the risk of devastating wildfires this summer has been magnified.  This past weekend our government signed an accord with the Taliban in Afghanistan that, in essence, was to create peace within that country.  But the ink on the document was hardly dry before the Taliban attacked Afghani forces and American warplanes were bombing Taliban strongholds.  Friends, as I read about this I was reminded how easy it is to talk about peace, but how truly difficult it is to experience peace, especially with a people whose entire background is one of war and rebellion.  Again, Jesus said that before He returns there will be wars and rumors of war.  And, from our understanding of the four horsemen in Revelation 6, the false peace of the rider on the white horse will be shattered by the warfare of the rider on the red horse. 


I trust you are keeping your eyes on the finish line for I believe it is in sight.  And I also trust that you are keeping your eyes on the "signs" around you as they continue to point us to the return of the King.  Friends, this might be the week that the trumpet sounds.

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