the Church on the Hill
by D. Eric Williams
Pastor, Cottonwood Community Church
And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace (Jeremiah 29:7).
The Hebrew term sha?lo?m translated here as peace has a broad meaning including the sentiment of "welfare, safety, health, quiet and tranquility." Thus Jeremiah instructed the exiles to seek the order and stability of Babylon because in its peaceful condition they would have peace - and a healthy environment for doing the work of dominion.
Civic authorities of every type prefer quiet hard working citizens who are productive, willing to pay their taxes and disinclined toward political turmoil. They normally ignore the common man as long as he doesn't plot to seize the mantle of authority by force. The irony is, a nation populated by dominion Believers will have citizens willing to support the peace of the regime precisely because doing so assures them of it's eventual downfall. Not a downfall produced by violent revolution but by the quiet victory of thousands bringing their sphere of influence under the authority of Almighty God. It is in the environment of peace and stability that the work of dominion flourishes.
The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church in Rome during the reign of Nero Caesar telling them, be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God (Romans 13:1-2). Do not forget; these words were written while Paul was under the authority of an empire much like Babylon. Rome was an empire known for its penchant to build and it's expertise in destruction. They built roads throughout the empire – roads that enabled the destructive march of the legions. They built spectacular coliseums that received thousands eager to see the spectacle of death. They brought a system of law and order to a far-flung empire and enforced that law with the brutality of crucifixion. Nonetheless, Paul said the existing authority of Nero and his empire had been established by God. Just so, Jeremiah said God had chosen Nebuchadnezzar to subjugate the children of Israel and to chasten them as part of their covenant relationship with Yahweh (Jeremiah 25:9, 27:6, 43:10). Hence, to pray for and to seek the peace of Rome or Babylon is to acknowledge the rightful authority of the civil government and to endeavor to maintain its stability regardless of its moral character. Whatever form of government the people of God find themselves subject to is the system given them to maintain order while they take dominion.
Twenty-first century Believers must pray for and seek the stability of this nation. Not because we want to maintain our personal peace and comfort until the rapture but because we need "elbow room" to build a new creation civilization. It takes time to knead the yeast into the dough. It takes time for bread to rise. It takes time to bake bread - and a disruption of the activity may retard or kill the action of the yeast or result in an undercooked loaf. This is why Christians need a biblical political strategy.
Certainly we should support true Christian candidates for public office, but the real work of dominion takes place in the cultivation of the new creation in our personal and familial sphere of influence. A sound biblical political strategy aims to maintain stability while the work of the kingdom is in progress. Remember, dominion is not about force but cross bearing. If we walk even as Jesus walked the new creation civilization will be realized right beneath the noses of our oppressors. Undoubtedly they will notice and even enjoy the aroma of baking bread; they may even encourage baking as a national pastime. But because we seek the stability of the nation just as they do, they will not realize the magnitude of the bread baking enterprise until the entire country is buried in loaves.