January 19, 2008
Everyone looks for Solomon, but we need DavidBy Tom Panion
In this election year, people are swayed by emotion. They know what they want. They will tell anyone willing to listen what they want.
But what do we need?
I'm like everyone else. I want things and I want situations to be such that I can have them. And I mean everything that I want. Not just material things, though we all want those too. World peace, prosperity and an era of good feeling... Who wouldn't take those?
I want people to like our country and our people. I want more free trade with everyone. I want to see nations grow and come to emulate us. Who would dispute that?
Then there is the reality of the world.
While most nations in this world know that they need us around to proper themselves, there are those who want (and vow) to destroy the Great Satan and all her people. Sympathizers will go down to the flames of perdition just as fast as the opposition to the terrorist organization.
We live in a world of nations who have many things and those who do not. While most nations are pleased with their growing prosperity and look to increase it by dealing with other nations, there are those that decry their poverty and demand that the prosperous ones be taken down by whatever means necessary.
They hate America and they damn Americans to hell. As an American you are the problem. Your prosperity is their poverty. Since you have, they have not. And you have because you made a deal with the devil. Therefore, your destruction is not only justified, but it is also imperative.
As we decide on our next President, most of the talk is about future prosperity. Who is going to make my life better, we ask. Who will make it easier to get up in the morning and send me on my way to my job? Who is going to give me a better job? Who will finally tax the rich to my level? Who makes me feel good when they talk? Who makes me proud to be an American that everyone in the world will love?
The election coverage I see in the mainstream media seems to be covering the search for the next Solomon. Solomon was wise. He was a charmer. He grew his nation's wealth by expanding his borders and trading with other nations...and raising taxes. Why, he practically snapped his fingers and tributes, both monetary and otherwise, poured in to the coffers.
Neighboring nations and those to the south and west and east of his kingdom were literally in awe of this man. At the time of his reign, his was the most prosperous nation on earth.
And he didn't have to lift a sword to accomplish any of this!
His weapon of choice was the motivational speech and the king's decree. Yeah, Solomon could really knock ‘em dead.
But how did he get there? Why was everyone so anxious to deal with the man from Jerusalem? How could one man wield such power without sending out an army like Alexander and other conquerors?
Solomon had a mighty predecessor in his father, David.
David was the warrior. He was the one who secured the borders. David was the ‘man after God's own heart'. He never forgot where his strength came from and where his enemies were...and they were all around him.
Both Solomon and David had faults. David acknowledged his sins publicly and got right with God. Then he governed with quiet strength and humility. He also used his army to thwart attackers and kept them ready.
Solomon did not see his sin until it was too late. He was too proud to admit any faults until his kingdom began to rot from within. Civil war soon followed after his death.
The parallels to our world view today are tremendous. General Patton stated in his diary that:
Are we at war? You bet we are. War was declared years before 9/11. But we waited until the very seas Patton wrote about were breached by the enemy he foreknew. The world is and will always be a precarious place to do business. We have to choose our friends as well as our enemies.
We must choose our friends before they choose us. We can't make friends by capitulating and asking for absolution for defending ourselves. Nations and governments who allow us to secure our borders and destroy our attackers and their allies without major interference are friends we choose to have. Those who befriend us because we ‘tone down the rhetoric' and attempt to agree with them are the ones who choose us.
I'd rather have the types of friends that David chose rather than the ones that chose Solomon. David prospered and had peace because he conquered his attackers and lived peacefully in his own borders. He left Solomon a strong nation that had the respect of enemies and friends alike. In the end, he bothered no one because no one bothered him.
Under David everyone had the right to land and the means to make a living from it. That law existed long before David. No one was promised an easier life because he was the king. But they were assured of safety from their enemies because of his leadership.
Solomon leveraged his father's legacy of strength for over 40 years. But he was not a man with any eye toward watching his enemies. He built up the palaces and the temple. He built great roads and cities. He was popular and he was rich. But he neglected to keep a strong army, and he raised taxes to the point where the people rebelled against his own son when he took over the kingdom. You can look that up.
The man who was the envy of all the kings around him and the friend of many of them had built a house of cards. The end of his life was marked by his writings chronicling his own futility. His kingdom was split within a few years of his death. His nation's enemies arose and attacked. Israel's friends were few.
As we hear the pundits and the politicians trying to ‘out-genius' each other this year, try to remember that this election season is not about what we want, but what we need. We need a strong military. We need a strong economy. We need a leader, not a wise man. We need someone who is less concerned with government and government programs than he (or she) is about performing the most important duty of the office of The President of The United States - protecting the American people.
No great nation can survive without a strong economy, whether it is in time of war or peace. But the economy is not the government. Government is not the end of, nor is it the means to the economy. A strong nation with the means to defend itself depends on the freedom of the people to run their own lives.
People will listen to a wise man when everything seems to be coming up roses. But they'll follow a leader when things are tough. These are indeed tough times for America.
Give me my David.