the dictatorship of iran : psalm 115

by Bethany

today’s reading: deuteronomy 24, psalm 114 & 115

On Saturday, the Interior Ministry of Iran announced that incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won the country’s presidential election with 63.29% of the vote. The opposition leader said, however, that the results were rigged and that he won.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the result was a “divine assessment.” Although Washington has been cautious in commenting on the election, VP Biden went on Meet the Press and said, “There’s an awful lot of questions about how this election was run.”

For the past week, the streets of Tehran have been packed with protesters. Internationally, people are expressing their opinions in strange ways.

At the end of the day, however, it does not matter how many protesters or international commentators denounce the election. Iran is not a democracy. It is a religious dictatorship, and it has been since the 1979 revolution. Since then, only two men have led the country: Ayatollah Rujollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei. When Khomeini set up his government, he announced, “Do not use this term, ‘democratic.’ That is the Western style!”

Today, in Psalm 115, we read:

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” … their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They … cannot speak … see … hear … smell … feel … walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

How is an authoritarian dictatorship like an idol? Neither see nor hear their people.

But, you may say, isn’t God a dictator? After all, Psalm 115 says, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory … Our God in heaven does whatever pleases him … You who fear him, trust in the LORD.” How is that not the attitude of an authoritarian dictator?

But, unlike earthly rulers, God created and loves his people. In fact, the Psalmist clarifies, “ … to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness … You who fear him, trust in the LORD – he is their help and shield. The LORD remembers us and will bless us.” The reason that the Psalmist praises the Lord is that he is the only thing that is worthy of praise because he is a truly benevolent ruler.

Let us pray for Iran – that they may have a leader who knows the Lord and models his government accordingly. Let us be thankful that we live in a democracy – in which we can worship our Lord. And, let us always remember, that our hope is not in a ruler nor in a group of protesters – but rather our hope is in God.

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