Vitriol and mud-slinging are not new to politics, but the last two presidential elections have been the worst in my memory. Emotions and tension are high on both sides.
But no matter what the outcome is on Tuesday, several things will still be true.
God reigns. “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). Our church has read through large chunks of the Old Testament over the last year. No matter who was in charge of what earthly kingdom, God was always at work, sometimes overtly, sometimes “behind the scenes.” “The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all” (Psalm 103:19).
This doesn’t mean we don’t vote. God often uses means and circumstances, and voting is the means by which rulers are elected here
Authorities come from God, even when they are not godly, even when we don’t agree with everything they do.
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1b-2)
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. (Daniel 2:21)
The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men. (Daniel 4:17b)
We’re responsible to pray. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We’re to respect our leaders. Peter instructed, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” 1 Peter 2:17). He wrote that, inspired by the Holy Spirit, when one of the worst rulers ever was on the throne: Nero. That doesn’t mean he obeyed authorities who told him not to do what God told him to do. That doesn’t mean we never speak up when a ruler is in the wrong: John the Baptist did, as did Daniel and many of the OT prophets (though they also faced consequences for speaking out and disobeying). Paul said the same thing: “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7), echoing what Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17).
We’re to be subject to authorities. “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:13-15). The only exception is when the government tells us to do something wrong. The Hebrew midwives didn’t kill Jewish babies as instructed. The disciples still preached in the name of Jesus when told not to. People hid and helped Jews during WWII. People still printed Bibles behind the Iron Curtain.
Our responsibilities are not over. Very early in my first voting forays, some people seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and then sit back when their candidate was elected, as if to say, “Whew! That’s done. We’re okay for four more years.” But, we still need to be aware and use the voice we have, because . . .
No ruler is perfect. Some are better than others, but we can’t put our total hope in any of them. They may not see all sides of an issue or may be getting bad advice, so it’s important to be aware of issues and communicate our concerns and preferences.
We still have a voice. In this country, we have the right and responsibility to let our voice be heard, to vote, to write our representatives. No ruler has carte blanche.
Government can’t meet all our needs. It was never meant to. It has taken on responsibilities the church and others are supposed to bear. And while we need it to do what it’s designed for, ultimately our hope is in God. “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever” (Psalm 146:3-6).
God’s promises are still true. He has promised to supply our needs, answer prayer, never leave us or forsake us. God’s power and wisdom and love are not limited by earthly rulers.
I have preferences, hopes, and fears for this election. I know God doesn’t always answer prayer the way we think is best, but I am sure hoping He does this time. I’m praying, and I’ve voted. My responsibilities are the same: pray, trust, do His will moment by moment, love my neighbor, let my light shine. But ultimately, He is on the throne working out His perfect will. My hope is in Him.
This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!
Maltbie D. Babcock, This Is My Father’s World
(Sharing with Sunday Scripture, Selah, Scripture and a Snapshot, Inspire Me Monday,
Hearth and Soul, Senior Salon, Remember Me Monday, Tell His Story, Purposeful Faith, InstaEncouragement, Recharge Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Heart Encouragement), Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network)
Yes, I agree, Barbara. This probably has been the most contentious and divisive election in all of US history. So, your post and encouraging truths from Scripture come at just the right time. I’ve made it my daily habit to pray for the leaders of our nation and hope that I will live to see the positive impact of those prayers one day. I loved all of your points but especially appreciate your reminder that God is always in control! Pinned this, my friend!
Thank you! I need to pray for leaders more often than I do.
So true…our hope is in him especially in these current times. I too have never seen such negativity and meanness in these two elections. What examples are they giving to our youth, but I pray and know that He is in charge and knows how all this will play out. So confusing so I keep praying for discernment and vote is all I can do at the moment. Thanks for visiting Peabea Scribbles so I could come visit you. Have a great week.
You’re right, that’s all we can do–pray and vote as we feel He would want us to, and trust Him for the outcome.
Loved this awesome reminder that no one can thwart the sovereign will of God. Yes, we do need to respect authority and to treat others as we would like to be treated. The Golden Rule still applies. It’s sad to see what our world/country has stooped to. Just as God used good and bad kings in the OT, he will use good and bad rulers in this present day. He is not flummoxed or frustrated. Terrific reminder!
Thank you, Bev. It’s so easy to get frustrated or dismayed ourselves, but it’s an awesome reminder that God is not.
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Appreciate your effort, Barbara, but you forgot that we also are not subject to authorities that forbid us from doing God’s commands… like singing God’s praises, or participating in the Supper, or meeting for church at all. I can only imagine exceptions like this will increase drastically in the future, no matter who wins.
Well, I did mention under respect and being subject to leaders that we’re to obey God rather than man. I wanted to avoid specifics like dealing with the coronavirus—exactly how that plays out with each congregation and individual is between them and the Lord.
What a wonderful list, Barbara. Your post gives me hope that no matter what the outcome of the election is, for Christians our ruler will still be the same and our values will not change. God is still in control.
Sometimes we have to cling to that hope, when circumstances dismay or frustrate. I’m thankful the way God led our church Bible reading–I am sure the election wasn’t in mind when it was scheduled, but seeing God’s hand at work through good or bad leaders in the Bible really helped my perspective this year.
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Good thoughts, and calming in these stressful pre-election days! I have woke up early the past few days and have used that time, lying in bed, to pray — mostly for our nation and its elections. Our country has gone so far down a path of unrighteousness, I’m praying that God would have mercy on us.
Me, too, Susan. That’s ultimately what our country needs–mercy and revival.
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We will need to remind ourselves of these truths often this week (this month?). I posted yesterday on my Instagram story: “Let’s decide now that whoever wins, let’s remain friends” because I sure don’t want the results to cause even MORE tension between people than there already is. Lord, have mercy on us and give us mercy to share with each other!
I agree, Lisa. Last time, I thought surely the arguments and divisiveness would be over after the election. Wrong! I was hoping/praying for a decisive win this time so at least the results would be clear, but it looks like that’s not to be the case, at least for now. We so need to keep relationships in mind.
God reigns – and always is moving his plan forward! I know He loves His children and He has a plan for us, too! Your words are such a good reminder to lean into God no matter the outcome and trust Him. Thanks for this good Monday morning reminder before a Tuesday Election Day!
Thank you, Maryleigh. I need these reminders often.
So encouraging! Thank you! May God’s will be done.
Amen and Amen! What we all need to be reminded of right now.
This summary is spot on. I’m blogging right now about the election, and as Tim Challies said: Your blog sums it up!
Trying to figure out how to link my blog to yours…..
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Amen! Our God reigns!
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Thank you for words that guard our hearts and minds from catastrophizing–easy to do with all that’s going on, but God is changeless, and he rules on high!
Thank you for posting this important reminder.
Barbara, I so appreciate your perspective here. And I couldn’t agree more. God keeps reminding me that He’s in control. He places people in power, and He removes them. We may struggle with the uncertainty, but He is always certain and faithful. We can trust Him with our country and our cares, even if “the other guy” gets elected.
Great wisdom here!
Barbara, thank you for your thoughts and perspective. Both are comforting.
I am so glad that God and His word never change. We can count on it. Everything else may be falling apart- but we have a rock, a fortress, an advocate in Jesus!
So true! I appreciate you writing this word of encouragement!
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