God Doesn’t Vote

Tomorrow is election day in America. People have been “early” voting for weeks; many will be voting tomorrow, myself included. And then we will watch and wait.

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Pundits and professional pollsters have been trying to predict the outcome for months. They will go at it for the next several days (if not longer), trying to analyze, synthesize, and dissect the voting patterns in various regions to explain why this candidate won, that one lost, or why this race is “too close to call.”

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Meanwhile, many Christians will be doing the same thing in their living rooms, Bible study groups, and neighborhoods. Is America under God’s blessing or His curse? Is this election God’s judgment, or a second chance?

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But God doesn’t “vote.” God is sovereign; He can direct the outcome of elections. He can raise up rulers and bring them down again. He can raise up a nation from nothing or tear down empires. But God doesn’t act on our whims or even on our fervent beliefs about politics, economics, social action, or social issues. He acts on HIS plans and in His wisdom. He asks us not to vote for Him, but to trust and obey Him!

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I will vote for candidates and issues based on prayer, research, and hopefully, with God’s wisdom. But my vote is not the same as my everyday witness of how God is working in His world. I can vote for the “right” candidates or principles and still disobey God’s commandment to “love my neighbor as myself.” I can vote for the “wrong” candidate, because I am focused on what she says, and not how she treats the people around her, or how she honors God by her actions. I can not vote at all, and still work to spread the good news of the Gospel.

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God wants His people to live “in the world.” He wants us to be good citizens, interacting with those around us, even getting involved in causes, movements and social issues. But He also wants us to seek His Kingdom first and foremost (Matthew 6:33). Whether we live in a nation that has free elections; whether we vote red or blue (or purple or green); whether we take an active role in politics or sit on the sidelines– we should act in a manner that honors Him above our own ambitions or preferences. And if our candidate(s) should lose; if our nation adopts policies that continue to devalue life, denigrate families, and dishonor God– that does not give us the right to seek violence, retribution, endless recounts, or haughty isolation. We must continue to DO the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons. We must continue to pray for our enemies, and bless those who curse us. We must continue to tell the truth– IN LOVE–and be ready to joyfully explain the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).

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God doesn’t vote. He does love ALL those who do!

The Politics of Prayer

I have been bombarded lately with political ads–and that takes some doing, since I don’t have television and don’t listen to the radio– still two major sources of “coverage” used by most candidates.  And many of the political ads are deceptive, in that they don’t seem to be “for” or “against” a particular candidate– rather they are trying to encourage me to see a particular issue (healthcare, abortion, gun control, education, taxes, etc.) in a particular way, or vote based on a single polarizing issue.  I get very frustrated with the intense saturation and obvious propaganda, but overall, I am thankful that we have the freedom to state our political preferences and encourage everyone to vote– hopefully based on thoughtfully looking at the issues, policies, and consequences of the actions proposed by the candidates.

One thing that frustrates me is the conflation of politics with religion and Christianity in particular.  God is apolitical…He is not a Republican or Democrat, a Socialist, Fascist, Capitalist, or even monarchist.  He is not American, Canadian, British, Honduran, Somalian, Laotian, Korean, German, Bolivian, Syrian, New Zealander, Nigerian, Greek, or Pole.  His Kingdom is a Theocracy– He is the sovereign and absolute ruler.  He does not consult with a Senate, or Assembly, or Cabinet, or Ministry.  He cannot be “voted” in or out, succeeded, or supplanted.  He allows for and even institutes worldly governments– He raised up priests and prophets in Israel and founded their Monarchy–but He also tears down corrupt governments and destroys empires.

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So when we pray for government officials, we are not doing so based on their merits in God’s eyes.  When we pray for upcoming elections, we do not pray for the “best” result, based on our personal political preferences..or we shouldn’t.  We should be praying that God will be honored by our vote; that our nation (and its leaders) will recognize God’s sovereignty and act in obedience to His will; and that we will be prepared for God’s blessings or corrective punishments as He sees fit to bring them..that we will learn from those in authority, pray for them with sincerity and good will, and use our vote as stewards of Grace, and not as power-hungry, politically rabid puppets trying to create a substitute Kingdom of God within our own state or nation.

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Consider King David– God had anointed him King of Israel to succeed King Saul, who had fallen out of favor with God.  David was hunted down as a traitor by Saul, his own father-in-law, and forced into exile.  Yet he continued to faithfully pray for and speak kindly of Saul.  When given the opportunity to kill his tormentor and take the crown, he refused– even though God had promised him the kingdom BECAUSE Saul had become corrupt. (see 1 Samuel, chapters 16, 19, 23 and 24)  David still prepared to become King–he learned many lessons during his exile that made him an excellent king– diplomacy, warfare, economics, and listening to his future subjects.  Most importantly, he learned from the bad example of King Saul that he should not second-guess God’s purposes and timing.

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Prayer isn’t about asking God to give us what we want– not on a personal level and not politically.  It is about asking God to help us want what He gives!

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