Written by Caleb Gerbitz
*this article was originally written and published by The Witness in October 2016*
“Decision 2016.” The big question. Who will lead our country for the next four years? Perhaps you don’t know who to vote for, or maybe you’re just discouraged by your choices. In this article, I will point to some passages that may help guide you and offer some hope.
To preface, I don’t know who you should vote for. That is a decision you need to make for yourself, and reasonable, God-fearing, Christians will often disagree. There are many issues at stake in this election, so I encourage you to do your research and make an informed decision. As you do, consider the following passages as they may help you in the process.
“Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” -Exodus 18:21
“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads. -Deuteronomy 1:13
“For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.” -Psalm 72:12-14
(As a point of clarification, while masculine terms are used in these passages, God has also appointed female leaders such as Deborah (Judges 4), so you should not base your vote on gender.)
There are many complex issues at stake in this fall’s election, and no candidate perfectly meets the criteria laid out in these passages. So I urge you to prayerfully consider for whom you will vote, research their characters and stances, and choose the one that you believe will lead the nation most in accordance with God’s will.
If you are still discomforted by the choice you are facing, consider this. A few weeks back, I heard a sermon about “rightsizing your vote,” and it struck a chord with me. Both sides preach doom and gloom if the other is elected, but ultimately, God remains in control. Proverbs 21:1 sums it up best: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Similarly, when Jesus was brought before Pilate, he said “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above,” (John 19:11).
We have the opportunity to select our own leaders, and that is quite a blessing. However, no matter how 130 million people vote on November 8th, God maintains control; everything that transpires over the next four years will be overseen by him. In 1 Chronicles 29:12, David, the King of Israel, prayed to the Lord, “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.”
Recognizing that God has ultimate authority over our leaders, how should we respond on November 9th when we wake up having elected our next president? Our new commander-in-chief may have been your first choice or your last; either way, Scripture has some advice for us.
As citizens, we are here as God’s representatives. Just as our new president will select ambassadors to foreign nations, “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). So, how can we be ambassadors even if we are unhappy with our leaders? Ecclesiastes 10:4 says, “If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest,” and 2 Corinthians 13:11 reads, “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” We are ambassadors for Christ by respecting our leaders and letting our Savior’s love show through our actions to our neighbors.
Whoever is elected president will likely not keep every campaign promise they made, nor will they always serve us in the best way possible. Thankfully, however, while our national leaders often fall short, we have another citizenship with a leader who keeps every campaign promise he has ever made. Psalm 146:3-10 tells us, “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; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.”
We have the perfect leader who keeps all his promises. Our Lord promised to send his Son to suffer for us and die to pay for our wrongs. For four thousand years, he campaigned on this promise, offering hope to Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, David, and the countless children of Israel. Then, when the time was right, God kept his promise perfectly, delivering for us eternal citizenship in heaven, so that even when our lives and nations fall away, we will live eternally in his perfect kingdom. Let us thank the Lord for being the leader who elected us to his kingdom.
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” -Philippians 3:20-21