I have been pretty silent on political issues lately. Outside of shady remarks at candidates on both sides, retweeting funny memes, and praying that Michelle Obama rethinks not having a career in politics, I generally have kept my opinion on who to vote for off my social media pages. And I don’t plan on starting that now. I truly do believe you are allowed to vote on personal conscience and that believers should vote for who they believe will care about seeing God get the most glory. And, in my opinion, I cannot say on any biblical ground that either current party nominee personally or publicly worries about whether America brings glory to God or furthering His Kingdom here on Earth, in America, as it is in Heaven. That being said, I think it is ok to allow people to vote where they feel it aligns closely to that goal. What I DO NOT think is ok is allowing the fear of the thought of the presidency of one nominee cause anyone to not only tell people WHO to vote for, but also irresponsibly and unwisely use biblical principles to endorse and persuade evangelicals to vote a certain way. In an election where both parties have character and/or platforms that are unbiasedly against orthodox biblical principles, it is an egregious and blatant misuse of the wonderful God-given gift of theology to try to use it to conflate the idea that either candidate is the morally sound choice and use biblical evidence to support said idea. Let me be clear: to give any candidate a “pass” because you are fearful of the presidency of the other candidate is proof that you have a greater trust in the hope that comes from the sovereignty of morality than the sovereignty of God. The lesser of two evils is still evil. And instead of using the Bible to support your fear, maybe it’s just time to be honest and say we don’t know the answer.
Again, this is not to tell anyone how to vote. This is to address the fear causing the ruckus in the evangelical community the closer we get to the election. Fear of the world not being forcibly tolerant to once mainstream ideology and viewpoints. Fear that traditional moralism passed down generationally may stop being passed down. Fear that we may not have it easy anymore when attempting to stand for what we believe. Whatever the object in view, the lens looked through is obviously fear. We look to either side and have to admit that by-and-large neither candidate supports an overwhelmingly gospel campaign nor is striving to obtain character that represents such. Some might call this “stuck between a rock and hard place”. It’s very reminiscent of the story of the Israelites right after being released from their captivity. In Exodus 14 we see Pharaoh has somewhat come to himself after being rocked by the God of the Israelites with devastating plagues, the most recent one killing his own firstborn son, the possible next heir to the throne. His heart hardened, he and his soldiers pursued the Israelites and found them at the Red Sea. There are 3 things about this encounter I feel pertinent to point out to evangelicals:
Fear makes you forget who God is:
10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?
As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites began to allow fear to creep in. And that caused them to question God, by way of questioning Moses. Moses was the voice of God to the people, established earlier in Exodus. Complaining about what Moses had done was really complaining about what God had done. Instead of realizing the same God who had saved thus far could and would continue to save them, they grumbled and questioned His plan. Remember, fear makes you forget who God has already shown Himself to be.
God always get His Glory
3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.”
Before Pharaoh even came to his senses to chase the Israelites, God not only predicted that he would, but caused it. Without getting into the deep theological matrix of God’s providence, this verse highlights the fact that God is serious about His glory. “and I will get the glory over Pharaoh…and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord”. Before we write articles and preach sermons full of impending fire and brimstone, have we considered that no matter who is president, that God will get His glory? And if our lives are about that, shouldn’t we then fear less?
God always makes a way
God was called Jehovah Jireh in Genesis after providing a ram for Abraham in lieu of sacrificing his son Isaac. It was in that story the Hebrew children knew that they served a God who provided. And when brought between a rock and a hard place, or a Red Sea and a Pharaoh, God parted the Red Sea and used it to destroy Pharaoh. God does not leave His children without provision. He does not promise ease of travel along the way but He has always promised to be with His children.
In this election season, I believe most Facebook statuses, articles, blog posts, conversations, etc., have been laced with a fear of the unknown. It is as if, like our forefathers the Israelites, we have once again forgotten who our God is and how He loves to provide and care for His children. And that whoever the president is, that God will always get the glory. This fact does not negate us from having fruitful discussion or using wisdom and discernment when we vote. But what I believe it does mean is that I am allowed to vote how I see fit, even if it’s the “wrong” vote, because God gets the glory regardless. Because who I vote for is not as important as the heart I have when I do because that heart will decide how well I respect authority and love my neighbor for the sake of Christ, regardless of if it’s a candidate I want or not. Care about the issues, push candidates to say what they will do for you, pray to the Lord for wisdom in who and how to vote. Ask for guidance and understanding. Ask because it brings Him glory. Voting for president is important but trusting God as I do so is paramount. And that brings Him glory. Pray that His will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven, no matter the candidate. Not because that makes your life easier, but because it brings Him the most glory.