During an election year it is easy to weary of political analysts on television, political commercials, and lawn sings promoting candidates and causes. Personally, I’d rather have a plastic pink flamingo in my front yard than one of those candidate lawn signs.
Of course there are serious issues for God’s people to consider in preparation of voting in the upcoming election. Naturally, the economy is on the minds of most voters. Should we have an economy of confiscatory redistribution of wealth or one where ostensibly all boats rise on a rising sea of prosperity? Powerful political and economic forces vie for our votes in the hope of getting the type of economy that benefits their interests. What’s a Christian to do?
One problem is that we the people have a tendency to cast our votes based on a tremendous variety of self-interests or superficial evaluations of the candidates. Ideally, conscientious voters weigh the issues and policy positions of the various candidates and cast their votes using the wits they have, keeping in mind the best interests of the entire nation. As admirable as this approach might seem, it isn’t the end all for Christian voters. Why? For the answer let’s look at Hosea 8: 4. In this Scripture the prophet Hosea is listing things that the nation of Israel was doing that displeased God. Here is one item on that list:
“They set up kings without my consent;
they choose princes without my approval. . . .”
Fast forward to today. Do we even bother to ask the Lord who we should vote for, or do we simply choose based on our own understanding, experiences, and worldview? When I pray about voting I don’t expect God to speak through the rolling thunder the name of Romney or Obama. Nevertheless, God clearly takes an interest in the selection of leaders. He rightly expects to be included in the process.
Let’s also look at 1 Timothy 2: 1-3:
“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, . . .”
Did you catch that? It says to pray for “all those in authority.” That’s a tough imperative to follow. It rubs me the wrong way to pray for leaders I did not vote for, leaders who I find distasteful or who’s policies I loathe. But the Bible demands that I pray for them. It’s hard to do. But here’s the thing: God can use leaders who don’t come from my preferred political party, even leaders from a political philosophy at odds with Christian principles. Perhaps the church in America doesn’t pray sufficiently across the aisle for ALL leaders. This might explain the current loathsome state of affairs in American politics. So before you walk into the voting booth in a few days, take a moment to pray for God’s guidance and his blessing on our leaders.
I’ve known Christians who have no interests in politics whatsoever. While this approach is understandable, the verses above demonstrate that God expects us to take an active interest in the selection of the leaders who govern the nation where we live.
So how should we vote? Many Christian leaders encourage believers to vote for candidates with policies that most closely align with Biblical principles. This is good advice though it incorrectly assumes that most believers have studied the entire Bible with their hearts in a teachable disposition. Granted, the Bible is the best guide to a proper worldview, though it is most effective when we read it many times over the course of a lifetime. We must remember that it is also crucial to extend the reverent courtesy of asking for God’s direction with our vote. Sincerity is essential in our supplication to God for guidance. Don’t let television and radio ads sway you. Read about politics in newspapers and magazines on the right and the left. Don’t just read novels and popular fiction; read an occasional book in the genre of politics and current events from the perspective of the right and the left. Be informed but don’t worry too much about politics; ultimately it is God’s vote that prevails. He lifts up one leader and brings another down and he’s been doing it a long time. See you at the polls.