PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: GOD’S SOVEREIGN CHOICE
The 2016 Presidential Election is unlike any other this nation has ever seen, particularly for American Christians. Of course, social media has completely transformed the way the elections take place. Social media has become overwhelmed with videos, articles, and blog links arguing why one candidate will be the worst president in the history of politics and why another candidate will save the world and make America some sort of Utopia.
Debate rages on public forums day after day as citizens argue their case for why either Hillary Clinton on Donald Trump should become the next leader of the free world. Christians in particular have struggled to come to any kind of consensus on the direction of their collective vote. And day after day, Christians continue to grow uneasy about the direction of our nation and the looming decision facing them only a few short weeks away.
But it doesn’t seem like most Christians are paying any attention to the biblical witness on this subject. While most Christians are struggling to remain optimistic in any sense of the word leading into November, biblical truth offers a comfort during these tumultuous times. According to the Bible, God is intricately involved in the everyday affairs of humanity. And God is in control of placing the rulers on the throne who lead various nations. That includes the United States of America.
God is in control of who takes over. The next president of the United States is God’s sovereign choice.
The Bible makes this clear in a number of passages.
- Paul says in Romans 13 that any institution that is in place was set up by God:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” – Romans 13:1
- Daniel establishes that God is responsible for setting up kings:
“Daniel answered and said:
‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
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;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.’” – Daniel 2:20-21
- Daniel also reveals that it is by God’s hand that Nebuchadnezzar had become the king:
“You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold.” – Daniel 2:37-38
“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” – Daniel 4:17
- Jesus confirms with his conversation with Pilate in the book of John:
“So Pilate said to him, ‘You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.’” – John 19:10-11
- The Bible also teaches that kings are entirely in the hands of the sovereign God who places them in leadership:
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” – Proverbs 21:1
“But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had spoken to Moses.” – Exodus 9:12
The Bible teaches that God chooses who will become the next leader of our nation. That God is in total control.
And nothing you can do is going to change that.
According to what Scripture teaches, no amount of political activism can alter the divine decision of the next leader of our country.
The presidential election is simply the means by which God has chosen to reveal His candidate of choice.
This means that the leaders who have been in place throughout history were not a mistake. No matter what your political affiliations or opinions, President Obama is not in office because Christians didn’t go out and vote for the right candidate. God placed President Obama in the presidential office.
Granted, part of our responsibility as faithful Christians living in the world today includes being a good citizen of our nation (Romans 13:1-7). That includes responsibly voting for a presidential candidate. But this should all take place with the proper perspective of citizenship in mind. The Christian’s primary citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
The church’s job is not to concern itself with making our world a better place. It is not our job to help elect a politician that will lower our taxes. It’s not the church’s job to elect a leader with moral values or to campaign for the leader who will adhere most faithfully to the Constitution.
The church’s job is to bring glory to God. To proclaim the gospel. To make disciples. To be a light in the darkness.
Look no further than the early church on display in the book of Acts. The apostles were not interested in campaigning for a new Roman Emperor or arguing about which political leader was causing them the most difficulty. They weren’t holding signs or trying to promote their favorite candidate, especially one who held ‘Christian values.’ They were interested in sharing the gospel. They were interested in being obedient to the commands of Christ. They were interested in fulfilling the Great Commission.
In no way am I advocating fatalism or plain negligence in the political realm. I am simply reacting against the extreme political activism – especially on social media – that seems to stem from a lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty and his promise of continued providence or a lack of faith in God’s plan.
I want Christians to understand that God offers us peace in this realm because we know that God is in control.
As a Christian, I’m going to pay attention to the presidential election because it will have an impact on my future. I’m going to be a good citizen. But more than anything, I’m going to take comfort in knowing that God is in control. The God who does whatever he desires in heaven and on earth (Psalm 135:6). The God who does what he pleases from heaven (Psalm 115:3).
Some trust in chariots and some in horses. Some in national security and some in military strength. Some in a president and some in a political party.
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7).