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On The Elections

The Elections

For the next three weeks, I’ll be taking a break from considering the profiles of notable people in the Bible. The reason for this is that there are three Sundays left before the Nov. 8th elections and this is undoubtedly something that is on the mind of many in our congregation. Every two and four years Americans go to the election booth and choose who they think will best represent them in government. While many who attend our church are recent immigrants and cannot participate, many do have the right to vote. The Bible speaks of three characteristics that mark the Christian life: faith, hope and love. In other words, Christians should allow these characteristics to be seen in all aspects of our lives. As citizens and voters we are called to allow our faith to be seen not only in how we vote, but also how we see this event and in our attitudes. Today we will examine how we are called to see the election through the eyes of faith.

Every Presidential election, the media and the officials remind the country, “this election will change the course of history”. The stakes are high and will affect things for generations to come. The other side demonizes each candidate. While supporters give almost Messiah like status to the candidate they want to see elected. This election has had lots of twists and turns. If there were a word that captures most people’s feelings about the election it would probably be disheartening. This election has the least popular candidates in history. It certainly true that whoever wins this election will impact the direction of the country. Decisions that are made cannot be reversed.

In this environment, Christians are not exempted from the temptation to respond to events like everyone else. We may be tempted to seek to get dirt on a candidate that can sometimes mimic gossip. We can sometimes be tempted to think that if we elect a certain official, that would usher God’s Kingdom on earth. On the other hand, we can think that if someone else is elected, then all is lost. We must guard against believing that just because we elect the “right” candidate, our problems will be solved or that if we elect the “wrong” candidate God’s work cannot be done.

We must remember that our faith teaches us two things. First, God is King. There is nothing that can remove him from the throne. While Governors, Congressmen, Senators and Presidents certainly have tremendous power, Scripture affirms repeatedly that God is the Sovereign over the universe. This was the lesson Isaiah received when he saw God on his throne in the midst of political chaos (Is. 6). This was the lesson Nebuchadnezzar learned when he refused to give glory to God and was humbled (Dan. 4). This understanding must be the balance that keeps us from becoming over-triumphant on one hand and despairing on the other.

Secondly, the power that world leaders possess is not ultimately derived from an earthly source. Their power is limited not by the power of the ballot, (although it is one of the means by which God has used to limit power in this country) but by the power of God. They do not have power beyond what God has granted. Consider Jesus’ statement to Pilate before Jesus’ crucifixion, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. “ The scene is ironic because the one speaking was bloodied and bound while the one hearing was sitting on a throne of judgment. Jesus’ point was that Pilate’s power was not derived from Rome, but was given by God. While Pilate made his own decision and is accountable, Pilate was not able to move an inch beyond God’s permitted will.

Jesus’ statement was the statement of someone who had eyes to see through the lens of faith. Looking through earthly eyes, Pilate was in control. But through the eyes of faith, Jesus knew that his loving Heavenly Father was using this and was watching over Him.

During this presidential election, we too are called to see through the eyes of faith. We pray to God over things like exams, parking spots and sickness. This same God is also in control over nations and kingdoms. This same God was in control over the greatest tragedy to come over mankind at the garden. And God was in control over the greatest act of redemption at the cross. Therefore no matter who is elected we can say in the words of Paul, that God works all things for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).