Wineskins Archive

December 5, 2013

How Much Help Does God Need Electing Our Next President? (Oct 2012)

Filed under: — @ 3:16 pm and

By Craig Cottongim

Election season is in a fever pitch. In these frenzied final weeks, people everywhere across our great Nation are on the edge of their seats. We’re anxiously awaiting a savior to clean up D.C., protect our personal ideologies, stand up for truth, and of course fatten our bank accounts. Wait, can we talk about politics here? Politics and religion don’t mix, right?

Here’s why we can, and should. The Bible was written by inspired authors, who were also influenced by a political backdrop — stories of kings & kingdoms, emperors & empires, rising and falling with the turn of nearly every page. I would go even further. Without understanding the political context and the historical background behind the books of the Bible, it’s difficult to interpret any passage of Scripture.

If in your mind politics and religion still don’t mix, keep this in mind as well, Jesus’ most memorable metaphor for God’s influence in our world has a political ring to it: “Thy Kingdom Come.” Though the Bible was written in times of monarchs and dictators, there are Biblical instructions on how believers should honor their governmental leaders (See Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17).

On the flipside, the Bible is silent on the role we believers play in influencing who is put into power. Where we can get into trouble today is thinking that “our candidate” is right and the other one is wrong, particularly in the eyes of God. This type of thinking is arrogant and misguided.

Christians on both sides of the political divide claim to be representing God. For example. Both parties claim our “conscience” should direct our voting. My Republican friends point out issues like the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, and personal responsibility (as opposed to a nanny/welfare state) to make their case for voting Republican. My Democratic friends raise issues like the corruption of capitalistic greed, environmental concerns, and the plight of the poor to say we should vote their way. Both parties have presented excellent reasons to vote for their cause, but both groups have downsides too.

In the middle of this though, we have sadly as a nation begun to place our trust in a political system that is, by and large, out of our control. If you are still thinking your candidate is the champion of righteousness, read on.

The Biblical narrative reveals pagan leaders who lived contrary to God’s ways, yet paradoxically the Bible says God established them as world-leaders. The Book of Daniel is just one great example of how God is in total control of selecting world leaders — yes, even unwholesome ones. Consider this about God, “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.” (Daniel 2:21 ESV). And who is front and center on Daniel’s mind as he says this? Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar, who ordered the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, burned Solomon’s Temple to the ground, and subsequently he exiled God’s people too. Jeremiah said he was God’s servant! “Behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.” (Jeremiah 25:9 ESV). Similarly, God says elsewhere, “It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him.” (Jeremiah 27:5-6 ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar was an idolatrous, lecherous, ruthless, bloodthirsty dictator who slashed and burned his way towards world domination. And, God handed the world to him on a silver platter (see Daniel 2:37-38).

So, the next time we think God only places pious people in power, and He needs our help to place them there, we need to think again. But I also think that there is a stewardship issue on the line during election season.

Perpetually campaigning is costly. TV ads, travel, and security measures for the candidates run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Also, how do elected-politicians (currently on the taxpayer’s payroll) accomplish anything productive when they are preoccupied out on the campaign trail? The campaign trail seems closer to the Law of Diminishing Returns than a sound solution.

God’s greatest commands woven throughout the fabric of the Bible center around loving Him, loving others and caring for the helpless (Matthew 22:34-40, 25:31-46 and James 1:27). Conversely, there is no admonition for believers becoming obsessed with who is in power. In fact, the Bible clearly states God will place in power whomever He deems fit to lead us. So please vote, contribute to your favored candidate, but let’s relax and let God be God come November 6th.

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