Wednesday, November 7, 2012

After the Election ... Why Christians Should Not Despair

I don't usually write about political issues on this blog, but in light of yesterday's events, I feel compelled as a bible teacher to share the following thoughts with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Most (but not all) of the Christians I know did not vote for Barack Obama.  So, like most of you, I am disappointed with the results of yesterday's election.  Obama is not the national leader I wanted for the next four years because I do not believe he is leading the county in the right direction on important moral issues, such as abortion and homosexuality.

So, for many of us the bad news is that, on a human level, nothing has changed.  At the same time, the good news is that on a heavenly level nothing has changed either.  God is still the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords."  And that is why we should not despair.  Consider the following biblical passages:

No matter who is in the White House, God still controls the policies and decisions that the president makes:
  • "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will." Proverbs 21:1 (ESV)

God proves that this is true through the events recorded in the Old Testament.  Cyrus was a king who worshipped other gods, but God still used him to carry out His purposes for His people. 
  • "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah." Ezra 1:1-2 (ESV)

In fact, hundreds of years before Cyrus ever came to power, God prophesied through Isaiah and mentioned Cyrus by name.  God specifically pointed out that Cyrus did not know Him, but He used him anyway:
  • "For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:4-6 (ESV). See also Isa. 44:24-28.

God has the power to humble rulers and make them recognize His authority.  This was a lesson that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way in Daniel 4.  God humbled him until he learned "that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will." (Dan. 4:32, ESV).  The chapter ends with this great ruler declaring:
  • "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble." Daniel 4:37 (ESV)

The fact that God rules over rulers can also be seen in the New Testament, from the mouth of Jesus Himself:
  • "He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, 'Where are you from?' But Jesus gave him no answer. 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 19:9-11 (ESV)

So as Christians living in the United States the day after the 2012 election, we should not despair.  We serve a God who has supreme authority in the universe.  He rules over every branch of our government, including the President himself.

How then shall we live?  As those who have hope.  We are called to be salt and light in our communities and our country, which means that we should continue to stand against things that oppose the truth that God has revealed through His Word.  But as we do, we can have the quiet confidence of people who can see the realities beyond this world.  We can look beyond our earthly rulers to our heavenly Ruler who is still on His throne and who will one day return.