As I have spoken with various Christians around our nation on the topic of voting, I have discovered that many of them believe God’s Word to be basically silent on this very important aspect of our culture. Most American Christians seem to think that God has given general principles of right and wrong in the Bible but that He expects us to rely primarily on our own wisdom and pragmatism when choosing a man to lead our nation. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible provides very clear instructions that should guide us in casting our vote, and we are responsible to God for our decision to either follow or reject those instructions.
A summary of God’s guidelines for voting can be found in Proverbs chapter sixteen. Let’s start with verse two. There we read that “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” From this we can gather that everyone who has an opinion on how to vote in this election will think that his opinion is right, but it is God and not man who will ultimately decide which vote is the right vote to cast. This means that we cannot trust our own reason and thoughts for our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) So then, how should we determine who to vote for if we cannot trust our own reason?
The answer is found in the next verse. There we read: “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established”. Now, many will read this verse and conclude that it just means to dedicate you vote to the Lord in the way that an author might dedicate a book to a departed friend. Such dedications do not indicate that the friend had any influence over the contents of the book, nor that the author wrote the book in order to please his friend. These dedications are usually just an author’s way of saying thank you to someone that they love and appreciate. The command in Proverbs 16:3, however, is something entirely different. To commit your works unto God is not to just think fondly of Him while you do something, nor is it to ask Him to be pleased with what you have decided to do. To commit your works unto the Lord is to tell God that He can direct your actions however He chooses. In other words, the key to having your thoughts established is to determine that you will do whatever the Lord commands even if it goes against your own meager, human wisdom.
The next verse reveals something that many Christians fear to consider. Here we find that “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” God has a purpose for wicked men to fill. Romans 9:22 presents this idea in the form of a question: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?” God sometimes chooses to raise wicked men into positions of power, and He always does so to accomplish a specific purpose. Who are we, then, to determine that our vote must not allow an evil man to come to power? Are we the counselors of God? (Romans 11:34) Would we say to Him as Peter did, “Not so, Lord”? (Acts 10:14) How arrogant, how vile, how satanic is the thought that it would never be God’s plan to allow evil to triumph for a season. (Matthew 16:22-23)
Verse five tells us what reward such arrogance will bring upon the Christians of our nation. “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” When we come to the place that we think we can tell God what is and is not His will for the future of our nation, we have surely become an abomination before Him, and no amount of party unity can prevent the punishment that is sure to follow.
How, then, can we hope to avoid the chastening of the Lord? Surely we should consider the future of our nation when voting, but how can we do so without becoming an offense before God? “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” The key is to seek God’s mercy continually, follow His truth unwaveringly and fear His displeasure above all. Then, we will discover that “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Instead of choosing who to vote for based upon a fearful determination of which candidate will bring the most peace to our nation, we should vote for the candidate who most pleases the Lord; for when He finds our vote pleasant, there is no enemy who will have the strength to violate the peace that our God will send. By the way, it is important to note that this peace is not conditional upon the end of our ways, but on the ways themselves. In other words, God does not base His pleasure on what we are able to do but rather on the manner in which we attempted to do it. The end does not justify the means, but rather it is the means that bring about a justified end.
Verse eight then presents us with what is probably the most significant guide we can have for this particular election. “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.” According to this verse, no Christian should ever base his vote on matters of economy when doing so would have a negative impact on the righteousness of our nation. We should vote for righteousness first, and let God worry about the economy. Our God owns the cattle upon a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) He can command rivers of water to flow out of a rock in the desert, (Psalm 114:7-8) and He can feed thousands with a single meal. (Mark 6:44) Surely if He asks us to be willing to suffer economic loss in order to cast a righteous vote, then we can trust Him to meet our needs in spite of that loss. “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
The next verse should be a reminder to us that just as “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps,” even so “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” (Proverbs 21:1) If God controls both the heart and the actions of the leader of our nation, then we really have nothing to fear from any of the candidates. No matter who wins the election, our God will still be in control.
As we read in verse ten, “A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.” In other words, the decisions made by the leader of a nation are the decisions that God wants that nation to face. According to verse twelve, the king is still held accountable for his decisions, but just as God said that He allowed a wicked Pharaoh to become the ruler so that He could execute judgment upon Egypt, so also does He sometimes choose to raise up leaders in other nations for the purpose of administering punishment upon them. We are not to fear this as Christians, for we know that God always preserves His people as a remnant in the midst of the judgment. He may ask them to suffer loss as a witness of His goodness, but He has promised never to leave them nor forsake them. (Hebrews 13:5)
Does this mean that we should intentionally vote for a wicked President? Not at all. It simply means that fear should be taken off of the scales. Verse eleven tells us that “A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work,” and when we weigh our decision on which candidate for whom to cast a vote, no unjust fear of man should be placed anywhere on the scales. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
So what kinds of things should be placed on the scale? We find the answer in the next several verses. In verse thirteen, we find that we should vote for a man who speaks righteousness. In verse fourteen, that we should vote for a man whose emotions are tempered by wisdom. Verse fifteen advises us to vote for a man in whose eyes Christians will find favor. Verse sixteen instructs us to elect a President who is wise and understanding; not with the wisdom of this world but rather with true wisdom which is from above (James 3:17) and which comes only through the fear of the Lord. (Psalm 111:10) In verse seventeen, we learn that the best choice for President is a man who departs from evil and faithfully follows the Lord. Verses eighteen and nineteen warn us against voting for a proud man. In verse twenty, we find that our vote should be cast in favor of a man who trusts in the Lord. Verses twenty-one and twenty-two tell us to choose a wise leader and reject the foolish, and verse twenty-three explains that while one candidate may have more knowledge than another, a wise leader will be able to gain the knowledge that he needs at the time that it is needed. And in verse twenty-four, we see that we should vote for a man who is kind and thoughtful with his words. These are the kinds of things that we should consider when choosing a President.
As we read on, we come to verse twenty-five where we discover that “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This premonition warns us against relying on our own wisdom to decide which candidate would ultimately produce the greatest amount of blessings for our nation. We cannot trust our own reason to give us an adequate prediction of the future. The wise choice, therefore, is to rely solely on the wisdom and foresight of God by choosing the man that God would have us choose. The Lord commanded the Israelites only to “set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose,”(Deuteronomy 17:15) and we would do well to heed that same instruction.
In this election cycle, we have been repeatedly assured by the media and the various candidates that the focus should be on jobs, but verse twenty-six tells us that “He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.” A candidate who is focused primarily on jobs is seeking only to benefit from the selfishness of the voters. Those who care more about others than themselves (Philippians 2:3) do not focus on their own labor but rather on the needs of those around them.
Verses twenty-seven through thirty should serve as a warning against voting for the wrong candidate. An ungodly president will increase the amount of evil in our nation, for we know that “when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2) Regardless of the campaign promises of economic blessings, God has already assured us that our nation will suffer if we elect a President that does not follow Him. And in verses thirty-one and thirty two we find the antithesis. Choosing a President who is righteous before God will bring glory to our nation and make us better than the mighty.
It is clear from the instructions given in this chapter that the Christian voter should fear God rather than men and vote for a candidate who pleases the Lord regardless of any human reasoning to the contrary. However, there are those who will say that this instruction is pointless. They argue that no candidate fitting the description given in this chapter will ever be able to gain enough votes to win. Of course, this argument erroneously assumes that right and wrong are the same thing as victory and defeat, but aside from this, it is evident from this chapter of Proverbs that God is quite capable of giving us the victory in spite of the spiritual condition of our nation. In verse thirty-three, we read that “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD,” and in verse one, we find that “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” It is God who ultimately decides the outcome of every Presidential election in America, and if His people join together to plead for the victory of a godly candidate, then we will certainly be rewarded with a godly President. If, on the other hand, the Christians of our nation plead with God to allow a wicked man to lead our nation, then it is very likely that He will still give us our request but send leanness to our souls. (Psalm 106:15)
What kind of President are you asking God to give us? Are you praying that God will bless a wicked man by placing him in the highest office in our land? I, for one, am determined not to do so. I will place my prayers and my support behind a man who pleases God, and I ask you to join me in rejecting the fear of man and human wisdom as I seek to fear God and honor Him above all with my vote.
Mike Warner, Editor:
Do NOT BE DISCOURAGED!
There is ONE GODLY CHOICE….