Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

8 Nov 2016

Reflections on the Election (From an Old Testament Perspective)

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It’s finally here. Millions of Americans are turning out today to cast their vote in an election that many pundits are calling the most significant in a generation.

I must confess that the arrival of election day brings mixed feelings: relief (that the election ads and news cycle will finally end), excitement (that I can play a small part in the democratic process), and some apprehension (about the results and what they portend for the future).

Beyond these immediate feelings lies the realization that trajectories are being set that will determine the direction of our nation for decades to come. With this realization, today offers an opportunity to reflect on biblical truth that should shape our perception about the election and its significance. Although the US is not to be equated unilaterally with ancient Israel, the Old Testament provides several principles and examples that furnish a useful paradigm for putting today’s events into perspective. So here are four axioms to guide your thoughts during election day.

  1. God is sovereign over the affairs of nations. God divided the nations (Gen 11:8–9) and established their borders (Deut 32:8). God is King over the earth and sovereign over the peoples of the earth (Ps 47:7–8; 97:1). God sets up and deposes human rulers (2 Sam 12:8; 1 Kgs 11:31). No ruler, no matter how arrogant, can thwart God’s purposes (Ps 33:10; Dan 4:35). God will certainly bring to pass His plans for the cosmos (Isa 14:24). Judgment and salvation are mutual—and often concurrent—aspects of God’s work (Isa 51:5). All activities—even human sin—will redound ultimately to the glory of God (Gen 50:20; Ps 72:18–19).
  1. A nation that perpetrates bloodshed—particularly toward its young—and sexual perversion is under God’s judgment. There is a clear connection between character and consequence (Prov 10:17; 26:27). Sexual perversion and violence often go hand-in-hand (2 Kgs 17:16–17; 21:6–7). Violent bloodshed and sexual perversion defile a land (Gen 6:12–13; Lev 18:26–28; Deut 19:10; Hos 4:1–3). These types of moral corruption entail divine judgment (Exod 34:7; Lev 20:23; Ps 11:5–6; 2 Kgs 17:7–18; Amos 1:3–15). Although moral degradation is gradual and progressive, God’s judgment is decisive and swift in the end (Gen 19:13; Jer Ps 110:5; 48:1–47).
  1. God’s justice will ultimately prevail. God is the judge of all the earth (Gen 18:25). God is righteous, just, and equitable and will judge the earth according to His own character (Exod 34:6–7; Deut 32:4; Job 40:2, 8; Ps 19:8; Ezek 33:19–20). Although God’s justice may seem delayed, it will certainly come (Ps 96:13; 98:9; Hab 2:3). God the Judge will be declared right and just by those whom he judges (Isa 45:23; Dan 9:3–14). Soon King Jesus will judge with justice and righteousness among the nations during His earthly reign (Isa 11:3–4; Joel 3:12).
  1. God preserves a remnant of faithful believers. The righteous may be afflicted, but the Lord upholds them (Ps 34:17–19; 37:17). God tests the righteous (Ps 11:5; Jer 20:12) but ultimately delivers them (Ps 37:39–40). The Lord preserves for Himself a cadre of faithful followers (1 Kgs 19:18; Ps 31:23). The Lord always remains faithful and gracious to His people (Exod 34:6; Deut 7:9; Ps 145:13). God’s faithfulness allows His people to hope resolutely in Him (Ps 42:5; 71:5).

In light of these truths, we can rejoice in our God and in what He is accomplishing today to glorify Himself and to save sinners. As Americans we vote with confidence, not in our human leaders, but in a sovereign and wise God.

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