Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Day After the Election

Well, it is finally over. After a long and what appeared to be drawn out campaign, President Barack Obama has been elected to a second term as president of the United States of America. Such news has been welcomed differently by various people. Some of you may be ecstatic as the candidate you viewed as being the stronger leader won and will be remaining in office. Others may be dismayed or disappointed due to the results. Some anticipate hope while others fear the worst for the nation. Regardless of your political allegiance or where you stood in this race, I have some points I would like to remind you of from God's Word.

1) God is Still Sovereign
Regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office, God is still sitting on His throne and in charge. The angel reminded King Nebuchadnezzar That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes / And sets over it the lowiest of men (Daniel 4:17). This election is not the end of the world. No need to move to Canada or Zimbabwa or Timbuktu. Though Mr. Obama retains the highest office of the land in this country, God is still reigning supreme as sovereign lord and king over the entire universe. In fact, God has been in charge for all eternity past and will forever be in eternity future. He has no term limits! As the Psalmist proclaims, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God (Psalm 90:2). No matter who has authority on this earth, nothing he can do can ever change God's ultimate plans. Job recognized I know that You can do all things, / And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). The president is no exception to this. The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (Proverbs 21:1) Knowing this truth allows me to sleep tonight and every night in the next four years, regardless of who may occupy the White House.

2) In His Sovereignty, God has Chosen to Place Barack Obama in the Position of Leadership for Our Country For Four More Years
Paul tells us in Romans that For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God (Romans 13:1). No president or leader of any country holds their position apart from God. This same point is made in the reference to Daniel 4:17 just recently quoted. We have just witnessed God bestowing another position of leadership on one of the lowiest of men. When Pilate reminded Jesus of his authority concerning His execution, Jesus reminded him just who gave him that authority. You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above (John 19:11). In God's sovereignty, He has used the means of the electorate to have Obama serve four more years as commander-in-chief of our country. Throughout history, God has placed men in leadership positions who turned out to be both good and bad for their respective countries or constituents. He chose Moses, David, Josiah, and Hezekiah but also Pharoah, Nebuchanezzar, Ahab, and Manassah. While the actions and policies of these leaders did not always honor God, He still had a purpose and plan as part of His secret, unrevealed will for choosing them for their office. God clearly has a plan in the results of last night's election which we may never comprehend this side of Heaven. (I will point out that there have been occasions we have seen recorded in Scripture where God has placed certain ones in power as judgment upon a nation. Of course I cannot say whether that may be His plan with the results of this election but I can at least point that out as a possibility. Certainly America as a nation is ripe for judgment; especially with four states that have just stuck their fist in God's face to redefine what He has instituted as a marriage and family.)

3) We are Commanded to Submit to the Governing Authorities
Scripture is clear that we need to respect and submit to those God has chosen to place us under. Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1). Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right (I Peter 2:13-14). Failure to do so is an affront to God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves (Romans 13:2). This does not mean that you have to personally agree with the leader on everything or approve of his or her policies. After all, Paul and Peter wrote these commands under Nero, who definitely was no friend of Christians. In fact, Peter was probably killed under Nero's reign!
The one exception to this is in the case of when the authorities require you to go against something that God has commanded you. Wonderful examples of this are with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedego as well as Peter and John. Daniel's three friends are seen to be in full submittance to the authorities placed over them except when the decree went out that all must bow to Nebuchadnezzar's golden statue. Because this would place them at odds with God's clear commandment to worship only Him, they refused and proclaimed we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up (Daniel 3:18). Yet they did not resist when the men came to throw them into the fiery furnace. Likewise, Peter and John were in subjection to their God-appointed authorities as well but when they were commanded to refrain from continuing to speak in Jesus' name, they replied, Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:19-20).

4) We are to Honor Those in Authority
Despite your feelings toward Governor Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama, we are commanded to respect them. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king (I Peter 2:17). There is never a time for name-calling or putting these men down. Keep in mind that they are men and they have their faults just like the rest of us. I am growing more and more concerned at the amount of hatred I see among Christians towards certain political candidates. While some claim to love as Christ has commanded, their very words and actions toward those in office or running for office seem to portray a different picture. While I greatly disagree with Mr. Obama on several of his policies, especially toward abortion and so-called same-sex marriage, I still respect the man and his hard work he has put in to get to this office. Please disagree without losing the respect we are commanded to give him.

5) We are to Pray for Those Placed in Authority Over Us
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (I Timothy 2:1-2). Obama is in a position I would never want to be placed in and is getting ready to take on a massive responsibility. We need to lift up all of those in authority in prayer, not only for strength and guidance for them to make the right decisions but also for their salvation as the same types of people Paul commands us to pray for are the same types of people God desires to be saved (I Timothy 2:4).

6) We Must Continue to Spread the Gospel
Our mission has not changed as a result of this election. In fact, our mission would still be the same had Romney won. That mission is the "Great Commission" that Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19-20. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Those in our country, and those in the world, still desperately need to hear the gospel. This gospel has been spread by God's people during what can be described as "the best of times and the worst of times." Under godly rulers who govern righteously and those who were ungodly and dealt wickedly. We can't neglect this because a certain candidate didn't win the election or due to our unrest over who won! What is worse than a spiraling economy and a bigger government is the reality of Hell for those who have not repented of their sins and grabbed a hold of the only life saver, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Seeking to live biblically for God's glory,
Soli Deo Gloria!!!

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