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Our hope is in Christ, do elections matter at all? Leaders are flawed, the system is imperfect…until our perfect King comes, what do we do?
I’m delighted to have my friend, Jeremy, doing another guest post for me with some thoughts on princesses, elections, and where our hope truly lies.
Bonus audio: My husband, Greg, is allowing me to share the short message he gave at our church on Wednesday night with some thoughts on whether or not Christians should vote (spoiler alert: he was wearing his ‘I voted’ sticker). You’ll find that audio at the end of Jeremy’s post.
I watch a lot of princess movies.
Now, before you pass judgement I’d like to point out that I have two young daughters at home, and when given the choice between watching a princess or a bunch of ponies I will gladly choose the princess.
Do you know how many princess movies there are? A lot.
In fact, it seems to be an endless supply as they keep churning them out year after year. While some movie genres come and go with popularity, I have a feeling the princess movie will always reign supreme.
What is it about children that draws them to stories of princes and princesses, kings and queens and faraway kingdoms? It’s so easily grasped, almost as if it’s part of their dna…
As I watch my girls dress up in their favorite dress costumes and run around the house pretending to be their royalty of choice, I can’t help but think that at the most basic level they are drawn to these characters out of a need to feel special.
To not only be beautiful and brave, but to be elevated above all others. Set apart. Important.
Unfortunately, when you only have one Elsa costume in the house the peace can only last so long, and it doesn’t take long before our little kingdom quickly devolves into a Shakespearean drama filled with jealousy, treachery and all sorts of name calling.
That’s how most monarchies end up.
As history proves over and over finding qualified leaders who wield limited power is hard enough. Finding qualified leaders who wield absolute power, such as a King or Queen, is nearly impossible.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to what God had to say to the Israelites in 1 Samuel when they wanted to be like all the other nations and demanded a king.
This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.
In short: He will tax you like crazy, take your best stuff for himself, make you his servants and then take your children to use as he pleases. Well…You can’t say God didn’t warn them. And how did the Israelites respond? They chose the king.
Now to be fair to the Israelites they were pretty upset at the time with the sons of Samuel who had been appointed judges. They weren’t like Samuel, “but turned aside to dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”
On the other hand, it wasn’t really Samuel and his sons that the Israelites were rejecting. They were rejecting God.
The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.
Despite all that God had done for them as a nation, they rejected Him in favor of a flawed, fallible and sinful crown. It goes without saying that things ended up exactly as God predicted.
One flawed individual with all power usually leads to corruption
As you read the history of the Kings of Israel and Judah throughout the Bible there are two things that stand out to me. First, the overwhelming ratio of “evil” Kings to “good” Kings.
For every good king you had at least five bad kings. Sure, you had a handful of really good ones, but as David showed us even the good ones had checkered reigns with echoing repercussions.
The second thing that stands out is the way God judged those Kings and how it contrasts to the way we judge our leaders today. Do you think God took into consideration the national economic prosperity of a King before he deemed him evil? Whether they were at peace or war? Or how about the overall happiness of the people? No, no and no.
It was simple. Were they in alignment with God, or weren’t they?
They either “did right in the sight of the Lord all his days”, or “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Forget the metrics we use today. God made it easy. You were either with Him or you weren’t. It was so simple and yet somehow…they failed again and again.
We’re still failing today.
Many flawed leaders are better than one with absolute power
As another round of elections comes to a close in our own nation I’d like to express my thanks.
Yes, my thanks.
A few hundred years ago, having escaped the tyranny of a different crown, the founders of this nation were given the opportunity to start anew. Having the wisdom to see the inherent problem with consolidating power into a single, flawed individual, they chose a different path.
Instead of one person, they would divide the powers of government into many…equally flawed individuals.
Yes, it’s a mess.
Yes, it seems at times to be totally paralyzed by opposing views.
That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.
As I read about Kings such as Ahab in the Bible, I am thankful the fate of this nation will never rest solely in one person.
I am thankful for what we have and will do my part to try to keep it aligned with God. What we have, though, is merely an adequate placeholder for what’s to come.
And what’s to come?
A monarchy. Yes, but don’t despair because this time it won’t fail, because for once the crown will be worn by someone worthy to wear it. Someone infallible, righteous, just and in perfect alignment with His Father.
Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
I’m going to keep watching those princess movies with my daughters, you know why? Ask them what a President is and you’re likely to be met with blank stares. Then ask them about a King. They know what it means to be a King. It’s a concept that seems to come naturally, and why shouldn’t it…if a Kingdom is their destiny.
Should Christians Vote?
This past Wednesday, my husband Greg gave the devotion at our church. He chose to speak on the issue of whether or not Christians should vote. I appreciate that my husband, like me, does not mind disagreement and encourages people to think, research and come to a conclusion on their own…while also speaking firmly about why he has come to the conclusions that he’s come to.
You can listen to the audio of that short message here, I’ll also include some notes for those of you who’d prefer to browse visually:
When Christ returns, he is going to establish a government and he will be in charge. It will be perfect (a far cry from anything we have today, or have seen).
We have often heard the phrase “choosing between the lesser of two evils”. That has led many Christians to reason that choosing any ‘evil’ is wrong, and thus Christians should not vote.
- However, if you believe that, then that must extend to any election decision. Elections to school boards and even church boards, for example.
- Even hiring decisions must be abstained from, as you are choosing someone to represent you in the same way that a political election is choosing a candidate to represent you in a job.
Another argument that we’ve heard against Christians voting is that the young nation of Israel asked God to give them a king like surrounding nations had, thus rejecting God. The analogy is made that Christians today are similarly rejecting God by choosing a secular leader instead of Christ’s headship.
- Although Christ will one day be our King on earth, that time has not yet come.
- We can say that ‘Jesus is my king’, but unfortunately, he’s not on the ballot. If he were, and Christians chose to mark another name, that might be a more fitting analogy to the situation above.
Jesus and Paul both legitimized human government in their teachings. (Note that legitimizing does not mean approving of actions.) See Mark 12:13-17, Romans 13:1-7
- We are in a unique position as compared to much of history in that we as citizens are part of our government via our voting privileges. We wield authority.
The civic practice of voting can be described simply as:
judging what good should be promoted or preserved…then deciding which public servant would most faithfully carry out that mandate.
We are voting for policy and procedure, not personality.
If Christians completely remove themselves from the political process, we are leaving it to others to decide what is good and put those policies and procedures into place.
Regardless of which flawed leaders win elections, as Christians we have the responsibility to be praying that they promote and preserve the good.