On the morning after the Presidential election, half of our country is disappointed while the other half is elated.
Not this year. According to daily polls and countless conversations, it appears that a significant majority of our citizens will be disappointed no matter who wins the election. Unfavorability ratings for the two major candidates are well above 50%. This is an election unlike any other, at least in my lifetime (I cast my first vote 32 years ago, in 1984).
There is one thing that candidates, and Christians, do every election cycle that they shouldn’t do. It’s been done since the birth of our nation, and it will continue to be done until the end. But it shouldn’t be done.
What is it? Candidates, and Christians, often attach the imprimatur of God’s blessing to their campaign and candidate of choice. Scripture is quoted, and prophecies are produced to show the country that Candidate A (or B or C) is God’s man/woman for the office of President.
Dozens of emails have arrived in my inbox and many more conversations have reached my hard-of-hearing ears asserting that various Scriptures point to a certain candidate as being the only one who can “save America.” Why? Well, essentially because God says so. Candidates and their supporters hold up Bibles at rallies and blandly quote Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount to prove divine sanction on their campaign.
Especially offensive is when Scriptures are quoted to indicate that they apply to a specific candidate. One that makes the rounds every four years is found in Proverbs 29:18a – “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” All candidates have a “vision,” but do they have the Lord’s vision? This is the clear context of this passage in Proverbs.
The prophet Isaiah gets a political workout every cycle, it seems. A staggering misuse of the Bible arises out of Isaiah 40:28-31. This is the wonderful passage that speaks of not growing tired or weary, of gaining strength, and soaring “on wings like eagles.” The entire passage refers to the LORD God, the Messiah, the Savior. A passage like this – read it, please, in its context – does not refer to any political candidate. Not now. Not ever.
Candidates and Christians, don’t do this. There is only one Lord and Savior. There is only one Messiah. And it’s not you or me or Candidate A or B or C. That “office” is already filled by King Jesus.
I’m not going to tell you how to vote. But I will encourage you to vote. As a citizen (and as a Christian), it is your responsibility to be involved in the process. Study the issues, examine the policy proposals, scrutinize past history, and understand the moral issues that confront our country. And then, with a heart of faith in God and love for country, exercise this gracious freedom entrusted to us by the One who actually gives us strength and enables us to soar on wings like eagles.
Even as he tells us where to place our trust, Isaiah tells us where NOT to place it: “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” (2:22)
During these final weeks leading up to the election, let’s not lose our heads, nor our faith. The Psalm writers got it right: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” (Psalm 146:3) “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.” (Psalm 118:8)