Does God care about politics? Well, a better question might be, “Why wouldn’t He care?” He cares about everything concerning us, our daily lives, peace on the earth, justice and truth.
He also cares about nations. In fact, He came up with the idea in the first place. In Acts 17:26 we are told, “From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” This means God did not just create the earth and the inhabitants of it, then step back to see what would happen. He has an ongoing interest and concern for what goes on down here.
We are also told that He “changes times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others.” (Daniel 2:21). Yes! He actually has the ultimate decision as to who will rise to the top in political races!
On its face, this might seem to mean that God favors every person who wins a political race, or that He prefers that individual as being superior to the others. I think this is a shallow perspective. He may not like that person at all, but sees fit to allow that person to rise to the top for reasons greater than the narrow political purpose at hand.
Take a look at what happened to Israel, time and again. When the nation turned from God, He allowed evil leaders to arise. Not all Israelite or Jewish kings were exemplary people. The story of King Saul is one of the most pointed. The people were convinced they should be like other nations and have a human king. To that point they had been ruled by judges, put in place by Divine authority. Now they wanted something more tangible, some man to point to and be proud of, as the representative of their nation.
Saul looked like a good choice. According to the Talmud, he was tall, handsome and had a modest demeanor. He did not swagger, but actually ran from the opportunity to be in charge, making him all the more endearing. Once he was swept to power, however, his personal insecurities drove him to some wicked decisions which have led to problems for the Jews even to this day.
In this case, and in many others, when the nation made demands, God let them have their way, allowing men to take the lead who pushed the envelope of God’s anger, leading the people into idolatry and wickedness.
In effect, by taking His hands off a nation, God allows the chips to fall where they may. Does this mean He is out of control of the situation? No! It means He has decided to control in absentia.
If God raises up and deposes national leaders, He also raises up governmental systems. In the case of the United States of America, the “system” is Democracy. All the more reason to realize that God allows us to make a lot of our own decisions. In the course of our decision-making, in the last few decades, we have effectively dismissed God from the public square. We have made it unacceptable to call on His guidance in public matters.
At this point in our history, we are getting what we asked for. We are getting our choice of leaders who do not call on God in any credible, public manner. They may give lip service, when politically expedient, to a belief in God or a personal faith. But, their manner is almost entirely self-serving, and sometimes actually profane, boastful and quarrelsome.
As Christians, many of us are at a loss to know what to do with the freedom our system grants us: the freedom to have a voice in the selection of our leaders. We see no godly choice before us.
Certainly, God can work miracles in our favor. Any number of things can happen. He could wipe all the godless contenders off the face of the earth, if He so chose. Short of that, what are we to do? We could vote for people who are not even in the running, we could use the write-in option. We could vote for the “lesser of two evils,” or refuse to vote at all.
None of these options is comforting. And, frankly, it is not likely that any such choice will turn the tide.
But, perhaps that is the point. God does not want us to be comfortable. He is allowing our nation to “get what it asked for.”
“But,” you might say, “I did not ask for this! I had nothing to do with it. I actually supported some good people, but they are no longer in the running!”
Such is the quandary of righteous people in a godless culture. And make no mistake, America is essentially godless. By our laws and decisions, America long ago asked God to step back. And so He did.
Timothy described the “servant of God” as being quiet, patient and gentle. Not weak, but strong in the Lord. When there is no clear choice that fits that description, perhaps the choice has already been made…by God.
Regardless of who steps into the Oval Office, it may well be that God has elected to give us what we asked for.