The phrase ‘In God we Trust,’ is on our coins and on our lips,’ but do we, especially in regard to the upcoming presidential election?
What is God’s attitude to these elections? How does He view it all? Does He even get involved in politics and so impact the leadership of a country?
These are obviously big questions to deal with completely in one Langstaff Letter, but let me give you some ideas to get you thinking. Obviously, the answers to these questions come from the Bible, so let us start there with some relevant scriptures.
GOD ALLOWS NATIONS TO GO THEIR OWN WAY
When Paul was ministering in Lystra, he declared that it was God ‘who made the heaven and the earth and all things that are in them.’ (Acts 14:15) In other words, God is the sovereign creator Lord of all. But Paul goes on to say, ‘who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.’ In other words, God’s permissive will was to allow nations to create their own destiny; to go their own way. Paul probably had Gentile nations in mind when he stated this.
It is for this reason that many people will hold to the concept that God gives us leaders that we want or deserve, either for judgement or for blessing, so that, as a nation, we can go our own way. They would see in the election of certain Presidents God doing just that – bringing judgement or blessing.
As with everything, there are consequences. Proverbs 14:34 makes this clear stating, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’
But is that all?
GOD CAN STEER A GOVERNMENT
On the other hand, Proverbs 21:1 declares, ‘The heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord; like the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He wishes.’ In other words, God can steer a leader or government to fulfil His purposes. As such, this is not limited to so-called ‘Christian leaders.’ He can use pagan kings and secular leaders to accomplish His plan, whether it be a Pharoah of Egypt or a King, like Cyrus in Persia.
Let’s expand this a bit further.
GOD RULES OVER TIME AND PLACE
There are two scriptures that years ago caught my attention in regard to God’s involvement in the nations of the world.
In Acts 17:26, when Paul was speaking on Mars Hill, he stated, ‘And He (God) has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.’ Note the two aspects of national destiny listed here: ‘their preappointed times’ and ‘the boundaries of their dwellings.’
‘Their preappointed times’; nations come and go, no empire lasts forever. History is in many ways a succession of empires one after another: Egypt, Israel, Assyria, Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece, Rome and in more recent times, Holy Roman Empire, Spain, France, and England. How does this happen? Job 12:27 declares, ‘He makes nations great and destroys them. He enlarges nations and guides them.’ God is actively at work behind the scenes of history, working to accomplish His purposes, both raising up nations and then putting down nations when their time has been completed. This is a sobering thought and we need to be mindful that no nation stands ‘on top of the hill,’ so to speak, forever. Not even America!
‘The boundaries of their dwellings’ refers to a place. No nation is meant to rule the whole earth and the Lord resists those that seek to do so. At the moment, this is the vision of ISIS; to rule the world.
THE POTTER’S HOUSE
Jeremiah the prophet is told to go to the potter’s house to hear the voice of the Lord. Even as he watches the potter make vessels of clay, he is told, ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter. Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’ The lesson is simply this, God is sovereign and He can do what He wants to do, in response to the actions of His people, whether good or evil. He is ruler over the nations.’ (Proverbs 22:28)
Daniel, too, told the King of Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar that God is Lord of all. ‘And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.’
IN GOD WE TRUST
God, whilst allowing nations to go their own way, keeps them under control. Like a dog on a leash, they can only go so far before God will step in and exercise His authority among the nations.
The question then is, ‘Do we trust God to be at work in the affairs of our nation?’ Do we believe that He is at work, one way or another, to bring judgement or blessing to America at this time?
In God we trust! Let us do just that. No matter what!