For many Christians, a more basic question is, “Why vote in November?” Depending on the definition of the term, generally, only a bit over half of the evangelicals in America vote, and in 2016 it was about 60%. That means almost half of the Christians don’t vote at all.
My perspective, very practically, is that God has given us in America the privilege and freedom of choosing our own leaders, and if we don’t use that gift faithfully, we will lose it. That is a true statement, but there is a more important reason, as I remind readers of this blog almost weekly,
We, mankind, were given the mandate by the Godhead, at our creation, to rule over the earth (Genesis 1:26), and that mandate has not been rescinded. Voting for our leaders is our entry-level job in the civil government, one of the three biblical institutions by which that rule will occur, along with the family and the church. God will call some of us, eventually, to go further than an entry level position and run for office. If He does, His intentions for you will be obvious.
I spent my first seven years after college (where I had become a Christian) in a missionary organization, evangelizing college students. We spoke to fraternities and sororities and witnessed individually to whomever would talk to us. We called ourselves an “evangelistic arm of the church.”
Finally, after six years of this, it dawned on me that God’s church, the body of Christ, doesn’t need an extra arm! Rather than come up with man’s best idea of how to evangelize effectively, why not get back to the biblical vision of church and begin to work toward moving the church to follow that pattern?
Novel thought, huh? Since that time, both my wife, Jill, and I have given ourselves to work on that idea. How does the Bible say church, family and the civil government, all fueled by an experience of the unconditional grace of God, should function in order for us to fulfill our mandate to rule over the earth?
For the first 30 years of our post-awakening lives, we focused on family and church, as those were our own immediate personal areas of involvement. My books written during that time, along with several about the gospel of the grace of God, reflect that interest.
The civil government has been the last of the three kingdom-extending institutions to capture my focus and enthusiasm. You may be shocked to discover that the Bible has anything to say about civil government, but it does. In 1853, Rev. E. C. Wines published Commentaries on the Laws of the Ancient Hebrews. Republished twice since then, its last rendition was presented in 1997, entitled The Roots of the American Republic. It shows how America was originally begun with a strong biblical influence, primarily the Hebrew Republic. Other books explore this topic as well, and, in 2013, I added mine, Let Earth Receive Her King,
I want to give you a vision of how you can enter the family business of the civil government successfully, by voting—not who to vote for, but how to vote. I only want to vote for biblically qualified candidates. By what standard, from the Bible, do I compare the candidates for any job as a civil magistrate and make a biblical choice?
In Exodus 18, after Moses had led the Hebrews through the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh (Ch. 14), then defeated the Amalekites (Ch, 17), and, shortly before he would receive the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai (Ch. 19), he had an historic meeting with his Father in Law, Jethro.
Jethro had observed Moses attempting to mediate disagreements between over 600,000 men and their families, with only the assistance of his brother, Aaron, and the elders of the Hebrews (probably 70 or so men). Every day, from morning to night, Moses made all final decisions in all unresolvable disputes between the Israelites. Evidently, the concept of delegation of authority was lost on him. Here is Jethro’s observation and his proposed course of action.
“When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, with all the people standing around you from morning until evening?,,,What you are doing is not good. You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people who are with you, because the task is too heavy for you. You cannot do it by yourself.
“Now listen to me…You are to look for capable men among the people, men who fear God, men of integrity who hate dishonest gain. You are to set these men over them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They are to judge the people at all times. Let them bring every major matter to you, but let them judge every minor matter. It will lighten your burden, and they’ll bear it with you. If you do this, and God so commands you, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will also go to their homes in peace” (Exodus 18:14-23).
The concept of our judicial system, with its ascending levels of authority, ending with the Supreme Court, was modeled for us here by Jethro. Referring to this time in Deuteronomy 1:13, we are told that Moses had the people pick these magistrates themselves. They themselves chose their own decision-making leaders.
By what standard did they choose them? Were they men they liked, who had the most pleasing personalities, were good looking, and who never offended anyone?
Look back over Jethro’s list of qualifications. There are four. Can you see how they apply to the two presidential candidates that we will have the opportunity to vote for in November? Next week, I will look at these four qualities carefully and then apply them to Trump and Biden.