No, not that kind of election! This article is not intended to take us back into hidden ages, delving into mysteries that only Divine Persons can grasp. It is, rather, intended to take us forward in thought. North American countries have been, and are, facing election times as candidates vie for public office. A steady stream of rhetoric flows over airwaves, through publications, and in speeches. No one would argue that the men and women who are in power in a nation dictate the course of that nation for many years beyond even their own tenure of office. As in a car trip, the kind of ride you have depends on the kind of driver behind the wheel. The kind of “ride” you and your children will be on for years to come may be decided by the next election. What should our attitude be?
On one side we have the pessimists. They believe, and rightly so, that we must be near to the coming of the Lord Jesus. They view each indication of moral decay as fresh (no pun intended) evidence that we are nearing the rapture. However, like a band of immigrants huddled at the rising stern of the Titanic, they measure every inch (or centimeter) of deck claimed by the waters as an encouraging indication that the ship is in fact doomed. Of course, one problem with this is that we are all still on that sinking ship – we have not yet been airlifted to safety. This is a rather bizarre attitude – taking perverse pleasure in the approaching destruction – especially since God instructed those who were going to be taken to Babylon to “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives” (Jer 29:7). Although that command may not have been a principle for all time, it is certainly the case that the child of God is to “do good … seek peace, and ensue it” (1 Pet 3:11).
Then there are the activists – and how strident they have become of late. Claiming that “evangelicals” have failed to fulfill their mandate as salt and light, they call on all believers to rise up as a powerful political force and hold back the flood of wickedness. Let’s get out of our provincial tents and head for the mighty gates of Sodom where we can have some practical impact on our society and culture. (Excuse me, Lot, is this seat taken?) If God sovereignly chooses to thrust a Joseph, Daniel, or Nehemiah into court-life, and they honor Him in that position, we should give thanks to God for His grace. But to actively seek that role seems a far cry from the Biblical instructions regarding the believer and the state – and this IS a principle for God’s people today: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim 2:1, 2). A man like Obadiah may be able, at the cost of great disquietude of conscience, to do some good. But, please, please, let us not fail to understand that the REAL work of recovery was accomplished by that separated, hated, man of prayer, Elijah.
Are you worried about the society in which you are raising your children? What is your most effective course of action? King Cyrus, a pagan monarch, rebukes our lack of confidence in prayer, or rather in God, when he called on the returned remnant to “offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons” (Ezra 6:10). How much do we really believe in the ability of prayer to bring God’s power to bear on a situation? How much do we really believe that our intercessions for our nations and leaders are indispensable assets to the preservation of freedoms that further the Gospel? Would it be acceptable for the brother who announces items for prayer to remind the assembly to pray for the elections at that prayer meeting? Would it be valuable to set aside a normal mid-week prayer meeting to focus primarily (though not exclusively) on the election? Would there be any interest in announcing an additional, special mid-week prayer meeting, even if fewer than normal attended (is that possible?) to cry to God for His hand to overrule? God’s ancient people were called upon to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Shouldn’t we resort to this mighty tool today?