PREFACE: This post is not against Democrats. This post is not against Independents. This post is not against Republicans. This is not a political post – but rather to be taken as a spiritual one. I grappled with the idea of posting anything about the election since the mission of this blog is certainly not to argue politics. However, in light of everything that is happening in the U.S. post-election, I felt that it was time for a Christian response to the bewildering chaos. We need to be educated about what the Bible teaches so that we can steer clear of danger and so we can lovingly assert Biblical truths to others. Christians need not be afraid.
“I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This…”
As the vast majority of the world knows, there was recently a Presidential election in the United States of America. After a long and hard-fought battle, the final two candidates were Hillary Clinton (Democrat) and Donald Trump (Republican). On November 8, 2016, millions of Americans cast their vote for the next President of the United States. When it was announced that Donald Trump had won the election, chaos ensued.
Protests and riots began and the hashtag “#NotMyPresident” popped up all over social media. Some of the protests were peaceful, most were not. Some of the protesters even called for the assassination of President-elect Trump. Some protests blocked public highways and the American flag was burned. Still, many are plotting even more sinister activities and protests to carry out on Inauguration Day.
It was reported that there were a few U.S. colleges and schools who offered their students grief counseling, therapy dogs, arts & crafts sessions, “primal scream night”, dedicated crying rooms, and even ponies, so they could process the results of the election. Classes were cancelled and some of the students acted out to show their disapproval of the election results. At American University, the American flag was burned by students in protest to the election outcome. California State University offered students phone numbers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Because of these special accommodations being made at some public colleges, Iowa State Representative Bobby Kaufmann is proposing the “Suck it Up, Buttercup” bill. This bill would lower funding for state colleges who are trying to use taxpayer dollars for such accommodations (such as election grief counseling, cry rooms, etc.) post-election. Kaufmann believes that coddling the students does not prepare them for the real world. He said, “…in life, when your car breaks down, your kids get sick or you have to take a second job to pay your mortgage, you don’t get to go to a cry zone, you don’t get to pet a pony, you have to deal with it.”
Never in U.S. history has there been such a striving against the Presidential election results. All of this pandemonium about the election has many scratching their heads and saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this…”
God’s Chosen Leaders
Now that we see what we’re dealing with, let’s open the Bible to see what it has to say. After all, what guidelines do we have if we exclude the Bible? John Owen, the famous Theologian, once said, “Without absolutes revealed by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers.” We must rely on the absolutes in God’s Word.
Below are just a few scriptures in regards to who sets up our leaders. I needn’t expound upon these verses, because they speak for themselves. However, for clarification purposes, I have put certain portions of each verse in bold lettering to denote the emphasis.
“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” ~Daniel 2:20-21
“And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.” ~Daniel 5:21
“By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.” ~Proverbs 8:15
“I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn: Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.“ ~Psalm 75:4-7
The topic of evil leaders is more of a side note seeing how most elected authorities are in their position to bring order, peace, and good to the citizens. I just thought it bore mentioning while we were on the topic. But, now we have seen that God rules and that it is according to his divine plan who our appointed leaders are. This is not only true for the U.S. but for the entire world. But, some may ask, “What about evil leaders? Is that in God’s plan?” I will expound on that – but as a whole, most leaders are in such positions in order to have a positive impact and to look out for the well-being of the citizens by upholding the laws.
Nonetheless, we find evil leaders in prominent positions throughout history from time to time. Even as far back as Bible times, we find that not all leaders were righteous. For example, we see that Nebuchadnezzar was king although he had wicked ways. We also find that it was God who gave King Nebuchadnezzar this position. “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory“ (Daniel 2:37). Amidst everything, God had a purpose for this and many lessons to teach the king and to teach others who read of this account in scripture. For a season, King Nebuchadnezzar was brought low. But in the end, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and his understanding returned to him (see Daniel 4:34). He then said, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
Of course, God is the ultimate King of kings and Lord of lords – so if an evil ruler commands anything contrary to scripture, we must please God above all and not man. However, this is not an excuse for us to disobey on our whims. Again, allow me to clarify – we must respect and honor those in positions of authority whether we like them or not – and may only disobey if they command us to do what is evil in God’s sight. Just like the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They would not bow to the false gods made of gold which King Nebuchadnezzar commanded they worship, yet, God delivered them even after they were punished for disobeying the king (see Daniel 3).
God has a purpose and a reason for everything he permits. As we see in the biblical account of Job, God is always in control and there are boundaries which the enemy cannot cross. God’s ways are higher than our ways. Perhaps evil leaders are put in such positions to later repent and lead others to righteousness. Perhaps it is to emphasize that mankind cannot save itself apart from God. Perhaps evil leaders are permitted as God’s judgment upon a nation in order to bring repentance (see Isaiah 3:12). Perhaps it is permitted to show the downright depravity of sin and to bring a nation to prayer.
Scripture states: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” 2nd Chronicles 7:14. As long as God has people praying for his divine will and plan to be done, then there is hope.
Showing Honor and Respect
So, how are we to behave toward our appointed leaders – even if we didn’t vote for them? Once again, I will allow the Bible to answer this question:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.“ ~Romans 13:1-7
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” ~1 Peter 2: 13-17
What About the Protests?
In this day and age we live in, evil is rampant. Moral views (or lack thereof) have become political views; thus, the chaos in our land over the election. One side wants their way and vice versa. The protests and uprisings against order are not having a unifying or positive effect. We see many such protesters acting out in physically violent ways. This is not of God and it is the works of the sinful flesh.
Galatians 5:19-26 states: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.“
We saw earlier that God sets up leaders and also removes them. Personally, before the election, I had purposed in my heart that whoever won was according to God’s will and that I would honor and respect his or her position as President. I had prayed for God’s plan in the election and I know many other Christians who were praying also. The results came in and our nation learned that Donald Trump had won the election. We, as a nation, (whether Christian or not) must respect the current President as well as the President-elect. It does not matter if we like them or not. It does not matter if we voted for them or not… their position of authority is to be respected.
I leave you with one final and profound, resounding scripture.
“And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.“ ~Acts 5:38-39