On Providence and Presidents
There is always a lot of commotion around election season. People are ready and willing to share who they are supporting and why. This election season, there has been a lot of broken relationships among political disagreements and moral standards. Instead of unfriending those who disagree with us, this season we are trying to teach our children why we do not need to cancel relationships and how we can better walk in faith through election season.
The Bible gives many examples of strong and weak leaders. Truly there is nothing new under the sun in the political arena. Whether we support our country’s leadership, we can have confidence that the Lord raises the leader He chooses at the time He chooses. Daniel speaks this truth when He says, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22). God remains firmly in control of world government.
In Genesis 10, we learn of one leader in the new world after the flood. In verses 8 through 10 we read, “Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.’ The beginning of his kingdom was Babel…” In the next chapter, we see what happens to the kingdom at Babel. The people decided to build a city and tower to heaven in order to make a name for themselves. They wanted to bring glory to themselves rather than glory to God. So what does God do? “Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city” (Genesis 11:7-8). Nimrod was a mighty man and he lead a successful society who worked together to accomplish their goals. But their goals were not God’s goals. So He did something that had never been done and confused their language. Imagine one day being able to understand all your neighbors and then the next day everyone is speaking different languages! God intervened so that His will would be fulfilled.
Many generations later, Israel was dissatisfied with the leadership of the judges. The people went to Samuel the prophet of the Lord and demanded, “Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). Israel wanted to be like the rest of the world instead of the set apart people of the Lord. So God granted their request and Saul became their king. Well, Saul became a jealous yet proud king. He wanted renown for his military accomplishments. Hesitant at first to accept power, he became greedy for more. He decided that he knew better than to obey the commands of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 15 we see the results of his disobedience and his impatience while waiting on the Lord, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king” (v. 22-23). Saul was anointed by God to be king over Israel. Saul had God’s blessing and reaped success and accomplishment. Yet Saul turned from God and God delivered justice and judgment on Saul’s house.
God remains in control of all world governments, not just those over His chosen people, Israel. In the book of Daniel we are introduced to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. This king besieged Judah and the Lord gave the nation of Judah into the hands of Babylon. Through the ministry of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar begins to to praise God. But then he too became proud and says, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my own mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:30). God does not share His glory with any man. So what happened to Nebuchadnezzar? God gave him over to the insanity of his own creator complex. Nebuchadnezzar became as a beast, eating in the fields and having overgrown hair on his body and nails on his hands. At the end of his days, Nebuchadnezzar turned back to God and God restored his reason. He says, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all His works at right and His ways are just; and those who walk in pride He is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37). When a leader craves glory for himself that belongs only to God, God will ensure that He and He alone receives the glory.
Yet another earthly king thought he could upset the plans of God. Baby Jesus had been born and visited by the wise men from afar. All people would hear the good news of the Savior. But King Herod refused to share his throne and thought he could defeat this new baby king. An angel of the Lord told Joseph, “Rise, take the child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13). How did Herod try to destroy the Christ? “He sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matthew 2:16b). What wickedness and a terrible misuse of earthly authority. But God sent His angel and the Savior was spared. Years later, we see that Jesus Christ did die. “When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished,’ and bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). How could this happen? How could God allow such a tragedy to occur? Where was God in governing the earthly authorities on this most horrific day?
Do not forget, the kings of this world are subject to God. Jesus is the King of kings. The death of Jesus is not the end of the story. “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:5-6). Jesus did what no earthly ruler could accomplish. He conquered death and He defeated the grave and He is alive today! What in this world do we have to fear when our Lord and Savior reigns forever?
So as we wait out the next few days and weeks through this election cycle, let us point our children to the true King of kings and Lord and lords. Let us teach our children to place their hope in their Savior, not in a Senator. Let us worship the Promised Messiah who has come and is coming again, not the President. Let us be grateful for our election into the body of Christ and not only the election for the next 2-4 years. God remains in control of His creation and nothing and no one can thwart His perfect plan. May we trust in Him and His ways, even when we do not understand. May we thank Him for His providence and His presence, even when we are surrounded by darkness and despair.
As we believe these truths and as we pray for the Lord to have His way over this election and the coming days and months and years, let us also live our these truths and choose to love our neighbors. May we be slow to unfriend and unfollow. Instead, let us unite with the Church to win souls for Christ through our loving words and actions and firm pursuit of the truth.