As November fourth rolls around, discussions everywhere come to life on topics of voting, politics, campaigns, and political parties. Following on the heels of these debates, the ideas of voting the lesser of two evils and voting third party come to the top of the discussion board. Many people would rather vote for option b so candidate so-and-so does not get into office, while others vote third party and therefore, to some people’s way of thinking, throwing away votes. Americans have a responsibility when it comes to voting. Christians seldom vote for a person because he or she feels the candidate will lead this nation in a godly direction. We must vote not because one candidate has better standards than the other but because one candidate has proven himself worthy of the office by God’s standards laid out in the Bible. When the opportunity to have a say in elections arises we should not take it for granted but instead we ought to understand the Biblical qualifications of a civil magistrate and know how to act when such a candidate does not arise. Taking rights for granted can lead to bad decisions.
Beginning in 1789, with the election of George Washington, our Republic has thankfully given its people a chance to voice their opinion. Because of this freedom people think we “throw a vote away” by voting for a third party candidate whom they think has no chance of winning the election. Just because Americans have the privilege of participation in elections does not mean one must vote either democrat or republican at every opportunity. In fact if all the people who typically voted for choice b in fear, voted third party, only when the third party has a better candidate, the third party official would win. At times the choice of magistrate comes down to a decision between bad and worse at which time we must know what we should do. One does not have to wonder for long on this dilemma however because God has laid out His commands in the Bible for us.
Choosing a candidate does not require the candidate’s perfection but rather qualification. First and foremost God may raise up a wicked man for His glory, as He did many times in Israel, but for us to support the candidate they must recognize God as the dominate ruler. Also if we give our support to a civil magistrate, he must agree to fulfill the duty of the political office by first acknowledging his obligation to bare the sword in defense of the innocent. Exodus 18:21 lays down several guidelines for what a man holding or hoping to hold an office should portray. Verse 21 says to select “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands.” Whether consciously or not, every vote we cast for a man who does not fear God, we vote for a fool. Now that we understand some of the qualifications, we must look at what we should do when certain candidates appear on the ballot box.
Having set standards by which we can discern the best candidate can help in the decision process. But what do we do when none of the choices before us measure up? Can we settle for less than God requires merely because of a lack of options? No, it would prove better to vote for an alternate choice or worse case not to vote at all than to vote in opposition to God’s Word. When two candidates run for office both of which meet the qualifications, the decision turns to a question of whom we agree with more, who believes in agreement with the Bible, and furthermore who holds God’s standards. On the opposite hand and more realistic side, however, if two candidates run for office neither of which match God’s requirements, we cannot support them. We have the privilege of voting but not at the cost of violating God’s standards.
Many people think if they do not vote for the lesser of the two evils at hand then the more corrupt candidate will take power in the office. We must however, understand the sovereignty of God. By definition, sovereignty means supreme authority. After we realize His power, we can understand that no matter how we cast our ballots, God has full control over the election and will bring into office the man whom He so chooses. As we can see in the Old Testament, God raised up many evil kings to rule Israel all of which fulfilled God’s purpose and plan, whether to bless or to curse the nation. Try as we might to make a decision according to God’s Word and cast our vote for a qualified candidate, God has supreme rule to chose who He will as ruler over our vastly rebellious nation.
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