Biblical post-election response

Published 10:00 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

The national and local election is now behind us and we all have the same President-elect Barack Obama and lower level leaders. On the national level we have witnessed an historic event and a change of direction. We also are facing a time of historic problems beyond our borders and within our economy, added to the moral decay within our national society. Every family and person will be affected by these and unforeseen problems. How would you like to be President now?

Whether you voted for President-elect Obama or not, our Bible has some simple instructions for us believers as citizens of this nation. To obey these instructions will be good for you, for President-elect Obama and for the nation.

First, we must applaud our new President. In 1 Peter 2:17 God says, “Show proper respect to every one: love the brotherhood of believers, reverence God, honor the king (President).” The command is not to like everything about him nor to agree with everything he may espouse but rather to honor him as our soon-to-be President. Sen. McCain, who was the arch rival, probably modeled giving honor this week. Sen. Clinton has probably done likewise. Every pastor, every church and each Christian should applaud and give honor without any claim of total approval. We can give our President applause, our good will and give him every chance possible to succeed in meeting some of the true needs of our citizens and the nation. Our sincere applause will be pleasing to God.

Second, we must pray for our new President. There has been much prayer during the weeks preceding the election by groups, individuals and churches. If we do not now pray for the transition of authority and commit to pray for our new President, we will be disobeying God. We all need a good dose of 1 Timothy 2:1-6: “I urge you then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings (president) and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all persons to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men — the testimony given in proper time.” Let us pray in our closets, as families and in Christian groups for our new President and his administration; and for our State and local leaders also. Since our Sovereign God is on the throne and “the prayer of the righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), your prayers can move the Hand of God. Only by the power, mercy and grace of God can the needs of our nation be met.

Third, we must have an attitude of submission toward our elected authorities and our new President. Answer me this question: Do you believe that God is still on the throne? Well, He is: when elections turn out as you desire and when they do not. I suggest that you meditate on Romans 13:1-7, a part of which is as follows: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Fourth, we must experience a post-election giving of thanks. This is very appropriate for this Thanksgiving week since the origin of the holiday is closely linked with God’s blessings on our country. The Bible says, “In everything give thanks” (Ephesians 5:20; I Thessalonians 5:18). Let us give thanks that our democracy still works and that “the government of the people and by the people and for the people” has weathered many a storm and has not “perished from the earth” but is alive and well. Let us give thanks that the transfer of leadership in our country comes about by the peaceful, acceptable, submissive and normally gracious response to a majority vote. Let us give thanks that freedom has grown to the point that a person who was the product of a bi-racial marriage could climb the ladders that led to being elected to the highest office in the land. Let us be thankful that the African-American minority, which has endured a long freedom journey, were stunned in unbelief to see a man they claimed as their own simply become an American who wins the presidency. The Author of “Up from Slavery,” Booker T. Washington, probably never envisioned “just how far up” by 2008.

This is a great time to be alive, to faithfully live out our faith in Jesus Christ and be a vocal witness in the United States. Let us give thanks to God!