America is still reeling from one of the longest and most stressful political campaigns in memory. Many political junkies have been reported as visiting doctors for physical symptoms and psychiatrists for mental stress. Some of us have had our fill of radio talk shows and cable news channels. We’ve heard enough of the “chattering class”—the ubiquitous pundits and commentators. Frankly, across America, God’s people prayed for the outcome, and many of us believe God heard and answered our prayers.
So what now? What are we to do as God’s people? Although the election is over, the need for our prayers is not. Ultimately, the fortunes of the United States are linked to the nation’s spiritual condition: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov 14:34). As important as our president, our Congress, our courts, our governors, and our state legislatures are we dare not put our confidence in them. Remember the words of the Psalmists: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes” (Psa 118:9). And again, “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psa 146:3). In these post-election days, as many in America are wringing their hands in desperation over the nation’s prospects, and others are taking a “watch and see” attitude, let’s remember two important biblical truths.
- It is God who chooses our leaders. In the final analysis, the election of Donald Trump as President, as well as the victories of the hundreds of other officeholders who were elected on November 8, was all God’s doing. Scripture is clear: “For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert [or the south] comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another” (Psa 75:6-7). Twice the prophet Daniel had occasion to make this point with the Babylonian emperor, Nebuchadnezzar: “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding” (Dan 2:21). Then again, said Daniel to the king, you will be judged “until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes” (Dan 4:25). In the NT, the Apostle Paul puts it this way: “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom 13:1). The world sometimes panics when they disapprove of election results they don’t like because they cannot see the hand of God directing the choices of the voters. But there’s something else we must remember as well, namely that . . .
- It is God who leads our leaders. Once leaders achieve a position of authority and responsibility, God does not turn them loose on their own! In their sinful ignorance, they do not have the capacity to govern others successfully. That’s why God must rule the rulers. “For the kingdom is the LORD’S,” asserts King David, “and He rules over the nations” (Psa 22:28). Likewise, “He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations” (Psa 66:7). And again, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psa 103:19). Solomon put it this way: “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov 21:1). Remember the devastating words of the Lord Jesus to Pontius Pilate: “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11).
Scripture tells us how this age is going to end, giving us a glimpse of final judgment and our eternal home in heaven. That should relieve any anxiety we might have about the future. In the meantime, however, we need constantly to remember that God’s providence is controlling the lives of nations and their rulers in such a way to bring about His purposes. We never need to worry, fear, or panic. He’s in control! Rather, keep praying!