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What if Obama wins?

I’m reposting this blog post from four years ago because I see the same issue happening today. In their passion to overthrow Mr. Obama, people are seeing a win by Mr. Romney as our “only hope”. It comes off as if he’s the savior that our country needs. I’m not saying we can’t have good reasons to support a candidate who reflects our views, but I am reminding us that the only Savior we really need is Jesus and that He can be glorified equally well through any candidate.

And let’s be careful about our character in the process. Let’s be sure our passion to support who we think is best doesn’t cause us to behave in unChristlike and unloving ways towards those supporting other candidates. Our spiritual impact on others is much more important that our political impact on them.

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Sept 8, 2008.

Yesterday in Sr. High, Glenn Schillinger gave a great lesson on the book of Jeremiah. He pointed out that the book reveals things that are true about God’s nature. One such truth is the reality that God will sometimes chose to bring calamity upon his people to chastise them for their idolatry or awaken them from spiritual complacency.

This may sound blasphemous: God brings calamity? How can this be? This seems to contradict everyone’s favorite verse from the same book, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But if we read this verse in context, we see that it is written to the Israelites after the Babylonians had just invaded their land, ransacked their nation and kidnapped the majority of them, hauling them far away to Babylon. And God was going to leave them there for 70 years—essentially the rest of their lives. His oft-quoted promise was speaking of the ultimate hope of prosperity for his chosen people, but certainly not their immediate relief.

If you read the whole chapter, you’ll see that our favorite verse is no more than a glimmer of light in a mostly dark and turbulent sea. God is in the midst of severely chastising his people for their waywardness.

And he takes full credit for this.

For example, read God’s message to those who were left in Jerusalem at that time: 29:16 but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David’s throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exile- 17 yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like poor figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. 19 For they have not listened to my words,” declares the LORD, “words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,” declares the LORD.

Yikes! That sounds harsh! And just a few verses later he says this to those who prophesied lies in His name: 29:21 “I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.”

As you probably know, Nebuchadnezzar was an evil dictator, known for his brutality. Yet, three times in the book, God refers to Nebuchadnezzar as “my servant”. I’m not making this up—read it for yourself!

This idea of God sometimes choosing to bring calamity on His people flies in the face of the current trend in our culture towards the feel-good health-and-wealth Prosperity Gospel. We wrongly assume that God only works through peace and safety, economic prosperity, liberty, capitalism, and freedom. It’s unthinkable to us that God might actually want us to undergo distress or inhibiting circumstances for some higher purpose.

That brings me to the election at hand. I’ll begin by saying what most of you know—that neither candidate excites me. But if McCain were to win, I admit I’d feel better. But comfortable feelings are not the point here.

I see Christians who so badly insist that McCain absolutely must win this election. They are adamant that it is God’s will for our nation that McCain defeats Obama. That an Obama win could only be of Satan. I think that’s putting God in a box. It’s telling God He can only work through the Republican party, or through capitalism, or through libertarianism, but not socialism. Can’t God work his purposes however He pleases? Does God need to conform to our understanding of how the world should best operate? Would God’s hands be tied if Obama wins? If God could raise up “Nebuchadnezzar, my servant”, could he not just as well appoint “Obama my servant?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be indifferent about the election or that we can’t have preferences or that we shouldn’t vote. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t presume that God’s path must go according to our preconceived notions. I have to consider that God might be voting for someone different than “my guy” because He knows his great purposes and I don’t.

Romans 13:1 says that all government authorities are appointed by God—and that includes elected officials! This is one of those mystical juxtapositions of God’s sovereignty and man’s will working in tandem. This passage tells me that God’s will is going to be revealed on election night—one way or the other.

So after I’ve cast my vote for _________? , I’ll stay up late not to wring my hands in defeat or to celebrate in victory that “my guy” won. I’ll stay up late because I’ll be curious to see whom God has appointed and I’ll fully expect Him to use the election results for His ultimate glory and our ultimate (but not necessarily immediate) good!

2 Comments

  1. Well said. For Gods Glory

  2. There are two things that could both be true at the same time.

    1) Barack Obama is a bad choice for President and we should not have elected him. (This happens to be my opinion)

    2) God is sovereignly going to use our bad selection for His purposes.

    It reminds of a Bible story. God objected to Israel appointing a King. They did it anyway. God turned it for his purposes.

    🙂

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