Vote for the LambBy Tom Hare
Chardon Christian Fellowship · Sunday, November 1, 2020
WE STILL LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY HERE IN THE USA, whether one is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist or other. In light of that, I would like to share some thoughts that I've been thinking about being a follower of Jesus, the American political process, and the Bible, concerning God’s dealings with nations. I am compelled to do this because I believe the election of 2020 is easily the most critical one in my lifetime. And that is not hyperbole.
The Bible & Governmental Leaders:The Bible clearly states in I Timothy 2 that we, as followers of the Lamb, are called to pray for those in the place of governmental authority. This is an apostolic admonition… it is also a wise and good idea, because it will keep our hearts right no matter who is in that seat of authority. We do not do this because we like the person, we do it because it is the right action to take in the sight of God.
This passage was first written to believers in the dawning days of our Lord's Church when Christ-followers lived under the oppressive heel of Imperial Rome. No one had a vote then, after all… the emperor was god. And yet, disciples of Jesus still had to pray for this despotic leader, as well as for lesser government officials, plus the leaders of the churches, and for one another.
We here in America don't live under a dictatorship or an oligarchy, but a republic with a representative democracy. Thus, unlike most of the world, we are allowed to vote for our leaders … in addition to praying for them. This, however, is a two-edged sword for Christians, and in many ways it complicates how we live out our faith together. In fact, at times it seems our faith in the Lamb becomes suspended due to our elevation of the donkey or the elephant! Somehow I hear the scratch of the apostle's pen: "Brethren, these things ought not be."
Now I'm a unity guy, as most who know me would attest. Thus, I get asked how can unity be preserved in the midst of differences, especially political differences. My reply is, “unity about what?” It seems that we should first be in unity and agreement with God and His Word, and everything else should be subservient to that. That is the strong foundation to be in authentic unity with one another.
Therefore, if the Bible informs me of what God thinks about a matter, then - in order to be in agreement with God's Word (and God's Heart) - I must stand with and vote for the position of the Lamb - whether the candidate is a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Libertarian, or whatever. And conversely, if the position or platform held by a candidate is anti-biblical and contrary to the clear Word of the Lord, then I MUST NOT empower them further by voting for them or by abstaining from voting to defeat them.
But, what if you don't really know a candidate? THEN, look carefully at the “platform” on which which the candidate stands … that is, the philosophical or policy points they claim they agree with and for which they stand. This is critically important, because typically, what one believes and thinks plays out in actions. For example, if people say they want to abolish or modify the 1st Amendment, … believe them … and act accordingly.
Well, not being God, this is certainly not the last word on the matter, but following is some food for thought that I've been thinking. Please read on….
God and Individuals vs. Nations:I've noticed in the Scriptures that God clearly deals with individuals, but He also deals with nations as a collective, and his dealings relate to behaviors or practices. This is consistent with Jesus’ admonition to His followers to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers.
The good news is that it seems that God's grace can be brought to bear in both the personal and the collective arenas to cover our human failures. The sad news is that it appears that although Christians generally embrace the notion of the individual dealings of God, they often miss the fact that He also holds nations to account: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Ps.9:17 NKJV)
That said, it seems to me that we do well to pay attention to some biblical precedents regarding God and His dealings with the nations.
God Blesses & Judges Nations. Jeremiah wrote some pretty interesting stuff (Read Jeremiah 18:1-12) that informs us that the destiny of a nation is in the Lord's hands. In addition, Daniel tells us pointedly that political leaders are in God's hands ("…He removes kings and raises up kings…(Daniel 2:21b), and that "the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men, and gives them to whomever He chooses" (Daniel 4:32b). Sometimes God allows leaders who usher in hardship or worse - cruelty and judgment. Sometimes He establishes leaders who are agents of God's goodness and blessing. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people suffer and groan" (Prov. 29:2). We pray for the former.
But, what are some of the factors that determine whether God announces good or bad upon a nation? One of the things that seems to matter a great deal is "systemic evil"… that is, evil that has been encoded into a nation’s laws. All of us sin as individuals. It can range from telling a lie to murder. But when a nation encodes evil and wickedness into laws - which is simply calling "good" what God calls "evil" - then this is a different level of darkness, and that nation is in very deep trouble. Examples of this in the recent past would be Nazi Germany's laws that were instituted against the Jewish people and those who opposed it's regime. An example from the past in American history would be the laws pertaining to slavery. Both these previous examples of systemic evil resulted in a blood bath of conflict to finally rectify them.
GOD Has Some Issues:Here are three categories of systemic evil (evil codified as law) that move God to act because of His love for humanity, His justice and His holiness. Consider the following categories and relevant Scriptures:
• Shedding innocent blood - Psalm 94:20, 21
• Oppressing poor, widows and fatherless - Isa. 10:1
• Sexual Perversion - Leviticus 18:1-4,22-28
As a nation, I personally believe that we are in a precarious place before God over all three of these evils. If the three matters noted above are indeed of foundational Divine concern, then the issue of shedding innocent blood is the cornerstone issue of the three. Frankly, it is the keystone definition of civilization and humanity itself. In the interest of brevity, I will focus on this first and primary issue that you and I as Christ-followers must realize that God will reckon with. We cannot hide our head in the sand about this. As Proverbs 24:11,12 state about all of the slaughter of the innocent, "If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?"
Scripturally, it seems to me that the issue of the shedding of innocent blood is THE lynch-pin issue facing America at this time, so I wish to focus on it. Specifically I want to draw attention to the shedding of blood of the MOST innocent of the innocent: children in the womb. Now I know most of the arguments about how many issues are in play in elections, and that abortion is just one more political issue. Except, it is NOT.
Shedding innocent blood is a biblical and deeply moral issue that has become politicized, and therefore many of God's people and His leaders have been muzzled to speak boldly and fearlessly about it. And, and I would submit something else that ought to be quite self-evident: Not all issues are created equal. Slitting someone's throat is not the same as stealing a pencil from the drugstore. To be impoverished is bad, but it's not as bad as being murdered.
Exterminating children in the womb through abortion is an egregiously wicked law (Roe v. Wade) that has empowered evil to claim the lives of the most innocent of human beings - female and male children - legally stripping them of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and with no due process. And only God can speak to how humanity has been impoverished by the creativity encoded into those snuffed-out lives. How many brilliant brain surgeons like Ben Carson; how many genius composers like Beethoven; how many creative and clever writers like J.R.R. Tolkien were tossed in the trash? And to say (as do some) that issues of global warming or immigration or poverty are morally equivalent is patently beyond ludicrous and approaching a self-imposed kind of dementia. We must expose such wicked foolishness and resist it.
What Does The Bible Say About It?The Rabbis say there are 613 commandments in the Torah (Old Testament) that Jews are to observe. Of these there are 10 Commandments that God etched in stone by his own Finger to underscore their importance. A society that ignores these does so to it's own peril. One of these 10 Commandments states: “You shall not murder.” The unvarnished reality is that the life that an abortion snuffs out is a totally human life … and the blood that is spilled is innocent blood. We are not talking about crushing a tomato.
In Genesis 4:10, very early in human history is the story of Cain & Able, and the first example of shedding innocent blood. Cain murdered his own brother, Abel, about which God says: "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." Later, in Leviticus17 we are made to understand the symbolic power and theological importance of blood as well, and why God chose it as the means of atonement: "The life of the flesh is in the blood, for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul (v.11).
Psalm 94:20,21 speaks pointedly about the "throne of iniquity" (i.e. wicked governmental authority) that encodes evil into law for the purpose of shedding innocent blood. Here God clearly states that He is NOT aligned with any government or leader who thus "devises evil by law." The Roe V. Wade abortion law has done this. It has encoded evil into American society and normalized it, and GOD Himself is against it. Proverbs 6:17 lists shedding innocent blood as being one of the things that God hates, and is an abomination to Him.
In Psalm 106:35-40 the Scripture explicitly states that the wrath of God came upon his people and they were subjugated by their enemies specifically because they “shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters.” The reality is that now is the time that we … the followers of Jesus … must appeal to God Who is the Judge over all the earth that in His great love and grace He would cause mercy to triumph over judgement of this national sin.
Biblically, "shedding innocent blood" seems to be the very gravest of sins of man against man. And abortion on demand is the most egregious version of it. It is the 21st Century American version of the holocaust. If the blood of Abel cried out to God, what must be the deafening roar of over 62,944,690 slaughtered children - at the time of this writing - and growing at over 2,400 deaths per day (For up-to-date statistics visit numberofabortions.com for the "abortion clock")!
What Must We Do?As followers of Jesus, we are called by Him to be "salt and light" in the earth. Voting in America is part of what it means to be salt and light. Therefore, each of us must discern what the Lord desires us to do beyond voting, but at the very least we must vote, and we must vote in harmony with the Scriptures. That is why the issue of the shedding of innocent blood is a pivotal issue.
Let us be crystal clear about this: Legalized abortion in America is systemic evil. And, if systemic racism truly exists as some assert, then surely abortion is THE textbook example of it (nearly 50% of children killed by abortion are people of color - and the majority of abortion providers are in Black communities). Does this honestly not register with Christ-followers? Have decades of the lying drumbeat of "reproductive rights" - a marvelous euphemism for eradicating unwanted pregnancies - numbed even those that call themselves the people of God?
Without question, poverty is bad, horrible treatment of immigrants is wrong, racism is unrighteous, and sex-trafficking is horrific. But none of them rate a listing as one of the 10 Commandments. The fact is that the explosion and worsening of many of these justice issues has actually been exacerbated by the societal impact of the abortion holocaust. We must understand that the de-sensitizing of the human psyche that inevitably results from normalizing the snuffing out innocent human life releases other levels of brokenness, cruelty and violence in society. How could it not?
Fellow Christian, this IS a critical issue from God's perspective, whether you think it is or not. And the reason it is so foundational is quite simply both logical and understandable: If it is "ok" and legal to destroy the life of the most innocent, defenseless, and voice-less among us - children in the womb - if THAT is ok, …then please tell me what is not ok? If that is not sin, …then please tell me, what is sin?
So, fellow Christ-follower. Be true to the Lord. Fulfill your responsibility as a child of God to "be salt and light" - as voting is an aspect of that. Just do not vote your personal preference, your political persuasion, your gut-feeling … or even "your conscience". What you MUST DO is vote in harmony with God's Word. Vote for what the Lamb stands for; the One Who said:
"I have come to give life…." Vote for those who stand for life.