Because our nation is a constitutional republic, its citizens enjoy the privilege of electing those who represent them. That is the entire point of being a republic, citizens appoint others to administer their nation within the boundaries of rights and controls established by their constitution. Because there is evidence of sin’s grip on this world, it is important to understand our responsibilities when we vote. God has given us guidance in His Word. This lesson will look at just a few of the 100 biblical verses that offer guidance on voting.
Does a person have a duty to vote?
About 100 million citizens in our nation do not vote. This represents about fifty percent of eligible voters. While God is most certainly in control, that does not mean we carry no responsibility to further His will here on earth. There is evidence in Scripture that at times in history, God has been displeased with the people’s choices for leadership. Anyone electing not to vote is not taking advantage of a gift from our Creator. Every citizen should share in the decision-making that affects their nation. Why? All citizens will be affected by the choices being made by their leaders. Character matters!
(Hosea 8:4) 1NIV New International Version Translations– “They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold, they make idols for themselves to their destruction.”
Deuteronomy, the final book in the Pentateuch, contains Moses’ last three sermons and two prophetic poems about Israel’s future. Reflecting on the nation’s past mistakes, Moses urges the people not to repeat those errors when they enter the Promised Land. Speaking on behalf of God, Moses commanded His followers with instructions on who they should pick as their leaders.
(Deuteronomy 1:13) – “Choose some wise, understanding, and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.”
God lets His people choose their leaders, but God enabled the leaders to rule. This is an example of free will at work. You get to choose who you want to be led by. God, however, gives them their power over you. The role of leadership is to serve God. A leader’s responsibility is both to their people and to God: “’Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:1)
(Daniel 4:17) – “The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.”
Why should we Care?
To understand our obligations, the Apostle Paul set out the guidelines of citizenship.
(Romans 13:1–6) – “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.”
The Apostle Paul believed that the state (nation), the Romans at that time, existed to protect its citizens against attacks from outsiders and local crime. It was the responsibility of the state to also punish people who broke the law but to reward people who followed the law. To Paul, the state gave him the benefits of traveling safely on good Roman roads and the freedom to preach the message of the Gospel. The Christians in Rome followed Paul’s advice until the Roman laws ordered them to serve false gods. They obeyed all the laws that did not oppose their faith. Citizenry should have no reason to fear Godly leadership. Citizens have no responsibility to follow ungodly leadership. “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than human beings!’” (Acts 5:29)
Picking Godly Leaders
Much of the suffering on earth is because of godless leadership, “When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.” (Proverbs 28:12). Those who believe in a Creator, should strive to choose leaders who will be themselves led by our Creator. There is only one Godly purpose for the leaders of a nation, and that is to lead its citizenry closer to God!
(1 Samuel 12:13-15) – “Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.”
The choosing of any elected official should begin with prayer, the study of both God’s Word, and the realities of the choices on the ballot. Candidates or ballot proposals that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” (Proverbs 14:34). Candidates must be qualified for the office they are running for. Without experience and the proper qualifications, bad decisions made by those in power will affect all the people adversely, and sometimes it can years before they can be reversed. Be wary of those who only seek to enrich themselves. Godly leaders always serve and protect their flock first.
(Hosea 4:6) – “Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.”
The Important Qualifications of Leadership
Promises that you hear should be overlaid against a person’s past performance. Politicians should be allowed to change their opinions in circumstances where the circumstances have themselves changed. However, there should always be transparency as to the necessity of not keeping one’s word. Our role as citizens is to check for the truth and facts in all matters. For a leader who has a past voting record, understanding their values should be a high priority before any support. Truth is everything! “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. (Proverbs 12:19). To know the truth about any candidate, requires the personal effort of sorting through the myriad of conflicting claims and statements you will hear. To trust others is fine but not trusting anyone is safer.
The burden of fact-checking must rest on your shoulders. Expand your search for information to include the families of those running for office. “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?” (1 Timothy 3:5) Once elections are over, our free society and our constitutional democracy then must work together for success. Our citizens must respect each other’s choices after the votes are counted.
(1 Timothy 2:1–2) – “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
When There Seems to be No Good Choice
There may be times when there appears to be no Godly choice. The Word of God is very clear that when we agree with God we will be blessed, but when we agree with things that are against His Word, we will receive a curse. Not every good choice is God’s choice and seeking God’s will is the most important part of any serious decision.
(Deuteronomy 30:19) – “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
Our society today has stressed our “right to choose” but has not balanced it with the message that our choices also have consequences (especially those made in lust and selfishness.) For instance, our world glamorizes many things such as smoking, drugs, drinking, adultery, fornication, gambling, abortion, etc. All choices carry with them the risk that things can get better or worse for us. All choices have consequences. These consequences can be for our betterment or will work to destroy us. It is the duty and responsibility of every Christian to vote for leaders who promote Godly principles.
A Closing Thought
(Proverbs 6:16-17) – “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”
This study can be summarized by saying that God has given us the free will to choose who will lead us. He has also established through His Word, the kind of people that should be chosen. Once we make our selections, God will empower our choices to govern. God requires us to fully support our choices with prayer. Make your voice heard and choose wisely! Good choices will lead our nation closer to God!
- Do you trust the integrity of our nation’s voting system?
- Ideas to Explore: What do you base your opinion on? How trustworthy are those sources?
- Will a godly leader be better for the people than one who chases the world?
- Ideas to Explore: What is a godly leader? How can you tell?
- In your opinion, what is a godly leader?
- Ideas to Explore: What issues do they stand for? Have they enriched themselves off the backs of those they rule over? What are their families like?
- Would you trust today’s leaders with your soul?
- Ideas to Explore: When a godly leader is leading people toward God, that is a good thing, right?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations