Elections, the voting process used by nations to choose their leaders, are expected to be free and fair. God reinforces this in His Word. In this study, we will journey through the Bible and see what message God has for us about exercising our right to vote. Proverbs 11:14 leads the way with a caution: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers”1NIV New International Version Translations. The process of elections, voting, is a right, bestowed to us through our Constitution. Solomon’s wisdom begins with the notion that many advisors, such as our nation has, can lead us better than one dictator or a king. The victory, however, is not about winning wars, it should be about finding God (Proverbs 14:34). More of Solomon’s wisdom tells us that “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity2duplicity: deceitfulness, double-dealing” (Psalm 11:3). The goal, therefore, is to find people of integrity who know God, and know how to lead a nation to Him. And by the way, we may need to fight a few wars to get there!
The word integrity comes from two Hebrew words, (tom and tummah). Biblically, integrity means “simplicity,” “soundness,” “completeness,” “upright,” and “perfection.” When used in (Proverbs 19:1; 20:7) it references one’s sincerity of the heart and intention, truthfulness, and uprightness. The word “integrity” does not occur in the New Testament, but its equivalents may be seen in words like “sincerity,” “truth,” and “pure heart.” God is calling us to find and elect people who are honest, sincere, and genuine (true to their character)3https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/integrity/.
There will never be any perfect candidates. However, we can get a sense of a person’s character through their words and how they behave. Once elected, they are not likely to act any differently. Character counts in leaders. Deceit, by the way, is not one of those human characteristics listed as a Godly asset. It is the responsibility of everyone who votes to do their best to find candidates with strong character. Need a checklist? Go back to the Bible and ask these questions: What does Christ value? What does He condemn? There is no better comparison for defining human character anywhere! Christ stands in sharp contrast to the wisdom of humankind (1 Corinthians 2:5-6). Need help recognizing Christ’s wisdom? Christ’s mind is revealed to us through the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-12; 15). When selecting candidates, the Holy Spirit matters!
What are a few things to look for when determining a person’s integrity?
- A history of taking responsibility for their good and bad actions (apologies).
- Placing the needs of others above their own (generosity).
- A willingness to help others who are weak and cannot offer them any benefit (compassion).
- Giving others the benefit of the doubt (somewhat the opposite of being a know-it-all).
- Choosing openness and honesty in all things even when it harms them politically (authentic).
- Showing respect to everyone, especially those without anything to offer them (inclusive).
- Humble (Proverbs 11:2).
- Ability to admit when they are wrong (accountable).
- A person with true integrity will always show up to an obligation (dependable, and reliable).
- They convey true kindness to others (generous).
We hear a lot of campaign slogans4https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._presidential_campaign_slogans these days, like “Make America Great Again” and “Build Back Better.” Most fit on a tee shirt and some even on a hat. But slogans don’t deal with the real issue affecting our nation, sin. Solomon is trying to tell us in Proverbs that the only thing that brings honor to a nation is its righteousness before God. If we stand together in sin, however, we will fall together, not rise. When we make our choices for leaders, our nation cannot brush over sin anymore. Redefining sin as pleasure or “personal rights” and then promoting it, gets more votes. However, it is a path to destruction. The foundations of our nation are crumbling because the sins of our nation are multiplying, even faster than the national debt!
There is no doubt that God will hold a nation and its leaders accountable for their actions. But there is a subtlety that is important not to miss. The people don’t get a free pass if they elect a poor leader! While the ultimate authority and sovereignty belong to God as the creator of all things, God holds us accountable for our votes. We can see how this works in God’s directions to Moses.
(Exodus 18:21-2) – “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”
In Deuteronomy, Moses explained that the people would play a role in selecting their leaders in the Promised Land. God would ultimately select the king. However, the people were tasked with confirming his selection. “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15).
Fools despise godly wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7). Later when the nation of Israel became mired in sin, God held the people partially responsible for the corruption and poor policies of their leaders (Isaiah 1:23). It’s a principle every citizen must take seriously as they step into a voting booth.
Apathy has no place in an election, and neither should we be anxious. The Bible reminds us that the evil acts of unrighteous leaders can never derail God’s sovereign plan. “There is no authority except that which God has established.” (Romans 13:1). Yet, half of all eligible voters do not exercise their constitutional right to vote. If we want better leadership and leaders who express godly wisdom and insight, we must rebuild the foundations of our country. And what is that cornerstone? It first begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10). So, when you vote, consider deeply your responsibility to elect a candidate who upholds God’s Truth. After the votes are counted, don’t panic. God is still on His throne regardless of who runs the nation. And then, pray for our leaders and the others who will advise them. The bureaucracy has more power than you think! Any leader, no matter how skilled, never leads alone.
- Satan is active in the public relations business. What are your sources for knowing candidates better?
- Ideas to Explore: Please don’t use the Internet, social media, or news media in your list. Now, where do you go to learn about the candidates that you vote for? Trusted advisors, trusted friends, or the all-powerful, common sense of your eyes, ears, and own observations.
- How do you rank the trait of leadership when they “do what they say?”
- How much does their style matter if they are true to their word?
- Look at the list we created for picking leaders – How many of today’s leaders meet those criteria?
- If they don’t, why are they elected? Do they cheat? Does the media lie? Are we too naive in our selections?
- Why wouldn’t our world be better if all its leaders respected God’s Truth?
- Any ideas? We elect fools over and over, why?
- The bureaucracy is the unelected portion of our government. How would you hold it accountable to the people?
- The bureaucracy stays on, election after election, they are the real power. How did they get this power?
- 1NIV New International Version Translations
- 2duplicity: deceitfulness, double-dealing