It’s been several weeks since I’ve last written. Part of that has been intentional. Part of it is information fatigue. I had planned to remind us who is in charge following the 2020 Presidential election. But of course it’s 2020 and the election did not go smoothly. There has still not been a concession by President Trump, but the Electoral College met this week to elect Joe Biden the 46th President of the United States. (As an aside, I’m going to avoid discussion of voter fraud, electoral malfeasance, or any other allegations. For the purpose of this blogpost, they are beside the point).
Some of you reading this are terribly disappointed. You are disappointed that your preferred candidate didn’t win. Others of you are disappointed that your preferred candidate hasn’t acted with more dignity. Others of you are disappointed that the lesser of two evils options has resulted in a political platform that adopts anti-biblical values. As Christians, we should all be more disappointed in the moral direction of our country than in the results of an election.
I repeat my title question, “Where is your hope?” Does your hope rely on a presidential election? A political direction? A platform that appeals to your values? Or does your hope rest somewhere deeper?
I believe in the authority and testimony of Scripture. Over 1500 years and 40 authors, God inspired the books of the Bible to relate to us his story of Sovereignty and Redemption. Let me encourage you with a few reminders of God’s sovereignty over nations, kings, and leaders.
- God used Joseph in Egypt as a slave who would become the counselor to Pharaoh in order to rescue his chosen people (Genesis 39-50).
- God sent Moses back to Egypt to command Pharaoh to let the people of Israel go. When he refused, God revealed his authority over the Egyptian deities with plagues and rescued his people from slavery (Exodus).
- God authorized Joshua to take the Promised Land and serve as an instrument of judgment on the Canaanite peoples for their idolatry, depravity, and wickedness (Genesis 15:16; Joshua).
- God raised up David as King in Israel who would lead the people of Israel to worship God alone (1-2 Samuel).
- God sent prophets to Israel’s kings and Judah’s kings promising judgment and justice if they failed to repent (1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, see also the major and minor prophets).
- God raised up Assyria to judge Israel (2 Kings 17) for their failure to repent and Babylon to judge Judah for their failure to repent (2 Kings 24).
- God raised up Cyrus to send the people of Judah back from exile (2 Chronicles 36).
This list is not isolated. God has intervened in the affairs of mankind revealing his sovereignty and rule over kings, nations, and leaders. God rules over nations and leaders (Isaiah 40:15-17; Psalm 98). Daniel affirmed to King Nebuchadnezzar that God raises up world leaders and sets them down (Daniel 2:21). Jesus affirmed the same thing when he stated that Pilate’s authority came from above (John 19:11). Again, this is just a sample of the Scriptural claims on political authority.
The Bible is clear: world leaders are all subject to divine sovereignty. Leaders, kings, presidents, legislators, judges, and counsels do not operate in isolation. They are subject to the sovereign plans of the King of kings and Lord of lords. What is fascinating about biblical history is that God used both the godly and the wicked for his purposes. He used Joseph, David, and Solomon. But he also used Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, and Pilate. God’s sovereignty does not end with a presidential election, a change in government, wars, divisions, or pandemics. God is sovereign and in control. And this truth gives us hope.
The biblical affirmations about God’s rule in the world should lead us to several important applications.
- We must rejoice in the Lord’s rule as King and Judge (Psalm 98).
- We must trust in the Lord’s plans and purposes (Isaiah 26:1-6).
- We must pray for whomever God has placed over us politically (1 Timothy 2:1-7).
I know this year has not been easy, but let us remember that our hope is found in a Sovereign Lord.