Recently someone asked if every government exists and the national leaders rule by God’s appointment. The answer was and is yes, but God allows us to vote for them and then we suffer the consequences of how we voted. 1 Samuel 8 tells us that Israel rejected God as their king and God gave them a king. The message is simple. God will let us choose our leaders, within some limitations. Therefore, how is your nation doing? Are the citizens of your country voting wisely and receiving a good result? If not, there are divine principles that every man and woman should follow. God has said that we reap whatever we sow. If we vote foolishly, we reap a foolish result.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 (NASB)
Remember we reap the results of how we vote.
Therefore, let us ask again, “how is your nation doing?” Citizens in nation after nation are experiencing politicians who lie, deceive, practice slander and insult their opponents in order to win elections. Whatever works is acceptable since winning elections is all that counts. In fact, lies are designed, tested and then used to manipulate people. If it works it is okay because the ends justify the means in the minds of these corrupt individuals. The fear of God is missing. But God is no fool. What a nation sows it shall reap.
Sadly, many do not vote based on biblical principles. Therefore, we should ask if God has given us any biblical principles for voting? The answer is yes and the purpose of this article is to provide four biblical principles to guide us when we vote.
Pray for Leaders to Protect Christians
The first biblical principles is found in the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB)
The opening three sentences of this prayer are focused on God the Father. Jesus tells us to start our prayer by asking that God be regarded as holy by every creature. Next we are to pray that His kingdom will come soon and we are to pray that His will be done upon our earth! That means we are to ask that God’s choice of leaders be elected in every nation.
1 Timothy 2:1-3 tells us how to pray for our leaders!
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior . . . 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NASB)
Here we are told to pray for every person in our country, including our leaders. It says for “all in authority.” That would include leaders at the national level and the leaders at lower levels. The purpose is so that Christians can live in peace and practice their faith in godliness and dignity. This is God’s will. This is the first and most important principle for a Christian. It is important to pray for our leaders since Christians are being persecuted in almost every nation.
Give Respect to Our Leaders
The second principle is that God desires every person, Christian or non-Christian, to respect their leaders and not oppose them. Christians are to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). Riots, protests and every resistance to governmental authority, even when the opposition party is in control, is displeasing to God. Notice that God does not tell us in Romans 13:1-2 to submit to our leaders only when we agree with them and approve of their policies.
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. Romans 13:1-2 (NASB)
It is important to notice that God says 1) rulers are established by God, 2) if we resist our leaders, we resist Him and 3) those who oppose our leaders will receive some form of punishment.
In Matthew 22:21 Jesus told the Pharisees, as well as us, to give what was due to Ceaesar. Why? Because He has placed them in their position.
They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21 (NASB)
If we fail to give honor to whom honor is due, then we are violating God’s will. In Romans 13:7 the Holy Spirit tells us to,
Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Romans 13:7 (NASB)
This is the same message that we found in Matthew 22:21, but notice the words tax, custom, fear and honor. Are to willing give these things. It is God’s will. We are not to speak evil of them. Acts 23:3-5 illustrates that we are not to speak evil of our political leaders because then we would not be giving them honor. Therefore, the second principle in voting for our leaders is to purpose to give honor to those who win the election.
The only time a Christian is to disobey their government and its leaders is when they command us to disobey God. Since God established them, they are supposed to submit to Him and not command us to disobey Him. Acts 4:19-22 and Acts 5:27-32 give us this principle.
Choose Leaders Who Suppress Evil
Romans 13:3-4 gives us the third principle we are to follow when voting.
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Romans 13:3-4 (NASB)
First, notice that the purpose of government is to suppress evil. Notice the last phrase of verse 4 give us the purpose of government. Government is to be an “avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” Governments that fail to suppress evil are violating the reason why God established them. Someone may ask why does God allow an evil national leader to exist? The answer is that even an evil leader will suppress evil and in fact he may do it better than a “good” leader. Those nations and government leaders who do not suppress evil will eventually be removed or eliminated by God.
The Old Testament repeatedly tells us that God punished the Israelites and other nations which were too evil (see Zechariah 1:15). If your country is aborting babies, persecuting Christians, practicing lying and rioting and perverting justice, then God will judge your nation and its leaders. It is just a matter of time. Therefore, we need to vote for political parties and leaders who are committed to suppressing evil. We need to vote against those who tolerate and even promote evil.
Vote for Leaders Who Are Not Wicked
The book of Proverbs helps us understand the fourth principle for voting. The first verse is Proverbs 28:15.
Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear
Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. Proverbs 28:15 (NASB)
Notice that the wicked ruler is condemned and he is described as being like a roaring lion and a rushing bear. Now someone will say that the politician is a roaring lion and a bear of a person, but that is not what the verse says. The point of the proverb is that a wicked ruler is very dangerous. He or she is just like a roaring lion and bear that is rushing at you. In both situations a person will run as fast as possible to get away. The message is that we should never vote for such a person. Also notice that the wicked may pretend to be concerned for people, but they actually oppress the poor.
The following proverbs continue the same message. They reveal that somehow the wicked person gains power since the individual is called a ruler. Today, that would mean people foolishly vote the wicked into office. Later the people discover he is wicked and the righteous hide themselves.
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
But when a wicked man rules, people groan. Proverbs 29:2 (NASB)
When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase. Proverbs 28:28 (NASB)
The next two proverbs contrast a good leader to a bad leader.
A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes. Proverbs 20:8 (NASB)
If a ruler pays attention to falsehood,
All his ministers become wicked. Proverbs 29:12 (NASB)
Both Proverbs 20:8 and Proverbs 29:12 tell us that a good ruler practices justice and seeks the truth. He is a just person who insists on objectivity and the punishment of evil doers. He himself speaks truth and not lies. What he says he will do – he follows through on his promises. He keeps his word and does not pretend to be a moderate when in fact he is a liberal or a conservative. He speaks the truth to his hurt. The overwhelming message is that he is not a wicked man.
A wise king winnows the wicked,
And drives the threshing wheel over them. Proverbs 20:26 (NASB)
Proverbs 20:26 adds that a good king removes the wicked person from his leadership team and drives them away. Those rulers who reject biblical principles and are anti-Christian are wicked rulers. In many countries today the political parties are typically divided for and against Christians and biblical principles. Therefore, the fourth principle is to vote for those candidates who are not wicked, believe in God and the principles He has given us in Scripture.
The sad truth is that most citizens do not know the hearts and policies of their leaders. It is common for leaders to conceal their true viewpoint on issues in order to be elected to office. Therefore, the first principle is the most important one. We are to pray for our country and its leaders and ask God’s guidance for whom we should vote. The second principle is to respect those in leadership. Remember in Matthew 22:21 and Romans 13:1-7 we are told to respect our leaders. At the time Jesus spoke the words in Matthew 22:21 and Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7, Caesar was the emperor of the Roman Empire. He was a wicked person. For them to set this standard while living under Caesar, demonstrated that we are to respect even evil leaders, because God places all leaders in their positions. The third principle is to vote for leaders who suppress evil because the primary purpose of government is to suppress evil and not to provide health care, retirement benefits, etc. The last principle is to vote for those who support biblical principles and are not anti-God. May God guide you as you vote.
1. John Calahan. Does God appoint evil leaders to lead nations?
Four Biblical Principles For Voting In Elections (PDF)