This sounds a lot like what I wrote in July, but with the elections upon us I’m willing to be redundant.
I’m disappointed by how few Christian leaders I’ve heard calling us to serious prayer for these elections. Many readily share their own wisdom and analysis, although rarely from a humble, God-dependent posture. Whether their conclusion is right or wrong, this approach troubles me.
God is not sitting in heaven wringing His hands over whether we’ll vote for the right candidate. He establishes the rulers (Dan 2:21). He wants our hearts more than our votes. But that doesn’t justify apathy on our part. We have been given stewardship over this planet and have been placed in nations and communities where we can live out that stewardship. However, God is clear throughout scripture that we’re to execute that stewardship in dependence on Him. Attempting to do it on our own guarantees failure, no matter how good our solutions. Our best wisdom cannot override hearts that have been hardened against us. Only God can change hearts, and He generally chooses to do that only when we ask. That’s the power of prayer.
God’s promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 captures a theme throughout scripture about how God engages with man:
- …if my people who are called by my name
- humble themselves, and
- pray and
- seek my face and
- turn from their wicked ways,
- then I will
- hear from heaven and will
- forgive their sin and
- heal their land.
(ESV, emphasis mine)
This isn’t a call for unbelievers to get their act together. This is a call for God’s people to acknowledge our inability to solve our own problems — moral, relational, economic, security, education, or any other — without God’s intervention. The same effort will have a different result depending on whether it’s done in our own strength or by looking to God first and always. God makes this case to the disobedient Israelites in Haggai 1:
You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes…You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away.
Contrast that with the promise of Malachi 3:
…put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.
It’s past time for American Christians to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways of trying to heal our land with our own strength and wisdom instead of with the power of God.