Posted by: reformedmusings | November 10, 2012

2012 Post-election thoughts

I generally agree with the assessment of our disastrous national election by Ron Paul. Yet, I don’t think that we should ever give up. The Patriot Post has a great article on the need to stay engaged. In fact, the election was so close that Obama barely attained a majority of votes – just 50.4%. Contrary to those greedy for power, that not a mandate, but bare survival.

The question as I see it is if we believe what the Bible, and by extension, the Westminster Standards teach concerning God’s  sovereignty and providence? From the Westminster Confession, chapter 3, paragraph 1:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

And from chapter 5, paragraph 1 of the same confession:

God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

So, what’s a Christian to do when confiscatory taxes, government handouts, sodomy, abortion, and drugs win at the ballot box? We should rest assured that God is absolutely sovereign and still in charge. God offers His thoughts on this in the Bible in multiple places.

Ancient Israel and Judah followed similar paths as we are doing now. They didn’t have elections, but people voted with their conduct, following after idols, sacrificing their children, and engaging in perversions contrary to God’s clear commands. God dealt with them by sending them into captivity. Then what did God tell the faithful to do during these judgements?

[4] “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: [5] Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. [6] Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. [7] But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”
(Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV)

The exiles were to live productive lives in their new environment and their faithful God would watch over them. Likewise, in Romans chapter 13, God tells us through the apostle Paul:

[13:1] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, [4] for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. [5] Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. [6] For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. [7] Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
(Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

Of what government was Paul writing? Rome. Rome was hardly the modicum of morality. And yet, while Rome was killing and exploiting large swaths of Europe and the Middle East, murdering its children and promoting sexual perversion, eventually torturing and murdering large numbers of Christians, the Spirit through Paul told Christians to pay their taxes and be model citizens. Paul knew that those taxes were going to activities that did not honor the Creator.

We live in a fallen world dominated by sin. Sin has consequences, but they aren’t always immediately apparent. That goes for nations as a whole as well as individuals. As Proverbs tells us:

[34] Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a reproach to any people.
(Proverbs 14:34 ESV)

God is not slack in His judgement. His timing is perfect:

[27] Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
[28] Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
[29] He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
[30] Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
[31] but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:27-31 ESV)

God is in charge and we must rest in that assurance. We must walk according to His Word and He will take care of the rest.

That doesn’t mean sit back and relax. In the American context, we have specific, God-given rights recognized (not granted) in our Constitution – freedom of speech and assembly, freedom of religion, to keep and bear arms, free from unreasonable search and seizure, the responsibility to vote, etc. We should work hard to keep these blessings and use all these to speak and vote our consciences in accordance with God’s Word. Don’t get lazy, neither should you despair.

Who knows that God hasn’t placed each Christian here for this very purpose (Esther 4:14)? We may not now nor ever understand it all (finitum non capax infinitum), but the Bible assures us that God is firmly in control:

[5] I am the LORD, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
[6] that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
[7] I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the LORD, who does all these things.
(Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 45:7 ESV)

Everything comes from God’s omnipotent hand, either directly or contingently, yet without God being the author of sin. The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, Job, Habakkuk, and of course Jesus Himself in Acts 2:32-33 all provide vivid examples of God’s providence over seemingly hopeless circumstances. They also show show how the will of the creature is not violated nor secondary causes obviated. Joseph says in Genesis 50:20 that his brothers meant their actions for evil, but God meant it for good and used them to accomplish His purposes. So, though God directs and disposes all things, we are responsible for our thoughts, words, and deeds, including our votes.

So let’s pick ourselves up, renew our efforts to recover this country from decadence and socialism to its glorious founding vision of individual liberty and responsibility, and glorify God in the process through our obedience to His Word. Get to it!

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Responses

  1. Ps. 37 is another great text along these lines, and it looks like a close parallel to the Isaiah 40 passage in many respects. Spurgeon’s commentary on Ps. 37, in his Treasuries of David, made for good reading today.

    • Hi Wayne,

      Thanks for the point-out. I’ll go back and take a look.

      This subject came up this morning in teen Sunday School. Keeping God’s sovereignty firmly in view helps dampen the disappointment in watching a country I served honorably for 30 years voluntarily taken down the toilet by people that never served and have no idea of the price of freedom. I’m starting to understand Jeremiah on a much more personal level.


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