by Dale Reeves
An NBC News poll recently revealed that 75% of American voters are discontented with the state of our country and feel that we are “heading in the wrong direction.” President Biden’s approval ratings continue to remain low, gas prices and inflation continue to remain high. In this poll, over half of the respondents, 58% said they feel “more worried that America’s best years may already be behind us,” while 35% feel more confident the best years are still ahead. I would have to put myself in the 58% category unless America would decide to obey the mandate we see in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (NIV).
Of course, we recognize that these words were not written about America, though they are often quoted as if they are about our nation. Rather, these words were inscribed in a book that “chronicled” the history of God’s people, primarily focusing on the southern kingdom of Judah after their exile in Babylon in 586 b.c. The author (most scholars believe to be the scribe Ezra) was more concerned with telling the story of King David’s descendants, focusing on how faithfulness to God’s law was rewarded with God’s blessings, but corruption and unrighteousness led to the downfall of the nation and the favor of God being taken away.
Many of Judah’s kings were evil. Some of Judah’s kings started off leading in a way that honored God, but then fell away from him. Others strayed, but then later repented, such as Manasseh (see 2 Chronicles 33). A few kings, such as Hezekiah and Josiah, were honored with the epitaph, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 29:2; 34:2). The Jews returning from exile in Babylon needed a reminder of who their God was, how he worked, and the obedience he expected from them. History provided the best lesson for them.
The Here and Now
I wonder, when history looks back on those who were recently elected to various political offices in our country, of which ones could it be said, “He [or she] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”?
When we go to the polls and vote as citizens of our country, and more importantly, if we are part of the citizenship of the kingdom of God, it is our job to discern which leaders will lead in a way that honors God. All throughout the history of God’s Word, it was evident that when God’s people put God first and showed their commitment to worshiping him and him only, God poured out his faithfulness and favor on them. We know according to God’s Word that a time is coming when the kingdom of God will be established over all the earth, but until Jesus returns to this earth, we must live in the “here and now.”
There are many issues on which our country is divided—abortion, immigration, crime, same-sex marriage, and education, to name a few. Voter turnout in this midterm election was high, including 44 million who voted early, up from 39 million in 2018. Even as some of the races are yet to be decided, determining which political party will have control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, this past week several “firsts” occurred:
Republican candidate Katie Britt, 40, was elected as Alabama’s first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Fifty-eight women so far have served as U.S. senators since the first was elected in 1932. Britt said that she would be the only female Republican with school-age children in the Senate, pledging to build a better future for young people and calling 2022 “the year of the parent.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders was elected as governor for Arkansas, making her the first woman to hold that position in the state.
Democrat Wes Moore, 44, has also made history as Maryland’s first black governor. He is only the third black governor elected in the nation’s 246-year history.
Democrat Maxwell Frost, at age 25, is the first member of Generation Z elected to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Democrat Maura Healey, winner of Massachusetts’s gubernatorial race, is the first lesbian to be elected governor.
Democrat James Roesener, 26, of New Hampshire, was the first openly transgender man to be elected to any state legislature in U.S. history.
The Now and Not Yet
Speaking of history, this is the second time that Democrat Raphael Warnock’s bid to stay in the Senate in Georgia has gone to a runoff. The state of Georgia is only one of two U.S. states with both a runoff for both primary and general elections. Under Georgia election law, if no candidate obtains over 50% of the vote, a runoff is triggered, and the top two candidates will face off again in a new election held four weeks after Election Day. So, a December 6 runoff is slated for incumbent Warnock and his Republican opponent, former college football player and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker. This is seen as a very crucial contest since it may tip the scales regarding which party will have control of the Senate the next two years.
Regardless of who wins the runoff election, and whether or not your preferred candidates won their races, I would suggest that our guiding principle as we pray for our local, state, and national leaders (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4) should be that this could be said about them:
“He [or she] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
Being in leadership is not easy. It is not for the faint of heart. May God help those who seek to lead in various positions in our country purely for selfish ambition and monetary gain, rather than for serving the people, and most of all, living to honor God in all the decisions that are made. The Bible makes it very clear. When we choose to be called by God’s name, we must humble ourselves, pray and seek God’s face, and repent from any wicked ways. Until such time as God calls us to our heavenly home, it is our job to live as salt and light in the “here and now”—a dark world bent on seeking a direction that is contrary to God’s will and his ways.
While he was suffering in a Roman prison, weary and wondering when he might lose his life for Christ, the apostle Paul wrote these words to the church. I think they are good words for us to abide by in these days:
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.”
—Philippians 2:14-16, NLT
“Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
—Philippians 3:20, NIV