I’ve always thought of myself as a “rational voter”. Instead of being swayed by election rhetoric and controversies, I’ve always tried to focus on what I believe should ultimately win my vote: who can do a better job. (And I really mean this in a neutral sense, so please don’t try to guess my inclination!)
So it was a shock to me when I found myself wavering during a recent conversation with a friend. As we were discussing some of the people being fielded by the various political parties, I found myself saying things like, “Oh, I can’t stand him. I’d never vote for him.”
Suddenly, it seemed, my vote depended purely on the personality of the candidate—and not his capability, that of his party, or even his stand on issues. After all that deep discussion about who could do a better job in parliament, I could well end up voting for a face that I simply liked—or against one I didn’t.
Of course, it’s hard to get away from such thoughts, given that politics is all about people. After all, it’s about getting the right people to lead other people to make people’s lives better. The problem is, all of us are not immune to sin, failings, flaws, and mistakes.
And it’s not just the people standing for election; voters are equally susceptible. Some have joked that our vote can sometimes be swung one way or the other by which side of the bed we woke up.
The Bible is full of good leaders who were men after God’s heart and who had sincerely sought to obey and be faithful to their calling. Yet many of them tripped up at some point. If David, Moses, Elijah, or Peter had been campaigning at their points of failure, they would have lost my vote.
Not that their followers were any less vulnerable. The Israelites were prone to switching allegiances between kings, prophets, and leaders, and even faster to turn away from God.
No wonder Elijah once scolded the Israelites: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). And the psalmist observed in Psalm 146:3: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.”
The same psalm went on to compare man’s unreliability and fickleness with the sovereignty and faithfulness of God:
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever…
The Lord reigns for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
(Psalm 146:6, 10)
Only God is truly righteous, reliable, and unchanging. We can rest in the rock-solid truth that He is sovereign and in control over all that happens.
The reality is, ultimately, both voters and leaders are far from perfect. As we continue to listen to the campaigns, make our decisions, and head to the polls, may we always look to God, knowing that He rules us all in His righteousness and sovereignty. May we learn to look beyond people and personalities, and seek to do what is right in His eyes.
Lord, help us to decide wisely and rightly
as we continue looking to You for guidance,
knowing You are in control of our nation.