With the election just one week away and with our country seemingly as divided as it’s been in my lifetime, I found the following story helpful in redirecting my thinking toward God’s perspective.
Joshua, the leader who replaced Moses after his death, had just led the nation of Israel across the Jordan and into the Promised Land. A well-trained warrior, Joshua was on high alert. He knew he was officially on enemy territory. He was well aware that even though God had promised to give them the land, their enemies in the land had no intention of just rolling over for them. Many tough battles lay ahead.
A few days before Israel was to attack the well-fortified city of Jericho, Joshua ran into a man who faced him with a drawn sword. Joshua, uncertain of the man’s identity and allegiances, approached the man and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
The man’s response was not what Joshua expected: “Neither,” the man replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”
The commander of God’s armies was no small figure in the Old Testament. Most scholars agree that this was a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus.
Joshua got it immediately, as the Bible records that he fell face down on the ground in reverence.
He then asked, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”
Perhaps Joshua thought that this holy warrior was going to tell him the plans for taking Jericho. But again, he got an answer he wasn’t expecting.
The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (See Joshua 5:13-15).
As we approach the election, I believe many of us are asking the same question that Joshua did. I know many believers who are supporting Mrs. Clinton, and I know just as many who are voting for Mr. Trump. Christians in the U.S. are in no way aligned on who should lead us. Neither are we aligned on issues like abortion, immigration, gender identity and confusion, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and how to care for the homeless and weak in our society.
Many of us are asking God, “Whose side are you on?” And we’re thinking that we’ll have our answer on the evening of November 8.
The story above makes me think that perhaps we’re asking the wrong question. In fact I’m not sure our question of God’s allegiance matters at all. It may well be that God is asking us, “Whose side are YOU on?”
As Christ-followers, we don’t approach this election as Democrats or Republicans, conservatives or liberals, or even as Americans. At least, that is not how God sees us. From God’s perspective, we approach the election and our role in this nation as citizens of his Kingdom. Our only goal is the advancement of his cause. Our only allegiance is to our King.
And with that mindset, with that Kingdom perspective, it changes greatly how we approach November 8:
- While we vote our consciences, we must also pray for God to give us the leader that will best fulfill his purposes for our nation
- We must pray regularly for our next president, regardless of how we feel about him or her personally
- We must continue to pray for God’s Spirit to sweep through our nation
- We must work together as the church to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and repent of our collective evil before God
- We must pray that God will hear our prayers, forgive our sins and heal our land
- We must be salt and light in our land
- We must continue to declare the Good News of God’s Kingdom, and we must demonstrate that Kingdom with God’s power
- We must continue to seek justice in the land for those who cannot get it for themselves, and we must speak for those who have no voice
- We must encourage the church, using our respective spiritual gifts to insure that Jesus’ portion of His Bride in our country is healthy
- And we must remember that, as Isaiah promised, the government will rest on his shoulders and that there will be no end to the greatness of his Kingdom and to the peace he will bring (See Isaiah 9:6-7)
Friends, God is not an American God. His agenda for our nation can only be found in the agenda of his Kingdom. That’s his platform. He isn’t running for office; he is already ruling as our King. No election will change that.
And that again begs the question, “Whose side are you on?”