(Missed the first post in this series? Check out ON BALLOTS & POMEGRANATES to get caught up.)
“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
–Acts 26:17-18 (NIV)
I don’t know what name to tell you to choose when the curtain closes behind you at the ballot station, but I do know if we close our ears to the Holy Spirit and allow the curtain to muffle our consciences when it drops, we just may get what we have asked for.
In all the talk these past six months, in all the condescending comments we’ve been subjected to or maybe even directed towards others, have we ever once . . .
- Advised our fellow believers to vote in a way that would please and honor the Lord and to trust Him with the outcome?
- Counseled others to think Biblically rather than strategically?
- Encouraged the timid to vote out of faith rather than fear?
- Challenged our own hearts to follow the Lord’s leading even if we know that we know that the name we put on that ballot will not win?
Or have we—like the Israelites who fled Egypt, who saw the dust rising on the horizon, who heard the drum of the hooves of their former captors’ horses, who demanded to go back to Egypt— demanded the only salvation we can see?
Have we—like the servant of Elijah who panicked when he saw he was surrounded by the King of Aram and his soldiers—become blinder than we realize, unable to see that more are with us than with “them”?
Have we—like Abraham who went against what he knew to be right to protect himself and his family— further eroded what we are trying to save by simply trying to preserve our lives, rather than entrusting them to the God we serve?
There is a reason we’re told NOT to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in the Lord with EVERY shred of our fearful hearts. There is a reason we are commanded to acknowledge our God with our words and ALL of our ways, even if we know it will land us smack in the middle of the lion’s den. There is a reason that sometimes, like the prophets before us, we are to speak the truth, even if we know we’ll be shouting against the wind. There is a reason that sometimes we’re called to walk away from any semblance of security, take up our cross and follow, even when it looks like obedience leads us right into the hands of our enemies, right into the arms of a raging sea.
Because, unlike our loving Father who sees the whole picture, we cannot.
He knows how easily we forget His sovereignty, how easily the salvation we can’t see coming tempts our fearful souls to grasp onto the closest anchor we can reach rather than the faith He commands us to walk in.
To love, honor and obey the Lord. To love others like we love ourselves. To do what is right. To help the oppressed, to protect the blood of the innocent, to defend the cause of orphans. To be men and women who recognize even the faintest whisper of Him because we walk not strategically, nor by worldly wisdom, nor sight, but by faith in the God who sees both what is behind and before us, what has been and what will be.
The results? We leave them up to Him. And though we may not be able to see our help coming, we trust He will use our humble attempts to seek, honor, and obey Him. We trust He’ll use them to heal our land, to bind our fickle hearts to Him, and to “make the church great again”.
SCRIPTURE FOR STUDY:
15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
10 By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. 18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth. 22 If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go.
4 It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
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.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
For we live by faith, not by sight.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
6 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Romans 8:31-34 (ESV)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.