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Nov. 05, 2012

Resting in God’s Sovereignty over Human Events, Including Election Day

Tomorrow is Election Day. Like many of you, I'll be very glad for the election season to be over.

If at this late date you are still wanting to think about who to vote for, check out any of the series of blogs I wrote in the last four weeks:

Or, you may wish to see my interview regarding the candidates that I did Saturday night at my home church with one of my pastors:

Regardless of the election results, let’s all pray for our president, our country and our world.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thankgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Proverbs 29:2 says, “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Let’s pray too for our churches. We may increasingly experience persecution in the years to come, as our belief in Scripture will continue to separate us from the culture around us. As Romans 8:28 indicates, God brings good things out of bad:

And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city. (Acts 8:1–8)

Note the church’s fruitfulness and even joy in the midst of persecution! If churches in American face more adversity in years to come, which I think we will, may we too experience greater zeal for Christ, fruitfulness, and joy in our Lord.

WorshipMay we pray too for those who will be back in the trenches bringing the gospel to the lost, and trying to save unborn children from being killed and women from having to endure the horrors of abortion. That's a hard job under any president. I thank God they're doing their work alongside the compassionate people who work all over the world to care for the needy of all kinds. It is our privilege to support all of these great causes.

Where should our focus be in the final hours leading up to the election? Certainly we should be trusting God and seeking his sovereign will for tomorrow’s outcome. Before the last presidential election, Albert Mohler wrote the article “A Prayer for America on Election Day,” which I encourage you to read. It includes some thoughtful points on praying for the election process.

There is great comfort in acknowledging and embracing Scripture’s teaching that God is sovereign over human events, including elections. In Isaiah 46:10, God says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Those who believe in a God who knows “the end from the beginning” can relax because even though they don’t know what lies ahead, their sovereign God does: Charles Spurgeon wrote, “There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of divine sovereignty.”

It might seem that acknowledging we aren’t in control would raise our level of fear. But that’s not true. Recognizing God’s in control should allow us to rest in His sovereignty. A spirit of fear and timidity is not from God (2 Tim. 1:7).

oceanNo matter what the outcome of tomorrow’s election, our hope should not be in America’s president. Nor should we give in to fear or hopelessness if the results are not what we hoped. (Things may not be as bad as we anticipated if it doesn’t go our way, and may be worse than we anticipated if it does go our way.) Our hope should be in a good God who is all-powerful, and who is working out his eternal plan. Scripture says, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Nations will rise and fall, but through it all, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2). “The LORD foils the plans of the nations....But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11).

Scotty Smith has written an excellent prayer that encourages us to focus our gaze on our sovereign Lord:

A Prayer about God’s Sovereignty and Gospel Sanity

 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, And he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Dan. 4:34-35

Scotty SmithAlmighty Father, I need to “bookmark” this passage and return to it often, even daily, for it doesn’t just tell the conversion story of a pagan King; it’s the ongoing story of my distractible heart. Pundits, social-media soothsayers and side-walk prophets abound, all clamoring for our attention. But we’re never more sane than when we raise our eyes toward heaven and focus our gaze on you. Navel gazing, circumstance watching and daily news fixating never serve us well.

“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it (Rev. 4:2). Father, help us to see and understand the glorious implications of the occupied throne of heaven, and the peace that comes from savoring your uncontested perpetual enthronement. Your dominion is the only eternal dominion. November elections and political insurrections; the world economy and temperature instability; earthquakes and oil leaks; multiplied conspiracies and grassroots rebellions… none of these things affect your reign one micro-bit for one nanosecond.

For your kingdom endures from generation to generation. There never has been, nor will there ever be, any nervous sweat, furrowed brows or anxious pacing in heaven. There will never be one moment of consternation or vexation in the corridors of paradise; no need for a plan B to emerge from the “big boardroom.”

CrossFather, you do as you please with the powers of heaven and the peoples of earth. We praise you for marshalling the powers of heaven for the salvation of ill-deserving rebels like us, and for the ultimate transformation of the entire cosmos. Though many tried to hold back your hand and many have arrogantly said, “What are you doing?” Nevertheless, you chose the sacrifice of your Son and the “foolishness” of the cross (1 Cor. 1:18) as the greatest demonstration of your sovereignty and grace.

The only King who could say, “Behold the world I have made,” is the only King who would say, “Behold the people for whom I die.” Father, the greatest sanity is gospel sanity. Keep us sane, Father; keep us gospel sane.

We choose to lift our eyes to heaven today and fix our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith; and we cry with unfettered, unabated joy, “Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a salvation!” May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. So very Amen we pray, in the mighty and merciful name of King Jesus.

Nanci and I are thanking God for His sovereign grace, and entrusting ourselves, our children and grandchildren, our churches and our country to His care and mercy.

Joining you in prayer, 

Randy's signature

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worship photo credit: Will Foster via photopin cc

ocean photo credit: ...-Wink-... via photopin cc

cross photo credit: magrolino via photopin cc

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