Summary: Discussion of the guidelines we should use when chosing which candidate to vote for.

Election Day Confusion

1 Samuel 16:1-13, "The LORD said to Samuel, ’How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’ [2] But Samuel said, ’How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.’ The LORD said, ’Take a heifer with you and say, ’I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ [3] Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.’

[4] Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, ’Do you come in peace?’

[5] Samuel replied, ’Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.’ Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. [6] When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ’Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.’

[7] But the LORD said to Samuel, ’Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’

[8] Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, ’The LORD has not chosen this one either.’ [9] Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, ’Nor has the LORD chosen this one.’ [10] Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ’The LORD has not chosen these.’ [11] So he asked Jesse, ’Are these all the sons you have?’ ’There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered, ’but he is tending the sheep.’ Samuel said, ’Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.’

[12] So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, ’Rise and anoint him; he is the one.’ [13] So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power."

Would you vote for someone like Eliab if he were running for public office today? He was an impressive Old Testament character. His father, Jesse, was an important, righteous man in Bethlehem. Eliab could lay claim to the same prestigious lineage as his younger brother David. Besides being the eldest male in the family, he was a tall and handsome man to boot. Surely, we would vote for such a person to be our leader. After all, the famous prophet, Samuel, did!

But the Lord reminded Samuel in verse 7, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

Most of us will soon be deciding whom to vote for in the election this Tuesday. Besides choosing who we want to represent us in congress, the senate, and other public offices, we have the duty and privilege of voting for the next leader of the most powerful nation on earth.

It’s such an awesome privilege and responsibility that it makes me wish God would speak to us as clearly as He did to Samuel in verse 12 when David was brought before him. God said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." Wouldn’t it be great if God would do that today? If the minute we stepped into the voting booth God whispered in our ears, "Vote for this one. He is the one."

I’m not saying God doesn’t or can’t do that today. It’s just not happened in my own personal experience, nor have I heard anyone else having such an encounter. No, usually God provides us with all the information we need to make a sound choice for leadership that pleases Him. But then He steps back and let’s each of us make our own choice. It’s that free will thing again. He gives us everything need and every opportunity to learn, but then He still allows us to make our own choice. He won’t force us to vote for a certain candidate any more than He’d force us to repent of sin and obey His Word.

That is necessary and good. It exhibits God’s respect for man’s individual freedom of choice. But it can also be down right frustrating when you aren’t sure which way God is leading, when you haven’t received all the information you need to make the right choice. A great big sign lighting up the heavens with the name of the candidate God wants you to choose sure would be nice at times like that. But since I’ve yet to see or hear anything of the sort, we must come to our decision another way.

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