Summary: My HOPE however is not in my or your vote, but it is in God who with His unconditional love will use us to bring His way and will to our society. The Psalmist said some may trust in horses, some in chariots and it seems like some are trusting in our votes
God and Government
As we approach another national election in South Africa, once more there is a cry from the people of South Africa for good and godly people to be elected to the various offices of government at all levels. The Bible says that when good people run things, everyone is glad. But when the ruler is bad, everyone groans (Prov 29:2). We need good people to run things more than ever before in South Africa. However, if we are not willing to engage the political processes to achieve this then we should not complain when the rulers turn out to be bad.
Many people think that the phrase “a government of the people, by the people and for the people” was originated by Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysberg address. However Lincoln was quoting a man by the name of John Wycliffe whom God used to translate the Bible into English for the first time in 1382. Wycliffe used this phrase in the foreword to his first Bible translation. He knew that if Scripture could become the common property of all then personal and civil liberty would grow in his own country to the extent that the people would eventually break the yoke of tyrannical government and oppression. Up until that time only the educated, who were few, could read and access the Bible but Wycliffe understood that if you know the truth, the truth shall set you free. He gave his life to this cause and became the spark that ignited the Protestant Reformation of Europe.
The Word of God reveals many important tenets for government to function soundly and principles that will enable societies to nurture and preserve civil liberty. One of these is that rulers should be democratically elected. In Exodus 18:21 we read, “Moreover you shall select from all the people, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” While Israel was a theocracy (under God’s law) rather than a full democracy, the democratic process and idea that rulers should be elected does come from the Bible. This biblical idea has influenced many countries today that enjoy freedom and civil liberty that is unprecedented in history.
Jeremiah 29:4–7 (NLT)
4This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem:
5“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce.
6Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away!
7And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”
Jeremiah 29:7 (The Message)
7“Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare. “Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.