This is the eighth in a series of posts taken from With Christ in the Voting Booth, Chapter One, Part Three.

The book of Esther is an unusual book in the canon of Scripture. God’s name is not mentioned even once. Yet, His guiding hand is there at every stage: at one time, turning hearts; at another, changing circumstances. Envy had motivated Haman to conceive a two-fold plan that would cause the king to hang righteous Mordecai on the gallows he built, and destroy God’s people with a mischievous decree. But God would not allow Haman’s plans to bear fruit. I quote this at length because nearly every detail displays the Providence of God:

On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king. And it was found written, that Mordecai had told of Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, the keepers of the door, who sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. And the king said, “What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?” Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, “There is nothing done for him.” And the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s servants said unto him, “Behold, Haman standeth in the court.” And the king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, “What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour?”

Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself? And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delighteth to honour, Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: And let this apparel and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the king delighteth to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” Then the king said to Haman, “Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that thou hast spoken.”

Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour.” And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. (Esther 6:1-13)

It is not necessary that God be mentioned in this book to know that His hand is present. Every word oozes with the wisdom and justice of God. When later in the book we are told Haman was hanged in the noose he had prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:9,10), it is according to what the Scripture says elsewhere in Psalm 7:15-16: “He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.”

Just in case we missed the point, God also turned the blessing Haman had intended for himself, into a blessing for Mordecai. The greater the hutzpah Haman displayed in being so arrogant and extravagant in desiring his own honor, the greater the blessing redounded to Mordecai.

Application in the Voting Booth

First, we must confess that it is God who picks our presidents, not us. This will keep us and our leaders humble before God.

Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalm 75:5-7

Second, Christian candidates and their supporters should be careful not to promise more than they can deliver. Our political history is littered with single-term politicians who made campaign promises they could not or did not keep. Do you remember when George H.W. Bush said “Read my lips, no new taxes!”? When he reneged, the voters said “bye-bye.” It wasn’t just that Bush raised taxes; it was that he couldn’t be trusted to be a man of his word.

Third, since God uses means, it behooves us then to recognize that God has given those of us who live in a democratic republic a great privilege and responsibility to vote in a way that is pleasing to God:

As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord. Ephesians 6:6b-8

If we vote, we must vote in a way that honors God and shows His character (1Co. 10:31). We will return to this theme again in later chapters and determine if a Christian is required to vote.

Fourth, we should be careful not to presume upon the future. Be wary of anybody who says they absolutely know their favorite candidate will win. No, they don’t. God’s sovereignty is brought before us again in the following passage:

Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. James 4:13-16

In recent decades, several candidates who seemed to have great potential for high office ended up making other plans because a scandal, a gaffe or some incident from their past derailed their candidacy. One candidate brags about his faithfulness to his wife to the press, and shortly afterward the same press published what appeared to be unseemly pictures of himself with another woman on a private yacht. [1] Another discovers that the mere accusation of crying due to a slight against his wife can cause the voters to turn against him.[2]  One ill-spoken word or unveiled secret from the past can help determine who our leaders will not be.[3]

Fifth, the sovereignty of God is not to be acknowledged only during election seasons. Even as leaders reign, the Word describes the Lord’s ruling through them and their accountability to Him. Psalm 2 requires that kings, just like everybody else, bow the knee to Jesus. One major premise of Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex (or The Law and the Prince) was that kings do not stand above the law. It is said in our culture that we believe in the rule of law. We should, therefore, be suspicious of Congress when it exempts itself from laws pertaining to insurance, banking rules or insider trading.

And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren. (emphasis mine) Deuteronomy 17:18-20a

Last, we must admit that God’s purposes are not the same as ours. He may intend to judge a nation or to chastise the church. Or it may even be to bless her in some way. Scriptures show that God even raises pagans such as Pharaoh, Cyrus and Darius for His own glory or the protection of God’s people (Rom. 9:17, 2Ch. 36:22-23, Ezra 6:7-12).

[1]  Gary Hart

[2]    Edmund Muskie

[3]    George Allen, Thomas Eagleton, Herman Cain

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