“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.”
In these verses, God warns against the sin of pride and self-promotion, and declares that He ultimately has the power to put one into a position or remove another. Although we clearly see and appreciate our privilege and duty as Christian citizens to pray and vote, we also realize that God’s will and ways may not always be apparent to us. As always, our responsibility and God’s sovereignty should not be seen as conflicting truths.
God has sometimes raised up leaders as a form of judgment upon or correction of a people. We see this truth in the way that God strengthened the mighty Babylonian Empire. The Lord even ordained that the reign of heathen leaders be a source of blessing to His people and an instrument to carry out His will. Such was the case of Cyrus, King of Persia. God raised him up to commission rebuilding efforts in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. The Bible tells us that God has such power and authority that He can just speak and raise up or put down entire nations. The Bible also teaches us that repentance, or lack of it, can absolutely influence the way God blesses or judges a nation or kingdom. In our lifetime, we have seen mighty nations weakened and others strengthened.
We certainly ought to do what we can to see godly leaders elected, but we must also trust God to work in and through governing officials to accomplish His will. Proverbs 21:1 tells us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersover he will.” God can influence the hearts of leaders according to His will. For this reason, we must consistently pray for our elected officials, trusting the Lord to guide them and use them. Romans 13:4 tells us that “he is the minister of God to thee for good” and I Timothy 2:2 instructs us to pray for those in authority “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We can influence those who govern us by informing them of our positions and holding them accountable for their decisions and actions. We also can trust the Lord to work through those whom He has permitted to be in positions of authority.