Hebrew Highlights 138 - Voting
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
1SA 9:2, “And Kish had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.”
Israel’s first king certainly looked the part. It’s no wonder the media today flashes picture after picture of the candidates, sometimes using camera angles and particular shots to make a particular man look more palatable.
In the recent elections in Afghanistan, where some 90% of the people are illiterate, voters made their choices by checking a box next to a photo.
However, just as you cannot tell a book by its cover, you cannot size up a man by his physical looks. Let’s take a look at how the “election” of Israel’s first King took place.
1SA 10:17-21, “Thereafter Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah; and he said to the sons of Israel, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians, and from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.' "But you today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, 'No, but set a king over us!' Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans." Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken. And Saul the son of Kish was taken.”
If you have a basic knowledge of Biblical history, you already know that even though God equipped Saul with the anointing he needed to govern, the king made a lot of mistakes and disobeyed direct orders from God. Some of his decisions were made out of greed, and others in an attempt to please the people.
Let’s see what happened next. 1SA 16:1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons."
1SA 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Even though Samuel had anointed Saul, he was chosen by lot. This could be compared to throwing dice or drawing straws. In those days it would have been seen as a democratic process, and therefore compares to today’s elections.
However, when it came time for a new king to be chosen, God had a different idea, as we see in the following passage. 1SA 16:10-13, “Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are these all the children?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep." Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here." So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.”
In most Western countries today, the leaders do not have the absolute power afforded to kings. However, their decisions still affect the lives of their people, and in some cases, the population of the entire world.
I believe that God will use any leader a people chooses, and will at least offer the tools needed to govern well. Yet, he will not push His will on anyone. Just as in the case of Saul, the king, or president, or prime minister might choose to ignore God, and therefore suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences will be passed on to every citizen under his authority.
As voters, we need to try to make our choice through God’s eyes. If possible, we need to explore the heart of our candidate. Does he seek God for guidance? Does he believe in the basic tenants of the Bible? Does he openly express his faith?
If none of the candidates in a particular election posses any of these Godly characteristics, then we need to get on our knees and pray for our country.
However, if one candidate sticks out as God’s most likely partner, we need to support him in every way. We need to pray. We need to vote. We need to pray again.
Shalom Shalom from Jerusalem