Reading Deuteronomy 9 this morning, the issue of voting for the lesser of two evils came to mind. I've often struggled with the contention that a faithful Christian would never do such a thing. Some who take this position are quite sincere, others are quite self-righteous. It never seemed realistic or reasonable to me.
During the last presidential election some insisted they would never vote for Donald Trump because he was a serial adulterer. Still hear this, bound determined, may it never be, even in 2020. I asked myself, who will they vote for then? Hard decision when it seems the choice is between a horse thief and murderer. I confess, I sat that one out. Doesn't make me less of a concerned citizen. The insistence that voting is what makes us free is exaggerated at best, just plain false at worst. Is this all that is left of our liberties?
The insistence that a Christian never votes for the lesser of two evils strikes me as utopian perfectionism. Is there ever an ideal choice and would it really make a difference in the long process of Christ advancing His Kingdom? I doubt it. Is my gut telling the truth?
A Christian may never choose between the lesser of two evils but apparently God does. What choice does He have considering what there is to work with? Yes, that includes you and me, the self-righteous voter. David not only committed adultery, he conspired to murder the girl's husband so he could have her and, I suspect, to avoid political scandal. As far as I can tell, Trump never went that far though others before him may have at least come close. Even with all that, David was considered God's man of the hour. So were Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Ben Hadad and Jeroboam.
Consider too what God says about the generation of Israel who would conquer the land. Deuteronomy 9:4–6
“Do not think to yourself after the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my own righteousness the Lord has brought me here to possess this land.’ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out ahead of you. It is not because of your righteousness, or even your inner uprightness, that you have come here to possess their land. Instead, because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out ahead of you in order to confirm the promise he made on oath to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand, therefore, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is about to give you this good land as a possession, for you are a stubborn people!”
Sure sounds like the chosen people were the lesser of two evils in this case. Israel's history of stubborn disobedience is an uncomfortable and overlooked fact in some quarters where Israel appears to be worshipped more than Christ these days. And what of the Christian who refuses to vote for the lesser of two evils? Would he not also be disqualified? I, for one, would consider it a blessing not to be ruled by such.
Is God not able to control even the most wicked of rulers for His purposes? Apparently so.
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord like channels of water; he turns it wherever he wants.” Proverbs 21:1
Is there a ruler who gains his place and power without God's permission? Apparently not.
“Let the name of God be praised forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. He changes times and seasons, deposing some kings and establishing others.” Daniel 2:20–21
We have not touched on the question of God's grace in mercy in all this. We have been considering His sovereignty and divine providence. Trump is bombastic, overconfident and unrepentant, at least publicly. This last is what distinguishes him from David. But is he beyond the reach of God's mercy and grace? Trump is not the Messiah nor would he accept even the hint that he was. And that, my friends, distinguishes Donald Trump from his predecessor.
The conclusion of the matter, as far as I am concerned, is that Christ is still on his throne. He has not lost control of history. He still puts ‘em and takes ‘em down. That surely includes our presidents as well as the rest of the ruling class. We get whom He wants and sometimes that means the worst of them because. Frankly, we deserve it, perhaps most of all the Pharisees among us. Are not you and I included? Judgment begins with the house of God. It surely has been with us at least for the last few decades.
Now, I’m not about binding anyone’s conscience, just asking those who feel strongly about this to do the same by me.
- Roger Oliver
Roger Oliver serves as a missionary in Puebla, Mexico. He and his wife, Marcy spend most of their time at the Pierre Viret Learning Center, a Christian academy, preschool through high school. Their local church meets in the Learning Center. They sponsor a web page www.visionamericalatina.com to promote Christian reconstruction in Latin America. Roger is a partner in a furniture manufacturing company. The business exists to provide employment to the families in the community, to help the community become independent, to generate capital for other family businesses and as a venue for vocational discipleship. He retired from the US Army in 1992. He earned his MBA at Syracuse University for the Army and completed a ThM in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary.