Samuel looked at the Jesse’s sons to see which one the Lord would choose as king to replace Saul. As soon as the prophet laid eyes on Jesse’s firstborn, Eliab, he thought, “Surely this is the one!” But then the Lord said, “Do not look at his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
I think Samuel learned a lesson that day, namely, that things are not always as they appear. I hope we have learned our lesson, as well, and will not choose the next president based on what our eyes see or what our ears hear. I pray that we do not choose a president because of fear. My prayer is that we will go into the voting booth this week and pull the lever for the candidate we believe will serve this country according to principles that best reflect biblical truth. Samuel was impressed with Eliab’s stature because, well, he just “looked like a king.” But God said, “I look at the heart.”
One reason for our downward slide as a nation is, in my opinion, we began electing men and women to office because of their promises instead of their character. I understand that it is human nature to judge a man based on his appearance and his speech, but there was a day in our country when that was less important than a person’s moral values and clear conscience. When we elect men or women to office because they speak well, we reveal the shallowness of our own thinking about who is best equipped to lead. When we base our vote on which candidate will do the most to make us more prosperous, we indict our own hearts for selfishness and greed. When we pull the lever for the man or woman who will load us down with entitlements rather than lead us, we betray our own misguided motives about what government was first created by God to do.
This is a difficult year to judge a candidate for the Oval Office based on character, isn’t it? But I urge you to resist the temptation to throw up your hands and decide you will sit this one out. To those who read this column and who belong to Jesus Christ, I would ask…What is our responsibility as Christians? I believe as we approach an election, we are first called to pray and ask the Lord for wisdom about the candidates. Every one of them is a sinner, just as we are, and the job of Messiah is already taken. None need apply. Ask the Lord to show us all which sinner He has chosen to lead this nation. Second, go and vote. Once. Finally, whatever the outcome, pray for those who have been elected. Paul wrote, “First of all, I urge that supplications… be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
Plato said, “The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men (and women) worse than themselves.” May God give us wisdom and humility to be able to see what He sees, and to base our vote on the principles of the candidate, not on the appearance or the speech or the promises of a man or a woman. And may God have mercy on this nation.