Exiles, Presidents, and Voters

Much like everyone else in the United States, I have been wrestling with what to do in November. There are many voices and competing claims. It often seems that there is little hope of making a good and wise decision. When it comes down to casting a vote it seems as though whichever way one goes will be to bow down Nebuchadnezzar and his golden image (Daniel 3).

What do we do? What do I do?

I think that before an answer of “who to vote for” can be given we must first answer “who am I?”

Our identity determines how we respond in these kinds of moments. So who am I? Ultimately, I am who the Bible tells me I am because I am a follower of Jesus.

Peter offers us some help in the second chapter of his first letter,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

— 1 Peter 2:9-12

Who are we?

  • a chosen race
  • a royal priesthood
  • a holy nation
  • a people for his (God’s) own possession
  • God’s people
  • recipients of mercy
  • sojourners
  • exiles

This is who followers of Jesus are.

There are a couple of things that I don’t want you to miss. First, the follower of Jesus is part of a holy nation. This holy nation is not bound by geographic borders. It is not bound by ethnicity. It is bound by faith, it is marked out as those who receive mercy. This holy nation is not our nation or anyone else’s, it can simply be known as the “Kingdom of God.” This is where the Christian’s ultimate loyalty lies, with the people of God in the Kingdom of God. We can not be caught up in nationalism or globalism.

Second, we are sojourners and exiles. We are not yet in our home country. We are much like the Pevensies in Narnia. Though Narnia felt like home and they became comfortable there, their real home was elsewhere. When the people of God were sent into captivity, exiled, they were told by God to make homes for themselves, engage in business, and live, yet retain their identity as his unique people. There is no difference now as there was then. This place we live in is not our home. It’s not where we really belong. We belong in the kingdom with our King.

How does this help? First, it centers us and orients us to where are loyalties ultimately lie. They are with Jesus and none else. He is our true North. The follower of Jesus must fix her eyes on the King and start there. Second, it frees us from the constraints of the expectations of others. We are free to follow Jesus. As we follow him we learn to embrace his reality.

When it comes to the arena of politics we can know with certainty this one thing:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

– Romans 13:1

Whomever wins the election in our country or any other have been allowed to do so by God. This should give us great relief. There is nothing that surprises God. The one who wins is his man or woman for this time. Therefore, we are commanded to pray…

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings 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. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Let us embrace our identity as sojourners and exiles by giving our loyalty to our one and only king, Jesus. Then, let us pray for those earthly leaders whom he appoints over us.

How should you vote? For whom should you vote? That I can’t tell you. What I can tell you is this: Pray. Study. Learn. Listen. Then, vote as one who knows that they are voting as ambassador for Jesus. 

from The Subversive Journey http://danielmrose.com/2016/08/04/exiles-presidents-and-voters/
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