Obviously, like in any area of life, we need to take into consideration what the whole Bible says about a situation, and not just limit ourselves to pet proof texts. Yes, our true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20), yet our marching orders from the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given, are to disciple all nations of the world (Mt. 28:18-20). Discipling includes applying His Lordship to every area of life - even the politics of this world (Rom. 11:36, 13:1-7; 2 Cor. 10:5).
So now back to the question about voting when no candidate is actually desirable. The framing of the question has a lot to do with how we answer this. If I say, we should vote for the lesser of two evils, aren't I actually saying we should vote - in some sense - for evil? And surely voting for evil cannot be something we're instructed to do, right?
But again, the framing of the question carries with it a lot of assumptions. In reality, except for Christ, all people - in and of themselves - are evil (Gen. 6:5, 8:21; Rom. 3:10-18). So taken in its full force, a vote for anyone but Jesus Christ would, in some sense, be a vote for evil.
So I'm not sure that framing the question in such a way is really all that helpful. But what if we frame the question like this: Should we vote for the best interest of our nation?
And I think in that, we generally have good Biblical reason to vote for someone, even if we recognize that they're not our most desired candidate.
But first, in a godly society where it is recognized by the vast majority that the Lord is the true King (Deut. 33:5; Prv. 26:29; Isa. 33:22), yes, we most certainly are to abstain from voting for any kind of candidate who would act contrary the Word of God in his role as civil magistrate.
"Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads" (Deut. 1:13).
The character of these men we ought to choose for ourselves is stated this way: "men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe" (Ex. 18:21).
Wise, understanding, experienced men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate a bribe? Yes, that's a tall order in a fallen world, but in the world of regenerate people God has made it a possibility.
However, what if the options before us do not have wise, experienced men who fear God and are trustworthy and hate a bribe? What do we do then?
Do we retreat and say, "well, after all, our citizenship is in heaven"? No!
Yes, we are exiles in this world (Heb. 11:13; 1 Pet. 1:1, 17; 2 Pet. 2:11); and so I think we would do better to reflect on what God has said to other exiles in undesirable circumstances:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."
You see, Jeremiah's audience only had two options: (1) stay under the leadership in Judah, or (2) surrender to the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 21:1-10).
In one option they would be submitting themselves to an unbeliever and pay with their lives and the lives of their children. In the other option they would be submitting to an unbeliever (who would later become a believer - Dan. 4:37), but by doing so would be submitting to their Creator-Redeemer God, submitting to a government that ultimately gave them the opportunity to live quiet and peaceful lives, and would be safeguarding a future hope for themselves and their children.
Yes, there were godly people in Judah who would have made great political leaders (consider Jeremiah and even Daniel, who - as it turned out - actually did become a great political leader). But realistically there was no third-party candidate option. And there was no option not to choose. It was clear they only had two legitimate options which God gave them: "I set before you the way of life and the way of death" (Jer. 21:8).
While it's clear that it is God who "rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Dan. 4:32), it's also clear that he gives His people responsibility in the matter (Dan. 4:27; cf. Jer. 21:8-10).
It's clear that had the Israelites stayed under the leadership of Jerusalem they, in a sense, would have been "voting for evil;" and yet had they surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar they also, in a sense, would have been "voting for evil." (At the time, Nebuchadnezzar was an ungodly man who did not fear the Lord.)
Yet it's equally clear that if they were thinking of how to "vote" (or in their case, stay or surrender) by thinking what would be the best for their family and friends and ultimately their nation, the choice was to surrender to the "lesser of two evils."
I'm not going to pretend it's easy. Voting is not easy; it's not simple, and it's not fun - not in a fallen world and in an ungodly society. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't vote.
The question before is not should we vote for the "lesser of two evils," but how will our vote be seeking the best (given the options) welfare of our families, cities, and our nation.
As I said previously about Trump, a vote in the GOP primaries for him would be a disaster. Yes, you might not agree with Cruz or Rubio or Kasich on certain things; but if you're seeking the good of our nation, Trump (a very ungodly man) is a disaster.
I realize some of the appeal for Trump. But don't vote with your wallet. Even if he has the best economic plans for growing business (I'm not saying he does), there are many other things to consider (the fact that you can't trust him being one of them).
But to give you an example, let us remember that Rehoboam proved to be a terrible economic leader, saying: "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke" (1 Kgs. 12:14 - talk about a great campaign).
Yet those who followed after the "greater of two evils," Jeroboam, proved to have the greater and swifter demise. It was Jeroboam who by his evil ways gave the greatest impetus for the nation of Israel to abandon their worship of the one true God (1 Kgs. 12:28ff).
Now regarding economic hardship vs. freedom to worship the one true God, the nation that had the greatest success (Judah) was the one that worshiped the one true God - where their success came when both the people and the leaders were doing what was "right in His eyes."
And so I encourage you to pray and think hard about this election; because to be honest, if it comes down to Trump and Clinton - I really have no idea who would actually give us better welfare for our families, cities, and nation.
I'd rather not be in that predicament; so for now, I encourage you to vote for Cruz, Rubio, or Kasich, none of whom are my favorites; but either of whom would give our families and nation better welfare for which we ought to seek.
The point is though - I think we need to vote in the primaries; and I think we need to do all we can to vote for someone who will keep Trump from being the GOP representative in the general election.
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
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