Announcer: Hello and welcome to the Taco Tuesday Theology Show with your host, Danny Powell! For many of us, going through life in an increasingly secular world is proving a challenge to navigate. Each week, we take your questions about modern life and answer them using the lessons revealed in the scriptures. Now, grab yourself a taco and let’s get to this week’s question!
Question: Hi, this is Steve from Nacogdoches. A lot of times we are faced with political issues and one of the questions a lot of people have is if I must choose between the lesser of two evils, I’m still choosing evil. How do we deal with that?
Danny: I hear this statement, that we’re being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, I understand that within the political realm, someone is trying to define their opponent or give one a reason as to why they’re going to vote the way they are to not offend someone. However, the problem here is anytime you have to choose between people, you’re going to be choosing between less than morally perfect people. The Bible is very clear about this. King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 7:20; Surely, there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord says
“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness’s are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
That word filthy is a translation of the Hebrew word iddah, which means “the bodily fluids from a woman’s menstrual cycle.” Therefore, these “righteous acts” are considered by GOD as repugnant as a soiled feminine hygiene product.
In first John 1:8, we read, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8, NKJV)
We are all less than perfect. The last perfect person to come into the world was nailed to a tree and crucified. Speaking of Jesus, we read in John 2:23 to 25:
Scripture reading (Rachel): “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.”
Danny: He knew what was in a man.
In Jeremiah, we read, “”The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Learning from Scripture the state of humanity, one wonders how do we deal with it? Even only voting for fellow Christians isn’t the answer because almost daily, about the moral failures of our religious leaders.
Ultimately, we need to let God choose who will serve him. The first patriarch of the entire nation of Israel is Abraham. You often hear in the Scriptures about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac, the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of 12 sons who go on to birth the 12 tribes of Israel. Abraham was picked by God to be the father of many nations. In Genesis 13, God told him:
“Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
Later in chapter 15, God numbers Abraham’s heirs as numerous as the stars in the heavens. Here a man is chosen by God. Was Abraham morally perfect?
Of course not! Right off the bat, Abraham falls short by having an extramarital affair with his wife Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar, and has an illegitimate child with her. Then we read in Genesis chapter 20:
Scripture reading (Rachel): “And Abraham journeyed from there to the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, and stayed in Gerar. Now Abraham said of Sarah, his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Indeed, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.” But Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, “Lord, will You slay a righteous nation also? Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she, even she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands I have done this.” And God said to him in a dream, “Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not let you touch her. Now, therefore, restore the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” So Abimelech rose early in the morning, called all his servants, and told all these things in their hearing, and the men were very much afraid. And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? You have done deeds to me that ought not to be done.” Then Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you have in view, that you have done this thing?” And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place, and they will kill me on account of my wife. But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. And it came to pass when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is the kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.” ‘”Then Abimelech took sheep, oxen, and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and he restored Sarah, his wife to him. And Abimelech said, “See, my land is before you; dwell where it pleases you.” Then to Sarah, he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; indeed, this vindicates you before all who are with you and before everybody.” Thus she was rebuked.”
Danny: If Abraham, the patriarch of the entire nation of Israel, the man that God promised his descendants would number more than the stars in the heavens and all of the dust in the land of Canaan, were running for political office today, could you vote for him? He’s an adulterer, and he’s a well-known liar. Earlier in Genesis, Abraham lies to Pharaoh about his wife Sarah being his sister but not his wife. Then after those two scandals, we discover that she *IS* his half-sister! Leviticus 18:9 specifically prohibits a man having sex with the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother, so now we can add incest to his list of qualities. Indeed the god-fearing man could not vote for a man with so many moral failings. No matter who Abraham was running against, he’d be one of the evils you were choosing.
Should the Christian even participate in politics if I’m always going to be choosing between the lesser of evils? Why bother at all?
I will tell you that followers of Christ need to engage our society. Jesus commands us to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. We need to live as righteous as we are able with God’s help, and one of the ways we influence and engage our society is by voting. Proverbs 28:12 says:
“When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked rise, men hide.”
When choosing whom to vote for, we need to not look so much at an individual’s moral failures that are no more egregious than our own, remember, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but whether or not that person is the one God would choose to do His will. That can be difficult, but we can usually find common ground with a person based on the values they espouse. I’m trying not to be political in this podcast, but a good example is the abortion debate. I get criticized for being a “one-issue voter.” The argument goes, “if the candidate believed in everything else you believed in except that, could you vote for that person?” The answer is moot because someone that believes in killing babies is most likely not going to agree with most of the other issues important to me! I have yet to hear from that candidate.
We need to choose candidates that share our common Christian beliefs. Proverbs 14:34 tells us:
“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”
Rather than phrasing the issue as choosing between the lesser of evils, frame the question in your mind as selecting the one closest to God’s will. If you aren’t sure you know what God’s will is, I discussed how to hear and discern the will of God in episode 1 of the Taco Tuesday Theology show. You can find it in the archives on our web site.
Regardless of the outcome of elections, we must understand that God is sovereign and in control of the situation. Paul writes in chapter 13 of the letter to the Romans,
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”
Earlier I mentioned Abraham. I could have used other examples of flawed men that carried out God’s will. Jacob, the father of the 12 tribes, used trickery to steal his brother’s blessing and inheritance. Moses murdered a man. The Apostle Matthew was certainly not a man the average Jew would have voted for; he was a Roman collaborator, a traitor to his country! Yet, God chose him. Paul, who wrote around two-thirds of the New Testament and framed the majority of our theology, persecuted the early church. The other Apostles were afraid of him when Paul arrived in Jerusalem because they thought he was there to kill them. None of the people God uses for His purposes are perfect by any means.
1 Corinthians 1:27, NKJV
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;”
That said, let’s go back to Abraham. At the beginning of Genesis chapter 12, God asked Abram to leave his home and country, and he makes Abram three promises: a relationship with God, numerous descendants, and land.
The only problem is that both Abraham and his wife, Sarah, are old and childless. They will have to leave their homeland, and they don’t even know who this God is! Abram obeys without signs or miracles; he has no scriptures or traditions on which to draw, so Abram has to place his trust in this nameless God.
The ultimate test of Abraham’s faith comes in Genesis chapter 22 when he is asked to sacrifice his son. God had promised that Abraham’s descendants would come through Isaac, so the level of faith he displays is quite remarkable. Abraham trusts God and takes his son, as directed, up a mountain. At the very last minute, God intervenes and spares Isaac’s life by providing a ram for the sacrifice. Afterwards, God reiterates his promises to Abraham of land, descendants, and a personal relationship.
The letter to the Hebrews declares Abraham a hero of the faith. From Chapter 11:
Scripture reading (Rachel): “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith, Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore, from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say, such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had an opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED,”” (Hebrews 11:8-18, NKJV)
Danny: And so it is. The believer in Christ Jesus should always look to God when deciding who to support when given the opportunity to vote in an election. Rather than looking at the moral fiber of the individual, look at the bigger picture. Look at what the person currently stands for, not what they promise. Pray for guidance and let God show you the one whom He has chosen. Then, and only then, go and vote!
Announcer: Thank you for listening to this episode of Taco Tuesday Theology. If you have a question you’d like us to answer from a Biblical world view, please go to our website, www.tacotuesdaytheology.com and click on the “Send Message” button. You can send the message right from your smartphone or computer. Maybe next week, we’ll answer your question. New episodes post every Tuesday afternoon. Until next time, keep praying and pass the guacamole!