Alan Keyes takes from Ezekiel 3 that we should not vote for an evil candidate just because he is “less evil”. But “less evil” is the best we find among humans, and 1 Samuel 8 models voting for the best human that the majority will accept. But not unqualified support. Both passages counsel vigilance about the shortcomings of our leaders, and warnings to those unaware of them.
Proverbs 1, applied to elections, warns of the consequences of apathy. It calls for voter vigilance both in electing leaders, and in watching out for them after they are elected.
Senator Ted Cruz was booed at the Republican National Convention Thursday, July 21, because his support for Trump was not unqualified. He gave strong reasons to vote against Hillary, while saying not one bad word about Trump. Yet he was booed when he urged people to “vote your conscience…for candidates…who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution” by people wishing he had said, instead, “vote for Trump”. Newt Gingrich later pointed out that since “there is only one candidate who will support the Constitution”, Cruz had said, in effect, “your only possible choice this fall is Trump-Pence”. But Newt’s point was dismissed as mere “damage control” rather than being acknowledged as actually true.
How faithful was Cruz’ qualified support to the 1 Samuel 8 principle? That may be debated, but God’s principles are left out of the discussion at our peril.
The contrary opinion wonders how much farther over Cruz must bend after Trump (1) publicly criticized Cruz’ wife for being ugly, (2) accused Cruz’ father, a nationally known pastor who survived Communist torture, of conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy, and (3) has not apologized. (Although RNC head Priebus says we need to overlook Trump’s accusations because he never meant for them to be taken as true.)
(As for Cruz ruining his future, “If/when Trump loses Cruz stock will go up. Only if Trump wins will Cruz lose…. In the meantime Trump gets his villain…you’ve got to have a villain in these shows… It’s a win win.” – Comment by “Honeybear”)
In 1 Samuel 8, Israelites wanted their own dictator (king) like other nations. God told Samuel “they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (v. 7) Israelites had elected their previous leaders, according to Deuteronomy 1:13. In other words, God equated freedom of the ballot, as we know it, with a government “under God”, in the words of our Pledge of Allegiance.
However ignorant you may think the choice of today’s Republican majority, it is undeniably enlightened compared to the people’s monstrous choice in Samuel’s time. Yet God said even then, “So listen to the people and do what they say.” (v. 9) Therefore we follow God’s example by accepting Trump as the best that the majority will accept, and by voting for him.
But those who understand Trump’s limitations will also follow God’s example by trumpeting what they know, in order to alert the people to the challenges ahead. The rest of the verse says “But give them a warning. Tell the people what a king will do to them. Tell them how a king rules people.” (ERV)
Ted Cruz warns us. He reminds us that Trump is capable of personal attacks as vicious as they are ridiculous. We should be ready to help with damage control. Which must include prayer-inspired action, just as Samuel took what action the people permitted, to minimize the tyranny of monarchy, by making the new king subject to laws higher than himself. 1 Samuel 10:25.
Up until Cruz had to give up, he also warned us of Trump’s weak grasp of and commitment to conservative principles. It shouldn’t be controversial to remember and repeat those warnings, since Trump was never noted for his solid conservative credentials or tamed mouth. I don’t remember any of those who pay the most attention to issues – the experts, the leaders, the activists who are the most involved and best informed – making that case. He was noted rather for his popularity and his skill in making “news”.
But the warning of Proverbs will not fade into irrelevance no matter how informed voters become, because human nature resists the vigorous pursuit of wisdom. The Republican voting majority could have done better, being human, but they could also have done much worse: they could have become Democrats. Therefore this warning against apathy is for everyone:
Proverbs 1:20 Wisdom shouts in the streets for a hearing…. 22 …How long will you scoff at wisdom and fight the facts?…24 I have called you so often but still you won’t come. 25 For you have spurned my counsel and reproof. 26 Some day you’ll be in trouble, and I’ll laugh! Mock me, will you? – I’ll mock you! …29 For you closed your eyes to the facts and did not choose to reverence and trust the Lord, 30 and you turned your back on me, spurning my advice. 31 That is why you must eat the bitter fruit of having your way, and experience the full terrors of the pathway you have chosen. (The Book)
God’s opinion is sought far too rarely in this land founded, according to the Mayflower Compact, “’for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith”. It was sought today by Alan Keyes, former U.N. ambassador and presidential candidate, posting his application of Ezekiel 3:17-21.
Ezekiel: ..If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand….
Keyes’ conclusions differ from mine, since we are both human, but not as irrevocably as disagreements based on no greater moral authority than personal opinion.
Keyes concludes that we should not vote for Trump – “….those words [in Ezekiel] admonish our decisions about how to cast our votes…” – as a warning from God to Trump’s supporters. “We are obliged to warn our fellows against electing people who reject God’s sovereignty….”
If we so act, God will spare us from responsibility for electing Hillary. “We are emphatically not responsible for the fatal consequences that follow from what those who failed to heed our warning decide to do.”
No, but standing up for truth doesn’t require standing down to let the bigger liar take the national podium. For such foolishness, we are responsible.
The thing that desperately needs to be “endorsed” is the informed political involvement that is needed to steer whoever wins. This has distinguished American government from tyranny since America began. Fortunately, not all Americans just watch TV and let their hero handle it. Not all Americans prefer to be uninformed, considering political involvement an unhealthy obsession, or fanatical, or no kind of Biblical priority.
Not all wish the Ezekiel 3 Watchmen would just shut up.