Election on Election Night

Do you believe in election? This is a question that you might answer differently depending on the time of year. Tonight, on America's election night, we all believe in election. We vote and whoever the most people vote for wins. I wonder if you ever think about the word "election" and it's relationship to the idea of election in the Bible.

When you ask people about Biblical election you might raise a few eyebrows. For some reason we are okay with us choosing people to rule over us, but when it comes to God choosing people we have a problem. "What about free will?!" "We want to choose ourselves!"

One of the classic passages to think through would be Romans 9:10-16 where God elects Jacob over Esau. I'm not going to even attempt to explain this in a blog post, but I just want to reference it to show that it is something the Bible addresses. That particular passage is a tough one because it gives us a glimpse behind the scenes to how God works in the lives of men. But, there are other passages where we simply see man's reaction to God's working on the heart. One of those that I read recently was the story of Ruth.

We don't normally see Ruth in terms of election, or God choosing someone for Himself, but the beginning of this story gives us a great picture of it. In the first chapter, we see Ruth, daughter-in-law to Naomi, sister-in-law to Orpah, with a choice before her. Naomi was pleading with her two daughters to not follow her as she returned to her homeland. All their husbands had died, and Naomi tells them that there is no hope in coming with her. Both daughters were in the same situation, coming from a foreign land, husbandless, with an opportunity to return home. Yet, despite this identical choice and a seemingly identical background story, Ruth chooses God and to stay while Orpah leaves for her old life. Why?

The only explanation I can see is that God worked in Ruth's heart where he didn't work in Orpah's.  Romans 3:10-11 is clear that no one seeks after God. Therefore, Ruth was the one chosen by God to respond, just as when we respond to the Lord it is because He first chose us.

So, Ruth won this "election". In a similar sense, our current election will work the same way. We can vote all we want, but really the man who wins tonight is the one God has already decided will sit as leader of this country.

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