"Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you."1
Chuck Colson in BreakPoint told how "The Rev. Curt Young in Silver Spring, Maryland, told his flock just before a presidential election why they needed to vote. Young wanted his congregation to know that the Scriptures have a lot to say about our responsibility to choose leaders.
"Moses told the Israelites: 'You shall appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes … and they shall judge the people.'
"The term judges and officials covered all government leaders. Besides hearing cases and rendering decisions, they set public policy and could even call out the military in a crisis.
"Given these heavy responsibilities, the criteria for selecting judges were strict. They were to be men who feared God, who were committed to the truth, and who hated dishonest gain. And they were warned: 'You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality; and you shall not take a bribe, for a bribe … subverts the cause of the righteous.'
"When Moses commanded the Israelites to appoint God-fearing leaders, he wasn't just talking to a handful of citizens who felt like getting involved. Young noted that the command was directed to all citizens. And modern Christians are under the same obligation to choose leaders who love justice.
"Ironically, the Scriptures warn that if we value prosperity over justice, we'll end up losing both. Moses told the Israelites to 'follow justice and justice alone.' He follows this command with a promise that they will 'live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.' In other words, if you want prosperity, choose leaders committed to justice.
"In the Old Testament, God often sent people to find particular individuals to lead. Today, in our modern democracy, free citizens act as God's agents for choosing leaders, and we do it by voting. So there's no excuse for those [in free countries] who don't accept the responsibility to vote."2
Furthermore those of us who live in the free world need to appreciate the fact that we have the freedom to vote and choose our leaders. Multiplied millions of people around the world do not have this privilege.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, for those of us who live in a free country we thank you for the wonderful freedoms we have, including the freedom to choose our leaders. We pray for all elections that wherever possible the citizens will choose leaders who fear [reverence] God, who are committed to truth and justice, who hate bribes [favors for votes], and leaders who 'do not pervert justice or show partiality.' Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Deuteronomy 16:18-20 (NIV).
2. Chuck Colson, BreakPoint, May 13, 2004, www.breakpoint.org.