Were one to look in Scripture for a direct command of God that says, "Thou shalt vote," he would be disappointed to find that it is not there. But before any anti-voting types get too excited at that realization, it would be good to note that there are also no direct commands that say, "Thou shalt not give a wedgie to anyone who does not vote."
The reason there are no commands about democratic-style voting for governmental authorities in the Bible is that such governments were not really a thing yet. There were theocracies, monarchies and other types of top-heavy governments, but nothing at all where the people themselves chose all of their leaders from the lowest levels all the way to the throne.
This thing that God has given us in America, therefore, is going to have to be guided by biblical principle rather than by direct statement. And the good news on that is that there is plenty of biblical principle to go on.
Primary season is well underway across the land, and the general election will not be too far behind. So what biblical principles should Christians go by when deciding if or how to vote?
One principle should be: "If God has given you a good gift, use it." Choosing our own leaders is not an ugly, itchy sweater given to us at Christmas by our odd old auntie with the faint mustache. It is one of the most precious gifts God has given to modern man. Deuteronomy 26:11 says, "And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee." James 1:17 echoes that thought, telling us that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." To refrain from voting so much as a single time is to turn up our noses at one of the most precious things our good God has ever given us.
Another principle should be: "Vote for the best outcome." In other words, lawmakers are elected to make laws. Therefore, the laws that they are likely to make and the things that they are likely to do that will affect everyone are more important even than the lawmakers themselves. Yes, character and known behavior is something that must be taken into consideration, especially in light of Proverbs 29:2. But unless we plan on never voting at all, applying the adage "when faced with the lesser of two evils, choose neither" to voting is not really even a possibility, since every single election everywhere is actually a choice between that very thing. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," and Romans 3:10 says, "There is none righteous, no, not one."
A third principle we ought to use in voting is the threefold cord principle. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken." When applied to voting and politics, this verse reminds us of the power of numbers and coordination. While the pulpit must never be lowered to the level of a political stump, Christians should consistently study the issues and candidates at every level, discuss it all and, as much as conscience allows, coordinate voting efforts. Christians are often much like a tank of minnows darting aimlessly about when it comes to voting, and in a world where sharks are often on the ballot, that is not a good thing.
A fourth principle is the "it does make a difference" principle. So often we hear people lament "my one vote doesn't even matter," when in reality it matters greatly. At the laying of the foundation of the second Jewish temple, so much less glorious than the first, God reminded Zerubbabel not to despise the day of "small things." And the fact is that every small, single one of the hundred million or so votes in any given election is just that; a single vote. Your vote matters.
One last principle is: "Don't stop with just voting." Proverbs 27:23 says, "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds." In other words, keep up with how things are going. Attend council meetings. Speak up on every issue. Visit your representatives. Write letters to the editor. Make phone calls and send emails. I do not mean to be disrespectful by this analogy, but voting people into office and then ignoring them for the next two or four years is like putting together a large junior high school class, not supervising it for a long period of time, and then wondering how a large pair of underwear ended up atop the flag pole.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at 2know email@example.com.