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Make your choice at polls, but remember God must always come first

By Rev Gareth Burke

It's hard to believe isn't it? Another election. It's just a few months since the polling stations were open and we were trooping in to choose our MLAs. Now we're about to do it all over again.

Posters are appearing, literature is coming through the post and party political broadcasts are popping up on the television. So, who will you vote for? Who will you choose? Of course you could decide not to vote at all. You might feel disillusioned with the whole political process and decide that you're just not going to bother. But in a sense that is a choice. A statement of your dissatisfaction with the whole business.

Does the Bible have anything to say about politics and government?

The answer is yes. In Romans chapter 13 the Apostle Paul declares that 'the powers that be are ordained of God'. In other words although we go to the polls and cast our vote, God is overruling in the whole process and the government that is formed is to be respected and obeyed.

This of course raises the thorny question of whether our rulers are always to be obeyed.

Thankfully Jesus himself spoke to this issue in Matthew 22:21 when he declared: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."

Jesus is making it clear there are moments when it is right for those who are Christians to disobey the authorities. These moments will not be often but they will arise. Take Daniel in Daniel chapter 6. The King issues a command that for 30 days no prayer should be offered unto anyone but himself. Of course, Daniel can't go with this. His allegiance to God must come first. The earthly ruler is asking him to do something contrary to his own deeply held faith. God must come first.

It's an impressive story. A man aged around 80 is prepared to be thrown into a pit of lions because of his faith in God. God is first in his life. No one, not even the King, can have first place in his life. God must come first. How about you? Have you humbled yourself before God and trusted in his Son, Jesus Christ, as your Saviour? Is God first in your life?

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