Why God Had Obama Win

“for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” Romans 13:1

If Romans 13:1 is right, then Barack Obama won the election because God established it to be that way. If that is true then there are many Christians today who did not want Obama to win, who must be asking themselves what is going on and why God let this happen. There are two basic reasons why God has someone in authority as it relates to His people, the Church. One reason is to give us a time of peace and blessing and freedom to do what He has called us to. Think of David and the golden age of Israel. But another reason God puts a governmental leader in place is to teach His people a lesson regarding their failure to fulfill the mission He has given them. Think of the Babylonian rulers conquering Israel. It is the second of these two reasons that I want to focus on as why God had Obama win.

First, Obama has offered people hope. From his book, “The Audacity of Hope”, to his constant message of a better future, he has spoken of hope. I am convinced that the hope he offers is incomplete at best and counterfeit at worst. It is a hope built on wishful thinking and not built on the assurance of a relationship with Christ. True biblical hope is founded on the character of God and the salvation we have in Christ. The fact that people have so embraced the nebulous hope that the president elect offers is an indictment on Christians. We have not lived with Provocative Hope. We have not demonstrated a biblical hope that reaches out and grabs people. People who do not know Jesus need hope. They know they need hope, they want that hope, and they will take it where they can find it. Maybe God is saying to the Church, “You have not lived in the hope of the Gospel and now people are clinging to what little hope they can find”. When Christians live in fear, proclaim doom at every turn, and seem anxious and angry, then we have failed to show the hope we have in Christ. So our first lesson must be that we have failed to live a provocative hope.

Second, Obama offers to have the government alleviate the economic suffering that so many are facing. There is a promise of better financial times for the poor and the middle class. It is a promise that the government would step in and make sure that people who have more, will share with people who have less. It is a message with great appeal to people who are nervous about their finances or who are currently in crisis. Again this is an indictment on the church. If the Body of Christ had been taking care of the poor and people in crisis in the way that Acts 2 demonstrates then people would not be looking to the government to meet their needs. The failure of Christians to live out the generosity of Jesus means that people are turning to the government to force what the Body of Christ should have been doing willingly.

Third, many Christians are understandably concerned about what an Obama presidency will mean for moral issues like abortion. The problem is, we have been relying on political power, in the hands of the president, to appoint the right judges to interpret laws in a way that forces certain moral behavior. Clearly the government is supposed to pass laws that promote moral behavior. But that is the last resort as far as Christians should be concerned. The problem is, we have abdicated our responsibility to make disciples who honor and follow Jesus. That is change we can believe in. It is a change in the hearts and souls of people that will result in moral change from the heart. We can never put our confidence for change in the hands of the secular government. The command that we have been given to make disciples is how real change will come about. Our failure to do that in reliance on the Holy Spirit is what has led to trusting in earthly powers for heavenly results.

So why did God have Obama win? One very real possibility is that there is a lesson to the church. That lesson is that we must be about the task of living out a provocative faith that is filled with hope in Christ, cares for those in need, and makes disciples who obey all the He has commanded. If we had been doing that all along, the world and even the White House, would be very different places today.

24 thoughts on “Why God Had Obama Win

  1. Kevin

    Are you saying that people have chosen Obama over Christ?

    In addition to all of the hope that Christ offers, wouldn’t God also want us to find similar hope in one another?

  2. Dan Lacich

    What I am saying about the nature of hope in this election is that Obama tapped into a real need that people have, the need for hope. The reason why that need is so pronounced in our society today is that we Christians have not shown them what real biblical hope is. As a result they are taking hope where they find it. God does want us to find hope in one another. That is also part of the point. If Christians showed real hope the world would be a different place.
    Thanks for your comments. I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

  3. Lucious Spindle

    Hi Dan.

    I feel like the statement that is made by the title of this post is rather skewed. I would like to pose an alternate title that seems more accurate, which is “why God appointed Obama.” God puts leaders in places of power not by accident or by chance, or even allowance, but with complete and thorough intentionality. Romans 13 says that “those who are in authority, have been placed there by God.” Just an interesting thought I had, after reading your post.

    All the best.

  4. Dan Lacich

    You are correct that God does the appointing and that certainly could have been an appropriate title. Yet I think the original also works. It is an example of the relationship between God acting as sovereign Lord and yet still working through ordinary means. So you could say that God appointed Obama and the method He used to make that known was to have him win the election. That is probably the most biblical and theologically correct title, but way too cumbersome for a blog. Thanks for your comments and I look forward to more of them.

  5. Ame See

    Hey Dan,
    Thanks for your words and for encouraging us to listen to what the Lord is doing through this time in our country. In the failings of Christians stepping into their role in the world, I would have to count myself “the chief of sinners”. You have given us much to think about friend!

  6. Nathan Clark

    Why not infer Obama was the David-like leader instead of the Babylonian leader? He is, after all, a professing Christian calling a people to hope and change, living a moral life where by all accounts he strives toward God on a constant basis.

  7. Dan Lacich

    Considering that the audience for this particular post is those Christians who are certain that an Obama presidency means disaster, I thought it would be an unrealistic stretch to try and get people to see it from that perspective. The truth is, we will not know until well into his presidency which of the two it will be. Many Christians thought that the Born-again Jimmy Carter was a sure sign of a coming Davidic Golden Age and we all know how that turned out. Thanks for your comments.

  8. denise

    Nathan, How could Obama be a David-like leader when he has a very radical abortion record?
    Good post, Dan! I have been asking God how He could let this happen with one side seemingly more aligned with God’s perspectives =abortion, same sex marriage to name the foundational ones to me. Illegal campaign financing , radical
    friends and pastor only add to the confusion for me. It was a very disheartening day yesterday, but am starting to find some comfort today in the knowledge that God is in control even if I don’t like the way this went.

  9. George M

    I attended the service at the Church where you and I are members on the Sunday before the election. As I was leaving I was handed two voter guides, both of which seemed to definately favor one political party over the other. But who really cares? It’s ultimately all in His hands and all I’m required to do is go vote and then pray for them all, winners and loosers alike.

  10. Todd

    Dan – On election night, I was already thinking of this verse in Romans and was very troubled. I do not believe this election was a debate between good ideas and bad ideas, I truly believe it was a struggle between good and evil. Are we to assume that the Founding Fathers, who were predominately Christian and much more devout than most American Christians are today, violated God’s Word in this verse when they revolted against British Rule. Obama has been clear, although not on the campaign trail, about where he wishes to take this country. The Devlaration of Independence says “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” IS there little doubt that with Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, and Barney Frank charting the course of this nation’s future where we are headed. Like the Founding Fahters, I don’t believe God created us to live in oppression. I believe your points about Christians abdicating their responsibilities are accurate (starting with me), and we are mistaken to look to secular government for hope. I believe, however, that the problem you describe should not be used to justify our willful acceptance of the advancement of evil that occurred Tuesday. Change we can believe in only can come from Jesus Christ. What we got on Tuesday was a false prophet. Hopefully, both a political and spiritual revolution will be forthcoming. God Bless You all (and God help us).

  11. Dan Lacich

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the willingness to take ownership for you part in not living out a provocative faith. If more of us, myself included did that, the world would be different.

    I agree that we must not willfully accept the advancement of evil. The question is, how do we oppose it? Your example of the Founding Fathers and English rule does not fit our current situation, if you are proposing the possibility of rebellion on the part of Christians. The reason is this. The colonists had no recourse within the system of a monarchy to bring about change other than the one they chose. England has a long history of that being the case. For us, we have a system that assumes the doctrine of sin and that we need checks and balances and a way to peacefully remove people from office. The great thing about America is that every four years we get another crack at who should be president and every eight years it changes no matter what.
    In addition, I find myself much more comfortable with finding my examples in the saints of the first few centuries than I do in the Founding Fathers. Those Christians lived under a tyranny from Rome that was far more brutal than having their tea or their paper taxed without a chance to vote on it. Yet time and again the early apologists for the faith pointed the emperors to the outstanding lives of their loyal Christian subjects as the reason to stop the persecution. Finally, I look at Daniel in the Old Testament and see a guy who loved the Lord and yet found it possible to be an official in the government of the Godless Babylonians who had destroyed his land and temple. He only rebelled when he was being forced to directly violate a command of God, and even then did it with a willingness to face whatever judgment was passed on him.

  12. Joey

    Hi Dan,

    I completely agree with your last post. In my opinion, we (American Christians) are not, even in the least, oppressed. We are still living in such a free nation. We can still make great change here as Christians without protest. Christ taught us to love peace and speak truth in love, which is much more impactful than protest, rebellion, etc. Granted, there is a line, but I do not believe that line is even on our horizon yet.

    I have been keeping in contact with my friends overseas since the election, and America’s image has already improved among the rest of the world. This is a great opportunity for us to be gentle instead of abrasive.

  13. Hannah

    Now that President-elect Obama has selected his chief of staff, will his next step be to name his 12 disciples?

  14. Larry

    What do you mean God wanted Obama to win?!?! One thing the Lord gives us is the power of free will and a responsibility to suffer the consequences of that free will. I doubt God wants the serial killer to kill or the child rapist to rape, but he does not make that decision for those individuals who choose to do so. God may or may not have “preferred” Obama over McCain, but I will guarantee you that he wants us to suffer the consequences, good or bad, that our decision has wrought. Stop rationalizing the results of the election in a way that might lead others astray and start concentrating on those issues that we know will be an issue over at least the next four years.

  15. Dan Lacich

    Thank you for your comments. One of the purposes of this site is to be a forum for discussions just like this. I strongly believe in the value of Iron Sharpening Iron as the Bible says.

    Yes God gives us the ability to make choices and yet one of the great mysteries of God is how he still accomplishes what He intends to do. He does that by breaking into history and making things happen as He intends. I think of how he dealt with Moses and Pharaoh, used the Babylonians to deal with Israel’s sin, made sure that Jesus was born in a certain place at a certain time and had Caesar Augustus call for a census just to make it so.

    As it relates to rulers of nations and God intervening, Daniel 2:21 makes it perfectly clear that God is the one who removes and installs leaders. Jesus made that point to Pilate and Paul makes that case in Romans 13.
    But even if we disagree on how to understand and apply those passages, there is still this. At the very least, God in His permissive will, allowed Senator Obama to win the election. He did nothing to prohibit that outcome and He knew before the foundation of the earth what the voting results would be. So either by divine appointment, or by the ordinary means of letting people freely vote and decide, God still had Obama win. That goes with being the sovereign Lord of the Universe.
    I don’t think I am rationalizing the results or leading others astray. In fact, I think I am correctly understanding the Bible and helping others to do so as well.
    Also, I do believe that the post is encouraging people to focus on the things that will be the issues not only for the next four years, but even beyond that. They are the issues of how we as Christians are to best live in such a way as to glorify God and lead people to Jesus.

  16. Larry

    Well, let’s see. The economy is in shambles and the control of the administration and Congress has been handed back to the party and to those people most responsible for putting it into shambles it is (Research it! Stop relying on the headlines, sound bites and buzz -words put out by the anything-but-objective media). The war in Iraq has been won, and the control of those responsible for winning it has been taken away and given to those who predicted for years it could not be won. Following ten years of terror attacks or our country and her people (1993 World Trade Centers, two embassies in Africa, Khobar Towers, the Cole, Somalia, etc.), action was finally taken and we have not been similarly attacked since 9/11. Now control and responsibility for keeping us safe has been handed back to those who were too ineffectual to stop it when it started happening in the first place. I have heard leaders in your church state that they have not been satisfied with only a small decrease in the annual number of abortions over the past decade and now control of the country has been handed back to the party that is the most responsible for there not being a greater decrease or elimination in the number of abortions. Your own leadership has been instrumental in standing up for the rights of the traditional family, and now your leaders are making excuses saying we must have sympathy and support those who wish to sustain and be encouraged to maintain un-Biblical relationships.

    When God first smite the world for sin, following the flood, he promised never to smite the world and “all living things” again (Genesis 8:21). When he smite a people, as he did Moses and the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 32:35, Numbers 20:24, Deu 32:52, 34:5) by refusing them entry into the promised land; and as he did smite the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah and those who would look back on it (Genesis 19:24-26), He did not promise to never again smite a people who would turn against Him. While I do not pretend to know and do not accuse anyone, I feel it is haughty and arrogant to confidently assume that we as a country are not those who, led up out of Egypt, stumbled for 40 years in the desert defying the sovereignty of the Almighty, making excuses and rationalizing all that is symbolized by the molten calf.

    From all that you have written, you appear to dance all around without citing that “… to them that love God, all things work for the good…” (Romans 8:28). This implies that for those who do believe and act accordingly, we can derive a good, a benefit, from even the direst of situations. It does not imply that God wished the “direst of situations on us” as he did not wish death to the innocent victim of murder, or the disgrace and the humiliation to the child violated by the depravity of an individual who chose to do so. What he does wish to them and promises us all who believe and act as such is a way to redeem the direst of situations with a good. I assure you that any leader with as un-Godly a list of goals and priorities as I have seen, will not bring the “good” to any of us. The good will be brought by those who stand up, pronounce and promote true Biblical principals. The good will not be brought by an un-Biblical platform, nor will it be the result of those who rationalize, minimize and soften otherwise blasphemous positions. Just to quote one small item from the platform of the group that now has the entire country in its grasp, “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe vs. Wade … and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” {The 2008 Democratic National Platform 2008: Renewing America’s Promise}

    When it comes to choosing sides to cast my lot to either those that created the golden calf or casting my lot with the power that destroyed the calf and those that created it, there is no choice for me. I must feel some of the same disappointment that Moses felt when he first descended the Mount to find his people in such a state.

    Lord, I pray, give me the judgment and knowledge to recognize the Golden Idol. And when it appears, let me be like your servant Moses and help smash and destroy the golden idol. Amen.

  17. Joey

    How about this twist: What if God *wanted* Obama to win? Perhaps a country without rigorous conservative views/laws can be even more impactful for Christ than one that enforces them giving people no choice? Just an “out of the box” thought for discussion.

    Anyway, God is bigger than all of this, and it is futile to try to put him in a box of our own understanding. However, I agree with the “Iron Sharpening Iron”, these are great discussions!

  18. Dan Lacich

    I must be honest, I am having a hard time understanding exactly what you are taking issue with. And I am a bit taken back by the accusation that my thinking is guided by headlines and sound-bites and that I do not research or think for myself. Anyone who knows me, knows that such an accusation is about as far from the mark as they come.

    Nowhere in the post am I suggesting that we as Christians are to abdicate our responsibility to make a difference in the world. In fact just the opposite. I am saying that political power is not the primary weapon of the Christian. We have made it that and it does not work. We are fighting spiritual battles here and if we do not first and foremost make use of spiritual weapons then all our earthly power and change is for naught. We have gotten in backwards for way to long.

    You seem to think that I am an Obama supporter and have “cast my lot” in with makers of a golden calf. Yet in the post I make it clear that the hope, economic promises, and moral positions that Obama promotes are not compatible with what I believe to be a biblical world view. So I don’t get what your issue is in that regard.

    As far as Romans 8:28 is concerned, I am not dancing around it at all. I am standing squarely on it as well as verse 29 which must be read to understand the full intent of what Paul is saying. I absolutely believe that God works “all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son.” I am an irrational optimist. I really believe that when things happen that I don’t like or agree with at the time, that God really does intend to use that to help shape me more into the image of Jesus. I do not expect Obama or any president for that matter to truly bring the “good” that Romans 8 talks about. Again, that is clear in the post. But I do believe that God in His sovereign power can and will use all things in life, good and bad, to shape me into that image of Jesus. He will also use those to shape His people, the church, into more of that unblemished Bride of Christ in Ephesians 5.

    You also seem to misunderstand the difference between submitting to the authorities over us in a manner consistent with Romans 13 and being a supporter of what that government does that is wrong. We also need to mix in there what Jesus meant when He said that we are to love our enemies. Ranting and raiving against them and calling them names does not fit my definition of loving them. Pointing out areas of disagreement and calling sin what it is, in a gentle and loving way does fit. Peter made the same point in his letters.

    Finally, I think we have a very different understanding of God as sovereign. I am convinced that the Bible shows us a God who has ultimate control of all that happens, either by His decree that it should happen or by His not preventing it and allowing it to happen. That is what sovereign, and omnipotent are all about. Do I understand why in particular cases He allows painful things to happen? No. Even in my own life there have been times when I agonized over why God allowed something to take place. But I would much rather have a God who truly is sovereign, and wise, and good, who I must trust when He does or allows things that I do not understand, than to have a God who sits on the sidelines, unable to get involved in the details of my life.

  19. richard

    I believe the world will continue to march for the end of times. The stage and the battlefield will be set. This is a time comsuming process to shape the masses for a one world leader. Maybe our concern is we dont believe this is coming now and so we reject and fight ungodly men in leadership positions. Our focus should be on our and everyones salvation to avoid or endure the coming events.

  20. Exzetta Stacy

    Think of it this way, instead of debating why this and that. He is in office, use this as an opportunity to pray pray pray for our leader. Can you imagine the impact we would have if we prayed for this man instead of debating who what why and when about him? Can you imagine God doing miracles through our President? God takes everything and turns it around for our good. I did not lose hope when he went into office nor did I despair as I saw a lot of my fellow Christians do. I was excited to see how God would be glorified in the upcoming years through this man.

  21. Exzetta

    Exzetta Stacy :
    Think of it this way, instead of debating why this and that. He is in office, use this as an opportunity to pray pray pray for our leader. Can you imagine the impact we would have if we prayed for this man instead of debating who what why and when about him? Can you imagine God doing miracles through our President? God takes everything and turns it around for our good. I did not lose hope when he went into office nor did I despair as I saw a lot of my fellow Christians do. I was excited to see how God would be glorified in the upcoming years through this man.

  22. hmm, so when bad things happen, god is punishing us, but when good things happening (sarah palin wins) we’re finally doing the right thing? but if both good things and bad things happen in equal measure (as they generally seem to, but perhaps, since we all die, maybe bad things happen a bit more) — doesn’t this make our existing reality indistinguishable from one where there is no god? we can have faith, but we need more than that — we need signs. and, though i love the bible, an unchanging book isn’t quite enough.

  23. Dan Lacich

    Judas, Sarah Palin winning would be a greater punishment in my book but that’s another story. As to the point of good and bad things and God’s place in it all, if God is truly sovereign then anything that happens to me is within His control. What I need to do is always ask how God wants me to use the experience to become more like Jesus and bring glory to God.
    I am interested in your need for signs. What things would be adequate signs for you?

  24. Jon

    Correct through line 5 . Then your reasoning falls apart. You don’t know why God chose to allow King Obama to reign. It certainly does appear that the hand of the Lord is being withdrawn from America. But you cannot say that his true church is the blame. We don’t always know escept that ulrimatley it will work for the Glory to God. Our only hope is in Jesus. Not the government nor by our effort. I am not saying we should not preach, teach and be benevolent. But don’t idolize the works of men.

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