An 11-Day Biblical Guide for Choosing Political Leaders in the Kenyan Election 2022
Kenyans go to the polls on August 9th, 2022. This will Kenya’s seventh election under multi-party democracy, and the 3rd one under the 2010 constitution. The country has held general elections every five years from the time the nation was founded in 1963 to date. However, given our history of squabbles, quarrels and conflicts experienced, particularly in the 2007 election (and partly in 2013 and 2017 one), Kenyans are wary of this election. They are approaching it with some bit of trepidation and anxiety.
But what principles does the bible teach us about political leadership, and what are some biblical guides that Kenyans can use to gauge the political leaders who are seeking political office when they cast their votes in the August 9th election?
We are going to look at this using an 11-day study guide, looking at the various issues that the Bible teaches about political leadership:
LESSON 1 DAY ONE
1. The final authority for putting political leaders in office rests with God. He exercises sovereignty and rule over all the Kingdoms of men:
The Bible says:
a. Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God (Romans 13:1).
b. (When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, he told him) You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God (John 19:11a).
c. King Nebuchadnezzar was told in a vision: The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most-High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people (Daniel 4:17 NIV).
As Kenyan’s go to the polls on August 9th, with each citizen casting his/her vote just as they wish, we as Christians should not be so much concerned and worried, but instead we should all accept that at the end of the day on August 9th, God will exercise His sovereignty over the land, and He is the one who will determine who rules Kenya after this date. All Kenyans should therefore be ready and willing to accept God’s will for the Kenyan nation.
LESSON 2 DAY 2
2. People who seek political office should maintain humility continue acknowledging that it is the Lord who put them in office; they should recognize that they are servants of God, and that they do not hold absolute power and authority, but rather exercise delegated authority and power under God:
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. King Saul was rejected because he became haughty, and as a result he failed to obey the voice of the Lord: Rebellion against him is as bad as witchcraft, and arrogance is as sinful as idolatry. Because you rejected the LORD’s command, he has rejected you as king (1 Samuel 15:23).
b. Nebuchadnezzar was also condemned for becoming proud and failing to recognize the sovereignty of the Almighty: All this did happen to King Nebuchadnezzar: Only twelve months later, while he was walking about on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, he said, “Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty.” Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses . . . When the seven years had passed,” said the king, “I looked up at the sky, and my sanity returned. I praised the Supreme God and gave honor and glory to the one who lives for ever” (Daniel 11:28-34).
c. Herod was also condemned for failure to give glory to God: On a chosen day Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to the people. “It isn’t a man speaking, but a god!” they shouted. At once the angel of the Lord struck Herod down, because he did not give honor to God. He was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:21-23).
Those in office now, and those that Kenyans and the Almighty shall allow to assume office on August 9th should maintain a humble attitude, and always recognize and acknowledge it is the Lord who has given them those offices, for the purpose of serving God and His people.
3. Voting for political leaders (or what the bible calls casting lots), in order to make a (political) decision, is Biblical; it is an acceptable way of determining the will of God:
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Proverbs 16:33 states that: People cast lots to learn God’s will, but God himself determines the answer.
b. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties (1 Chronicles 25:8).
c. So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles (Acts 1:24-26).
Casting a vote is biblical, no one should feel too spiritual to cast his/her vote; Kenyans should realize that casting their vote is a godly way to determine and prove God’s will for the country.
4. Political leaders are God’s servants (serving) in government, in the same way that church ministers are God’s servants (in church); political leaders have a Godly role of maintaining law and order in the Society; rewarding and punishing citizens for doing right and wrong; God also uses them in promoting the Kingdom of God (consciously or unconsciously):
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgement on himself. For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you, because they are God’s servants working for your own good. But if you do evil, then be afraid of them, because their power to punish is real. They are God’s servants and carry out God’s punishment on those who do evil (Romans 13:2-4).
b. That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfil their duties (Romans 13:6).
c. Proverbs 19:12 states that: The king’s anger is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like welcome rain.
As Christians we ought to respect our political leaders (the current ones, and also that God will allow to occupy their positions in future); we ought to accept that these leaders are servants of God; and that their instructions and decrees are legitimate (so long as their orders are according to the Kenyan Laws and in accord with the Kenyan constitution and the Word of God).
5. One of the key roles of all political leadership (in office) is to carry out justice for the citizens and to defend the poor and the vulnerable in Society:
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. King Solomon was revered for giving a great judgement that promoted justice:
Then King Solomon said, “Each of you claims that the living child is hers and that the dead child belongs to the other one.” He sent for a sword, and when it was brought, he said, “Cut the living child in two and give each woman half of it.” The real mother, her heart full of love for her son, said to the king, “Please, Your Majesty, don’t kill the child! Give it to her!” But the other woman said, “Don’t give it to either of us; go ahead and cut it in two.” Then Solomon said, “Don’t kill the child! Give it to the first woman — she is its real mother.” When the people of Israel heard of Solomon’s decision, they were all filled with deep respect for him, because they knew then that God had given him the wisdom to settle disputes fairly (1 Kings 3:24-38).
b. Deuteronomy 16:18-19 states: Appoint judges and other officials in every town that the LORD your God gives you. These men are to judge the people impartially. They are not to be unjust or show partiality in their judgements.
c. Proverbs 16:12 says that: Kings cannot tolerate evil, because justice is what makes a government strong.
d. The leaders of Israel were condemned for not carrying out justice and for oppressing their citizens: Listen, you rulers of Israel! You are supposed to be concerned about justice, yet you hate what is good and you love what is evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh off their bones. You eat my people up. You strip off their skin, break their bones, and chop them up like meat for the pot (Micah 3:1-3).
e. When the king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin his country (Proverbs 29:4).
Outgoing and incoming political leaders should recognize that their cardinal responsibility in office is to do justice to the people, especially in ensuring that the weak and vulnerable are treated fairly and equitably.
6. Because political leaders are put in office to carry out justice and do what is right, the leader/s lives should be above board; they should not be lovers of bribes, they should not be corrupt or corruptible.
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe makes people blind to what is right and ruins the cause of those who are innocent (Exodus 23:8).
b. Proverbs 17:23 states that: Corrupt judges (and political leaders sit as judges when they make decisions) accept secret bribes, and then justice is not done.
c. I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts (Amos 5:12).
d. The judge (seer) Samuel is a perfect example of a political leader who shunned bribes and was completely incorruptible: Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, accuse me now in the presence of the LORD and the king he has chosen. Have I taken anybody’s cow or anybody’s donkey? Have I cheated or oppressed anyone? Have I accepted a bribe from anyone? If I have done any of these things, I will pay back what I have taken (1 Samuel 12:3).
e. The prophet Isaiah condemned leaders who: But for just a bribe you let the guilty go free, and you prevent the innocent from getting justice (Isaiah 5:23).
In the Bible, corruption and love for bribes and kickbacks, is a key indicator of judging leaders. This should be one of the key biblical methods that voters can use to judge upcoming leaders. Despite the fact that corruption has permeated every sector of the Kenyan Society, the corruption monster will only become worse in the Kenyan Society if we chose leaders who are known to be corrupt or corruptible.
7. Those who aspire to lead the country should be moderate in all their behavior, they should not be drunkards; they should not be lovers of the bottle:
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need (Proverbs 31:4-5).
b. King Belshazzar was struck dead because he made a wrong judgement that was caused by partying and drinking heavily: But you, his son, have not humbled yourself, even though you knew all this. You acted against the Lord of heaven and brought in the cups and bowls taken from his Temple. You, your noblemen, your wives, and your concubines drank wine out of them and praised gods made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone — gods that cannot see or hear and that do not know anything. But you did not honor the God who determines whether you live or die and who controls everything you do. That is why God has sent the hand to write these words . . . That same night Belshazzar, the king of Babylonia, was killed; and Darius the Mede, who was then 62 years old, seized the royal power (Daniel 5:22-30).
3. Because political leaders, like church leaders, are servants of God designated for carrying out justice to the citizens, and and punishing good and bad citizens, they should not be drunkards, but are required to be sober, so that they can make the right judgments in all situations (1 Timothy 3:3,8; Titus 1:7).
Voters should do a background check of those aspiring to lead them. Those known to get drunk and disorderly should be kept far away from the high political seats they are seeking. A drunkard can never be disciplined enough to always do the right thing to the citizens.
7. Wisdom (ability to make the right decision after considering all the other alternatives) is very important in all levels of leadership – but is paramount for political leaders.
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Now you should choose some man with wisdom and insight and put him in charge of the country (Genesis 41:33).
b. Joshua son of Nun was filled with wisdom, because Moses had appointed him to be his successor (Deuteronomy 34:9).
c. God gave Solomon unusual wisdom and insight, and knowledge too great to be measured. Solomon was wiser than the wise men of the East or the wise men of Egypt (1 Kings 4:29-30).
d. In the book of the prophet Jeremiah God promised his children that: I will give you rulers who obey me, and they will rule you with wisdom and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15).
e. Like Rehoboam of old, foolish political leaders lucking in wisdom and proper counsel can make a country have a civil war and break up, or he/she can lead the citizens into unnecessary wars with their neighbors: Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I’ll flog you with a horsewhip!” . . . When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let’s go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!” So the people of Israel rebelled, leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah (1 Kings 12:12-17).
f. A city without wise leaders will end up in ruin; a city with many wise leaders will be kept safe (Prov. 11:4).
Kenyans should check the track record of persons who come to them seeking political office. This is especially important for those seeking to be governors and president, because these offices wield a lot of authority in making decisions for the counties and country. If a person has not demonstrated wisdom and good judgment in offices they have held in the past, he/she should not be entrusted with such important positions.
8. There is no human government that is perfect; even when elected on a platform of hope, newness and with a lot of enthusiasm by the citizens, all new governments soon elicit complaints and grumbling:
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. Samuel warned the children of Israel: He (the political leader) will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials. He will take a tenth of your corn and of your grapes for his court officers and other officials. He will take your servants and your best cattle and donkeys, and make them work for him. He will take a tenth of your flocks. And you yourselves will become his slaves. When that time comes, you will complain bitterly because of your king, whom you yourselves chose, but the LORD will not listen to your complaints” (1 Samuel 8:15-18).
b. Ecclesiastes 5:8-9 states: Don’t be surprised when you see that the government oppresses the poor and denies them justice and their rights. Every official is protected by the one over him, and both are protected by still higher officials. Even a king depends on the harvest.
c. Just as a hunter fills a cage with birds, they have filled their houses with loot. That is why they are powerful and rich, why they are fat and well fed. There is no limit to their evil deeds. They do not give orphans their rights or show justice to the oppressed (Jeremiah 5:27-28).
Kenyans should tamper their enthusiasm during an election (and voting) period with the realism that any new regime can only change a few things – and even these few changes may take a long time to effect. They should resist the temptation to put their hope on politicians.
10. As Christians we have a responsibility to pray for current leaders, the election itself, and those who God will allow to succeed them. The success of our political leaders leads to the success of the country and the Christians are able to concentrate on their primary calling.
THE BIBLE SAYS
a. First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, requests, and thanksgivings be offered to God for all people; for kings and all others who are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceful life with all reverence towards God and with proper conduct. This is good and it pleases God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
b. Samuel prayed for Saul long after God had rejected him — so long as he was still on the throne: As long as Samuel lived, he never again saw the king; but he grieved (prayed) over him . . . The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you go on grieving over Saul? I have rejected him as king of Israel (1 Samuel 15:35; 16:1).
c. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (Jeremiah 29:7).
Christians have a cardinal responsibility of praying for their country’s political leaders and for the wellbeing of the country without being sidetracked from this responsibility by their feelings towards the people in leadership or the outcome of an election.
11. All political leaders hold interim and partial power, because all power and authority has already been given to Christ. This interim power is meant to serve God’s purposes and lead to further spread of the Gospel.
THE BIBLE SAYS:
a. A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler . . . His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David’s successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The LORD Almighty is determined to do all this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
b. At the time of those rulers the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never end. It will never be conquered, but will completely destroy all those empires, and then last for ever (Daniel 2:44).
c. Some day there will be a king who rules with integrity, and national leaders who govern with justice. Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind and a place to hide from storms. They will be like streams flowing in a desert, like the shadow of a giant rock in a barren land. Their eyes and ears will be open to the needs of the people. They will not be impatient any longer, but they will act with understanding and will say what they mean. No one will think that a fool is honorable or say that a scoundrel is honest (Isaiah 32:1-5).
d. The LORD says, “Here is my servant, whom I strengthen — the one I have chosen, with whom I am pleased. I have filled him with my Spirit, and he will bring justice to every nation. . . He will not break off a bent reed or put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all . . . he will establish justice on the earth. Distant lands eagerly wait for his teaching (Isaiah 42:1-4).
e. Jesus drew near and said to them, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
In spite of the flow of political tides Christians need to continue to looking forward to, focusing, and and fast tracking the just and righteous reign of Christ, rather than focusing on human political leaders.
Why we as Christians ought to engage in the so-called dirty game of politics:
- Christ calls us to be the light and salt of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). With our lives guided by biblical principles, rather than the principles of the world, we are called to engage other Kenyans on the political questions of the day, and show them the light.
- Our politics have a bearing on a Christian witness – this is the reason Paul calls on us to pray for our state rulers so that “we may live peaceful and quiet lives with all godliness” (1 Timothy 2:1-4), without peace it becomes hard to focus on the primary purpose of our lives i.e. to glorify God and to be witnesses for Christ.
- Those Christians who feel called to occupy political positions should do so without fear. Some great men of old, who were servants of the Lord, occupied political positions e.g. David, Daniel, Joseph and Nehemiah. Occupying such political positions gives such leaders a platform to promote godly values in Society.
- It is notable that “gifts of administration” (1 Corinthians 12:28) are part of the gifts of the Spirit. No wonder men like Moses, Joseph, Nehemiah etc. who were full of the Spirit of God, were also great political leaders of their time. Thus, we have no excuse for shying away from political positions, when the Lord calls us for service to his people through politics.
- Above all Christians should vote for leaders of their choice, but leave the results to God’s sovereign will, His thoughts are at times not in tandem with our thoughts.