January, 2001
Election debacle provides an
'Elijah moment' for Church

"Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him."
(I Kings 18:21)

Who can forget the presidential election of 2000 which turned into such a debacle, and gave us 36 agitating days of arguing in courts, debating over our Constitution, quarreling over dimpled and hanging chads, and watching the spectacle of ballot-counters holding up ballots to the light trying to discern whether they were to be tallied.

The arguing over our Constitution had a beneficial side as it educated many on such things as the Electoral College.

The election revealed "the cultural and religious divide in our country," as one TV talking head observed. It certainly bared how split our national character is, with the stark contrast in voting between minorities and whites, rural and urban, men and women, married women and single women, pro-life and pro-death, Christians and secularists, pro-traditional values and pro-immoral values, impeachment backers and impeachment opponents, and so on.

In addition, the voting left the Senate split 50-50; and the House almost even with a six-vote margin for the Republicans - those six seats won by less than 5,000 total votes, one of these by around 100 votes.

Most sobering was how we divided over public sins. Voting strongly one way were those who believe that shedding the innocent blood of our unborn and same-sex marriages should be permitted. Voting the other way were those who believe our unborn should be protected and welcomed into life, and that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

The whole episode was God-arranged. It had the earmarks of a remedial judgment as we faced off against ourselves, were jolted as the foundation of our Constitution was shaken; were at a standstill for 36 days, poised at an enormously pivotal crossroads with two markedly different futures before us - it is not expressing it too strongly to say we stood before "hastened judgment" and "delayed judgment" - a time of mercy.

Here is what was before us: Down one path was the administration of a presidential candidate who vigorously affirmed the "right" of a woman to kill her unborn and who affirmed same-sex unions. Those who voted for him also took a liberal view toward sexual license. And they tended to believe in big government. In such an administration the cabinet and appointments to the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court would reflect these views.

Down the other path was the administration of a presidential candidate who believed the unborn should be protected and marriage is only to be betweena man and a woman.

Both the election and the 36-day fiasco was a call from God to seek Him. We can rejoice that there was a focused segment of believers across our nation and even across the world that did. In recent memory we have not seen such intense intercession among those who prayed.

Our Lord answered by graciously opening the second path and giving us a "window of mercy" - a time for the Church to humbly come before Him to intercede, repent, and then to call for repentance in our nation and lead it back to God.

The virtual 50-50 division in the Congress means we must continually seek the Lord to see the right kind of progress such as judicial and Supreme Court justices. Let us hold up in intercessory prayer, the new president, his cabinet, and his entire administration.

But we must not - must not - take this "window of mercy" for granted. Our judgment looms.

Let's understand that there are movements in America such as feminism and gay rights, who are thoroughly committed to agendas of unhindered abortion and sexual license. Plus they work to have our children indoctrinated in their agendas, particularly in school. Their agendas if fully implemented, would take us down a road of more bloodshed in the womb, increased sexual perversion, and, notably, unhindered teaching of our children to sin, (Matthew 18:6), all public sins which will destroy our beloved nation.

These movements overwhelmingly backed the first candidate; and if he had prevailed, they and their philosophies would now have another sympathetic president and any added legitimacy that brings. No doubt these movements would have increased their intensity in pushing their agendas on our nation.

America is sinning boldly. And it is not stretching reason to say that adding both another very pro-abortion administration and re-fired, outspoken pro-abortion movements to our boldly sinning atmosphere could well have been a catalyst for a sobering scenario, one where our nation virtually abandoned any remaining restraints toward killing our unborn. Plus, our children would have been taught to sin. (I am convinced such a scenario was possible.)

Such barbarian abandonment of restraint would have indicated our cup of iniquity was ready to overflow.

However, we do not have that scenario - although it still looms. What we have now is a gracious "window of mercy" from our Lord. Although we deserved to be "given up" to speed toward our judgment, our beautiful Lord has given us another time to repent and humbly seek Him. As we do we can expect a "shower of righteousness"( Hosea 10:12) and a "healing of our land."(II Chronicles 7:14)

We must emphasize that in saying what we have about what may have emerged if the first candidate had won is not intended by any measure to unduly affirm the administration of the second candidate who now becomes our president. We are still killing our unborn, still licentious, still arrogant, still self-absorbed, still caught up in the good times, still unrepentant and distracted, still headed for judgment, still must repent and seek the Lord - these realities have not changed!

Our divided nation has many of the characteristics of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when Ahab and Jezebel ruled, when that nation waffled between God and Baal.

The great prophet Elijah confronted the indecisive nation on Mount Carmel, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If God is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow Him." Then there was the great test to see whether God or Baal would answer by fire. Baal, which is only an idol, did not of course. But God did answer by fire. And when the people saw that, they fell prostrate and cried out "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!" Later Elijah prayed for rain for his nation.

The late Peter Marshall Sr., once chaplain of the United States Senate and pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. preached about Elijah's confrontation with Israel on Mount Carmel. Marshall concluded his powerful sermon with a quote from Life Magazine. Here is the quote's last sentence: "We need a prophet who will have the ear of America and say to her now, 'How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal be God, follow him - and GO TO HELL!'"

We're at such an "Elijah moment" now!

May we use the time God has given us to seek Him, and speak to our nation!

Let us pray together: Our gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy at this time in our beloved nation. We thank you for the many focused believers who interceded for you in the days ahead of the 2000 election, and during the 36-day debacle afterward. But oh Lord, we must not squander this moment. We must seize it and seek your face, in humility and repentance. And we must speak up, we must raise our voice to our nation and call it back to You. Oh Lord, do whatever is necessary to see Your Church do this. And oh Lord, may our country see a sweeping spiritual awakening from the White House to my house, to every house."