Who’s in Charge?
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. (1 Timothy 2:1-4, 8) NIV
Honor, respect, dignity. As I look around our society today these are becoming harder to find. With each day the political arena is heating up hotter and hotter. I’ve watched good people, godly people get sucked into the fighting, name calling and finger pointing. It’s chaos. I find myself asking, is this really how we should be acting? Is God pleased by his people? What is going on and how do we fix it?
In my studies of rulers throughout Biblical history, I found that many times God placed his people under authorities that didn’t make sense. Moses should have been killed right after birth. Jesus should have been killed in his toddler years. The Israelites had to plead numerous times before Pharaoh let them out of captivity. Jesus was crucified because of unjust leaders who couldn’t stand up to the pressure of the people. All these things took place along with many more under God’s divine plan. God put those leaders in place for a purpose. Romans 13:1 confirms that God is the one who put them there. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord, he guides it wherever he pleases.
What would have happened if Pharaoh would have let the people go the first time they asked with no question or opposition? I don’t know, but I do know that the Bible tells us the Lord himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Could it be that God wanted to prove himself mighty by being Israel’s only way out? There they were, the Red Sea on one side, Pharaoh’s army coming at them from the other. Stuck. Outnumbered. But God showed himself strong and one of the most talked about miracles takes place. The Red Sea parts and Israel walks across on dry land. Biblical history would have been forever changed without Pharaoh’s opposition.
When we read the story of Jesus’ arrest and trial, we see him go willingly. He didn’t try to defend himself, talk about his rights or his opinions, he simply prayed God’s will to be done. Because of his willingness to endure the pain the greatest event in history, the resurrection took place; the hope of all mankind. But Pilate was part of that story. Someone had to make the decision to allow Jesus to be crucified. Without that decision our victory could not have been won.
What I find is that God’s plan for leadership doesn’t always match ours. What I do know is that God is in control. Whatever happens in this election or the next ten doesn’t surprise him. What he does expect us to do is pray and be responsible for our actions. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.” I certainly don’t agree with everything any politician does, says or promises. Many times I don’t agree with anything, but God’s commandment isn’t to find common ground and then love, honor and respect. We are to love those who persecute us, pray for those in authority.
I read a quote from an old veteran stating that he had never seen such disrespect for the office of the President is all his life as he is witnessing now. Sometimes, I think we get so caught up in the emotions of the political process we forget all Biblical commands: Love, Pray, Honor those in authority. It doesn’t say just the ones we like. At the end of it all, we have to remember the President and all politicians are souls. Souls Jesus died for. While we were sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus loves all the people we are bashing, name calling and saying bad things about. He died for them too. Instead of attacking and disputing maybe we should put our energies into prayer, love and servanthood.
One final thought. Jesus, being all God, knew from the start who Judas would become. but yet he washed his feet and became like a servant to him anyway. He spent years investing in a man he knew would betray him. He loved him and put him in charge of the money, all the while knowing the end result. It’s time to get back to serving, honoring, loving, and praying. Will the very people we serve, honor and love betray us and cause us harm? Quite possibly, but that’s the example set before us by our Savior. When we stand before the Lord, I can only imagine that political debates, arguments, and judgements will pale in comparison to how we loved, honored, served, and prayed.
Father, thank you that you are the one in control. Help us to love, serve, honor, and pray harder than ever before. When we are tempted to step into the argumentative society that surrounds us; may your joy and love overcome our souls. May we be walking so close to you that when pushed only your love spills out; not hate or distain. Help us oh God.