Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
It’s early evening on the night of a major election in America. I have no idea who will be elected when I wake up in the morning but I do know one thing…
Whoever gets elected is exactly who God wants elected.
Sometimes, as Christians, we don’t like that and strive to find reasons we “failed” to get someone elected. Now don’t get me wrong… we should vote, campaign and participate in our great country to elect those officials we believe will best represent God’s will for our country.
However, we should never fret, fear or be anxious about the results. Paul left no wiggle room: there is NO authority except from God, and whoever gets elected was appointed by God for His reasons.
Yeah, but what about when a plainly ungodly man gets elected? There are a number of reasons God allows this (and many I’m not smart enough to think of):
- God may be allowing judgment to occur; this is certainly becoming more probable as our country descends into wickedness and drowns in innocent blood from murder, abortion and euthanasia
- God may use wicked rulers to refine His Church
- God may be handing us over to our own desires, removing His protection; much like when Israel chose wicked Kings
- God may be allowing us to “reap what we sow”
There are no doubt many other (and probably better) reasons God may “appoint” the wicked to reign over us. The point is, whoever ends up being elected tomorrow morning will be elected because God has ordained it to be so.
It has become popular to “disown” any elected official you don’t like; especially the President. How often have we heard publicly some celebrity or pundit declare “he’s not MY President; I didn’t vote for him!”. This is very inappropriate for Christians. Look at what Peter tells us:
1 Peter 2:13-17 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Peter didn’t give us any conditions or exceptions. He didn’t say “submit yourself unless you didn’t vote for the guy”; or “this is the will of God as long as the politician is a conservative”; or “Fear God and honor the King as long as the King honors God”.
It would be nice (humanly speaking) to have those conditions, but we don’t. As Christians we have a higher calling which understands that God is completely in control no matter who is in the White House. Reagan, Clinton, Bush or Kerry…. GOD IS IN CONTROL.
If you’re guy is not in the White House (or headed for the White House) as you read this, and your party is not in control of the Senate, or your state… it is NOT a reason for despair, anxiety or discouragement. It simply means that you need to now direct your efforts towards trying to discover God’s will and reason for who HE appointed to rule over you.
John 19:10-11 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (NKJV)
Our leaders would do well to heed the words of Jesus to Pilate. Pilate was proudly declaring HIS power when Jesus rightly reminded him that the only reason he had any power was because God gave it to him. I’m sure that went over well. We would see incredible change if every authority understood this principle.
However, it doesn’t matter if they do, or don’t. No leader has power unless given by God; and if God gives that power, He has His reasons why. Who would have guessed that God had a reason for appointing the brutal and ruthless Pilate to lord over His people in Israel. Pilate was key player in fulfilling the most important events in world history. Who’d a figgered? (that’s “who would have figured?” for ya’ll Yankees!)
We are to honor and obey our rulers. How far? Until they require us to do something that is clearly violating God’s law, precepts or principles. We have some clear examples in Scripture:
- Acts 5.29 – the Apostles refused to stop preaching Christ
- Dan. 3:16-18 – Daniel and his friends refuse to bow down and worship an idol of the king
- Ex. 1:17; 2:1-4 – Hebrew midwives and Moses’ parents disobeyed the law about killing their sons
God’s law is higher than man’s. God’s authority is greater than man’s. God’s will is sovereign over man’s. So while we are to “honor the king”, we don’t “honor the king” over the King of Kings.
Regardless of who is President; regardless of which party is in control… Christians above all people are to be humble citizens who set the example for all of society. Will we be “thanked” or rewarded? No. We’ll be persecuted and taken advantage of most likely. Our Master was treated much worse and He was a perfect citizen; so why should we expect different for following Him? In fact, the Bible promises this will be the case.
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. (NKJV)
As our society slips further into the abyss of materialism and immorality, this will only become more true, and more probable. The prudent parent and the alert church leader should recognize this and begin preparing the sheep for the wolves. We ignore this reality to our own peril (and our children’s).
God is in control. God appoints ALL leaders as He wills. We are to submit and honor those leaders unless they ask us to disobey God. And it doesn’t matter whether we like it, or whether or not we voted for them.
Lord, Help us to realize that You appoint our rulers for Your own reasons. Help us to be submissive and honorable citizens so that the unsaved may be drawn to You through our example. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you get distraught or angry over who is elected? Do you criticize, bad mouth and dishonor those elected officials you did not vote for? Do you honor and pray for our rulers, even those you didn’t vote for?
Application: Christian are to be the best citizens in the country. Our thanks will be persecution but even in this, the Lord Jesus will be exalted. Do you understand your duty as a citizen? Is your attitude about politics and our leaders “typical” of what we see today in America? Or is your attitude that of Jesus, Paul and Peter?
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?