1 Chronicles 1:1–54, 1 Timothy 2:1–15, Psalm 74:1–23
This month marked an election where I live. The party in power in the provincial government for decades was toppled by another party that not many thought would ever rule in our province. Even before the votes were counted, we were thinking that God is in charge. He sets up kings and leaders to suit His purposes.
Today’s OT reading is entirely genealogy, but a few verse outline decades of history: “These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the people of Israel: Bela the son of Beor, the name of his city being Dinhabah. Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place. Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith. Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates reigned in his place. Shaul died, and Baal-hanan, the son of Achbor, reigned in his place. Baal-hanan died, and Hadad reigned in his place, the name of his city being Pai; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. And Hadad died . . .” (1 Chronicles 1:43–51)
In the economy of God and in the broader perspective of time and eternity, my thoughts about government are basically simple. The phrase, “This too shall pass” comes to mind. Whatever God has in mind, I trust Him. Our new political leaders have a scary platform and a bad record in other provinces, yet God can use even that for His plan.
In this situation as in all situations, Christians have the same responsibility. We are supposed to pray for our leaders: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:1–6)
From these verses, I know that I’m to pray with a specific content for everyone, particularly political leaders. I’m to ‘supplicate’ which means urgent and earnest requests for their needs. This isn’t about raises in salary, but wisdom, knowledge, ability to make good decisions, etc.
‘Prayers’ is a similar word and its use here suggests an accumulation, taking prayer for governing leaders as a serious activity. It is easy to grumble when I don’t like what they are doing, but God wants me to pray continually.
‘Intercession’ is generally associated with speaking on behalf of others, usually in the sense that they are not able to pray themselves. In this context, I think of non-Christian politicians who need God working in their lives. When they make mistakes, they need forgiveness. When they do well and are criticized, they need grace and encouragement. Even if they are not godly people, God can turn their hearts to do His will.
‘Thanksgiving’ is easy to define, harder to do. Most people are not thankful for politicians. However, I know that I cannot be thankful and gripe at the same time. My attitude is affected when I thank God. He is wise to tell us to be thankful for our leaders and for others. It opens the door to truly caring about them and wanting them to know the truth about sin and about Jesus Christ. This is an important and practical passage of Scripture.
What is it about God that makes it easy to ask for these things? It is the fact of His wisdom and sovereignty. He rules the earth because He is the ultimate King. Nothing escapes His notice and nothing is beyond His power . . .
Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. You divided the sea by your might . . . You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter. Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name. Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts; do not forget the life of your poor forever. (Psalm 74:12–19)
Politicians may have power, but they do not ultimately rule. Only the Lord of lords and King of kings does that.