I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1Timothy 2:1-4)
The above Bible text was written during the days of the Roman Empire. It was, big, powerful, mean, despotic, unfair, corrupt. But, bad government is better than no government. Anarchy, i.e. the absence of civil government, is the worst possible condition under which people could live. So, the Roman Government was bad for Christians but better than anarchy. God first established the family and then established human government. Much later, God established the Church.
Paul instructed Christians to pray and give thanks for all that are in authority. If you’re given a speeding ticket, you may not want to pray for God to bless the patrolman. But if it were not for him, it would be dangerous to drive to church or the grocery store. We live in a world filled with corrupt and violent people who have no heart of mercy or pity on anyone. Government is required to restrain evil people, to limit their power over others to do them harm. For that reason, we are to obey.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Rom 13:1-4)
This should be studied carefully. It uses the words: good and evil. It is God’s will that governments be His ministers to reward good and punish evil as God defines those words. He does not turn the moral structure of the earth over to evil government officials to carry out their own definitions of good and evil, from one king to another king. That would be unstable and chaotic.
God said: When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Pro 29:2)
It’s hard for us to realize what it would be like to live under a king. The kind of government we have in America has not been around very long. The Founding Fathers called it: “a Republic.” (Not a democracy). It was known as the “great experiment” to see if human beings could govern themselves. John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and 2nd president said: Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
The real power of our nation is “we the people.” Power flows from “we the people” to those who exercise the laws over us. The great parliamentarian Edmund Burke warned us, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” “We, the people, are important.
God is the author of nations and claims His authority to be over the nations, not just the individual and not just over the church. The Psalmist prayed: Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah. (Psa 9:20)
That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (Isa 45:6)
Isaiah said to Jerusalem and Judah: And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them. (Isa 3:4) God is ultimately in charge of nations. He can give us good leaders or bad leaders. It is unthinkable that children would be the princes of a nation or that babes should rule over a nation. God’s power is far reaching and thorough. Should we not obey God and pray for those in authority over us?
J. Vernon McGee comments about our verses for today:
"Paul says that Christians are to pray for public officials, and I take it that he meant that the prayers were to be made in the church. To bring this up-to-date, he is saying the Democrats ought to pray for the Republicans, and the Republicans ought to pray for the Democrats. Many years ago a famous chaplain of the Senate was asked by a visitor, "Do you pray for the senators?" He replied, "No, I look at the senators, and then I pray for the country!"
That is exactly what Paul says we need to do. We need to pray for our country, and we need to pray for those who have authority over us. If you are a Republican and a Democrat is in office, pray for him. If you are a Democrat and a Republican is in office, pray for him.
"For kings." Paul says we are to pray for the kings who rule. You may ask, "Yes, but are we to pray when the government is a corrupt one?" Paul is saying we are to pray even if it's a corrupt government. We are to pray for whoever is in power. Remember that the man who was in power in Rome when Paul wrote was bloody Nero, yet he says we are to pray for kings, whoever they are.
"That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." Any government is better than no government. Some people may question that, but an evil, corrupt government, if it really governs, is better than anarchy. I agree with those who argue that politics is crooked—man has certainly corrupted and misused political power—but there does remain a semblance of law and order. Civil government is a gift from God, and we ought to give thanks for it and pray for it. Many of us fall short of praying for our government in order that we might continue to live quietly and peaceably." (McGee)
We should be in the habit of praying daily. When we pray, we should pray for all those in authority. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 9, 2017 – THURSDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 8-10 P.M. Mark 12:28-44
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
Song for Today:
U.S. Army Band & Chorus (5:12): Battle Hymn
(Wait a few seconds. You may have to delete an ad.)