O God, help the king to judge as you would, and help his son to walk in godliness. Help him to give justice to your people, even to the poor. May the mountains and hills flourish in prosperity because of his good reign. Help him to defend the poor and needy and to crush their oppressors. May the poor and needy revere You constantly, as long as sun and moon continue in the skies! Yes, forever!
Psalm 72:1-5 (The Living Bible)
This psalm, written by King David, looks far beyond his own son Solomon and anticipates the reign of the Messiah; a time when God’s kingdom will be fully established on the the earth. However, as I read it this morning, I was stuck by how this would be an appropriate prayer to offer for our own leaders, especially our president.
I’ve made no secret that I disagree with most of President Obama’s policies. I believe that his stance on many issues (abortion, same-sex marriage, entitlements, etc.) is unbiblical. I did not vote for him in either the 2008 or 2012 election. If the constitution permitted him to run for a third term, I’m confident that I would still cast my vote for the opposing candidate.
However, I’m disturbed by how many Christians are unashamed to move beyond criticizing President Obama’s policies and insult and mock him as a man. Several years ago I was guilty of this myself and The Lord convicted me with this passage of scripture from Exodus 22.
You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people
Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke and expose the hypocrisy of the scribes, pharisees, and the temple priesthood, but He never made insulting remarks about the high priest or the Roman emperor. When Paul was brought before the Sanhedrin he apologized for calling the high priest a “whited wall” because he did not know that Ananias was the current high priest (Acts 23:3-5). I think the scriptures are clear that we have no right to curse or insult a ruler of the people, even when they are corrupt (like Ananias) or openly oppressive (like Caesar).
Beyond that, as Christians we are commanded to “love [our] enemies and pray for those who persecute [us].” (Matthew 5:44). I’m convicted by how often I fail to hold up our regional and national leaders in prayer. I’m quick to criticize them, but less quick to pray for them. I confess that my attitude and actions are unbiblical and demand repentance.
Father, I lift up those You have appointed as leaders over our region, our state, and our nation. I pray that You would draw them to Yourself and fill them with Your wisdom. I pray that You would use them to implement Your will for our country. Help me to faithfully lift them up in prayer and keep me from cursing or insulting them when I disagree with their policies. Thank You that You have permitted me to live in a country where I have the freedom to be engaged in the governing of our nation, but help me to remember that my true citizenship is in Your kingdom, not in any earthly nation.