Honor the King (Because the Other King Says So)
Fear the LORD and the king, my son,
and do not join with the rebellious.
It can be a challenge for a Christian to respond appropriately to an election. Those whose candidate won are full of praise and hope. For those whose candidate did not fare as they wished, there is little to do but look to the next election. Regardless of whether your candidate won or not, an important task remains.
Being an agent of the state is a spiritual matter. Those who look upon the state and its public servants as serving an exclusively secular purpose have not considered the entire scope of truth. This is the reason King Solomon instructs us to have a right mindset toward both the LORD and the king (Proverb 24:8).
Most public officials acquire their positions by election, through inheritance or—in some cases—by force. The events may seem haphazard, independent and unrelated at times. In our country elections are the result of decisions made and carried out by a great host of individuals. But these observable means are not the complete picture. The Scriptures claim there is a sovereign God who uses these various means to seat all heads of state in their place. The world and its universe do not follow a random courses of events. God has a keen interest in all realms of our being. He orders and governs in all of them.
Some three thousand years ago, King David put it well when he said:
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast…
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139: 9, 16)
Our world is under the sovereign care of the One who is the subject of the Old and New Testaments. All of life belongs to God. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. That means that every public official exists under his rule.
So what is a proper response to a public administration? We turn back to the three-thousand-year-old proverb’s direction to, “Fear the LORD and the king…” (Proverbs 24:8). That means we are to honor our leaders. That does not mean we are never to disagree with our leaders. This is not a call to be fatalistic. We do not stop caring for our state or cease to encourage and work toward needed change. But when we do, we need to always display respect and demonstrate honor in what we say and how we proceed. When difference arises, the watching world should be amazed at the way members of the Christian community extend honor to elected officials even when differing with them.
So, how should we pray for the leaders of our nation?
King of kings, your Word informs us that there is only one Lord and Savior. There is one ruler of all. You alone are sovereign over this world and universe. You place all those in positions of authority in our nation and world. Give us the grace to respect and honor our leaders. May we, your church, be faithful in praying regularly for our president, his administration, members of Congress and the Supreme Court as a means of giving them honor. We ask all of these things in the name of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Amen.