Daily Devotionals

Praying For Authorities

Pastor Steve Ellison

As I write this on Inauguration Day, I am reminded that Christians, thus the Church, are called to be wholly different, radically different, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. Those descriptors do not indicate any kind of wielding of power except through love, servanthood, and obedience to counter-cultural Biblical behavior. God has not left us alone in the world. He has given us a sacred text, the Bible, that is completely trustworthy and sufficient for all of life. The Holy Spirit indwells us, illuminating that text, and enabling us to obey what God has said in it. You personally may be thrilled with the transfer of power that will take place later today in the U.S.A. You may personally be horrified with that same transfer of power. If you cannot find a politician who disgusts you, you have not been paying attention. May I simply remind you that your feelings are inconsequential? You have been given a clear word from the Lord. You are called to oppose all ungodly policies. You are called to obey the authorities over you except when they require you to sin.

We have a very clear command in 1 Timothy 2:1-8, First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. (NASU) If you have problems with this paragraph, take it up with the Author.

You and I are called to put aside our personal feelings, wants, likes, and dislikes and obey the Lord. May I remind you that, Paul wrote these instructions while in prison, or right after being released from prison. Also, he had to at least figure that he would soon be imprisoned again, and yes it did happen. Furthermore, the authority over Paul during this time was Nero, and that fact needs no explanation. You and I must live to please God, who can kill the body and cast the soul into hell. Shall we ignore His clear command, while realizing that we will stand in front of His throne and give an account for even every idle word we have spoken. Uh oh!

We seem to miss the fact that the “bookends” around this passage are about the one offering the prayers is thus commanded and enabled to pray without wrath and dissension, and to lead a tranquil, quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This ought to be way at the top of our priorities in this trying time. Pray that you would live such a godly and dignified life. Pray that all humans would repent of sin and trust God. Pray that all humans would come to the knowledge of the truth. Pray that all humans would recognize Jesus the Christ as the “ransom for all” and the “one mediator between humans and God”. Your godly and dignified life would be an aid in the other things coming to pass.

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