God Is Responsible For Installing Rulers Among Men As Well As Removing Them
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
When events in our lives trigger great emotional distress, we are often at risk of forgetting our foundational beliefs. For many people, the recent election of Donald J. Trump to the office of President of the United States has caused great anguish. It was reported that upon hearing the news, many people wept openly and bitterly. Others cheered and rejoiced. Both were emotional responses to a desired outcome that either was fulfilled or frustrated.
When we experience this type of deep emotional response to something, we should take a step back, and check it against our core values. We should then ask ourselves some questions:
- Why am I feeling this way?
- How should I respond?
- What is God doing?
In our emotional condition, we can often forget a most important aspect about God – that He is Sovereign.
God is seated on His throne in Heaven. He and He alone is sovereign over all of the universe. God is the one who raises rulers up and takes rulers down. There is no authority on Earth except that which is established by God, either currently ruling, in training to rule, or being removed from their rule.
Disciples of Christ have a tendency to forget that we are merely ambassadors for Christ here on earth; our true home is in Heaven with Jesus. And while the world around us is amazed and bewildered by the seemingly random and odd circumstances that they find themselves in, disciples of Christ should realize that God is sovereign, He has a plan, He is working His plan, and we have nothing to fear because God works out everything to good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
God is the one who topples rulers. We are like a mist; here for a short while, and then gone. There is no position of authority that we place men and women in rule above us that is not overseen by God. We think that because we have voted someone in or out of office, or they have been assassinated, or they are disgraced, that somehow we have done these things. It is instead God who has allowed them to happen. Nothing happens in this universe without the express prior knowledge and approval of God.
To think that we are solely responsible for the removal of persons in power is mere arrogance and pride. God is able to protect His rulers from all harm and evil if it suits His purposes. It was said that the American Indians realized that George Washington was blessed and approved by the Great Spirit. Indian warriors of renown who never missed their prey with their arrows reported that their aim was true when they would fire upon Washington, but the arrows would not find their mark. Even now, shells fired from rockets that get through the Iron Dome in Israel are sometimes blown out to sea by great winds that suddenly arise after the shells penetrate Israel’s defensive perimeter (much to the chagrin of those who fire them at Israel).
God’s people have allowed politics to cloud their vision of Him, His power, His will, and His way. Many disciples of Christ set their hopes, fortunes, paths, and joy on the outcome of elections rather than the goodness, mercy, grace, holiness, and righteousness of God. We place God in a second-tier position, as though God is the one who is responsible for executing our commands and fulfilling our every desire.
We treat God like a genie, and send prayers up to God (“rub the genie’s bottle”) every time we need something, only to shove the genie back in the bottle and cork it when we have our wish and don’t need Him anymore in our lives. We relegate God to our slave and desire Him to only be sovereign in our lives when WE want something changed.
We have forgotten that God is sovereign. We weep and wail when we don’t get our way. James gently chides us for this:
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Instead of sorrow at our circumstances, or who is pulling the switches and levers of power in this Earthly realm, let us set our eyes upon Him who is in the Heavenly realm, and petition Him according to His will. Let us submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and watch as the enemy flees*. Let us rejoice that our Creator is in charge, and that leaders come and go at His behest. Let us set our hearts upon the commission that we have received, and let God take care of our provision and care.
Was God able to rescue Joseph from the hands of his brothers and Potiphar? Was God able to rescue Daniel from the lion’s den? Was God able to rescue Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the flaming furnace? Was God able to rescue Peter from being chained in jail with guards? Was God able to rescue Paul from those who sought his death? Was God able to rescue Jesus Christ from eternal death? If He is able to do that for them, why would you think that He is unable to do that for you?
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I more concerned about politics or God’s will?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You and You alone are sovereign over all. Help me to remember that I am merely a visitor here on Earth, and that my place is with Christ in Heaven. Help me to have a proper perspective on all that occurs in life, so that I may not be shaken or swayed when events do not go my way, and especially when then do go my way. Father, help me to have a heart that is always centered on You, and to accept Your sovereign rule in the lives of men. Give me peace in the choices that You make in the rulers over my life, and help me to be a faithful witness of Your Son regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Notes: This blog was edited for spelling errors.
- Jesus was comforted by angels after his encounter with Satan in the desert. When we submit ourselves to God (the rest of these sequence of events is PREDICATED upon this primary principle), resist the devil (which may come at a very high cost in money, emotional distress, and/or difficult circumstances), it is only then that he will flee. Don’t think that this is going to be easy. You have signed up for a war. Many of the combatants don’t even know they are engaged in it. Be wary, and listen to your Commander-in-Chief, who will provide all necessary instruction to win the battles (Jesus already won the war on the cross…).