I will tell you right now that this subject deserves more than a five minute consideration. Our notion of democracy has warped our understanding of the Biblical instruction of attitude toward leaders and governments. It actually gives us a sense that we are in control instead of God. The Word of God is clear on the instruction of respect and does not give us permission at any point to rebel against our rulers. Peter plainly states:
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1 Peter 2:13-14)
Sometimes we forget that it is God who puts the government in place for his purpose. He raises them up and he removes them according to his plan and purpose. Nothing is established that God has not allowed and he has purpose in it. This does not mean that we do not respectfully voice our Christian point of view to our elected representatives but this does not mean placards or death threats. Actions contrary to the Word of God takes away from our testimony of Jesus, not add to it. We certainly need to pray more for our leaders and governments but we also need to remember that God is always in control, even when we do not like what is going on. We cannot let go of our understanding that God has a plan and he uses the government of the day to bring it about.
Instead of protesting maybe we should consider God's will:
For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:15-16)
It is very important that we do not allow our actions to take away from our testimony. We do not agree with everything our government does but our duty is to pray. Some would say that action is better than prayer but to believers prayer is action and we do not do enough of it. Voice our position respectfully, contact our officials. Tell them the instruction of God, respectfully and in love. Then pray that the seed goes in and God will change hearts. If the government changes, great! If not, then know that God is doing something. Trust him because no government, no ruler can frustrate the will of God.
That is hard to understand when we look at various governments over the history of man. There have been some really evil rulers throughout history who have done terrible things, some of them in the name of Jesus. But remember, God has given us a long rope with which to hang ourselves if we so wish but sooner or later he reins in that rope and that ruler or government is removed and another one established. Yet, each government is used by God to move us forward to the end. Things are unfolding as they should, and, if we gain the right perspective, we will be glad for it. If we are looking for a happy life we will never understand why God allows certain things to happen. If we understand our place as servants, then we are glad for everything God is doing and allowing because we trust him.
So let us sum up this point this morning with very clear and concise instructions:
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. (1 Peter 2:17)
Today, take the time to pray for those who have authority over you. Find out the names of the various people who represent you at the different levels of government. Pray for them diligently every day. Write them a note and thank them for their sacrifice of service to the people. Let them know you are praying for them and the many decisions they must make every day. In doing this you will honour God.