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February 6, 2015

Have you ever read a passage of Scripture that you have read before, but this time something just stood out? It happened to me today.

It was from the story in 1 Samuel 16. King Saul was commanded by God to destroy the Amalekites for their treatment of Israel. Even their beasts were to be destroyed. The King overtook the Amalekites and destroyed them, but he allowed the "best of sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs and all that was good" to be saved (16:9).

When rebuked by Samuel, the King said, "I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice" (16:24 -- emphasis mine). 

Therein lies the waywardness of many political leaders.

They fear they will not be liked. They fear they will not be reelected. They fear they will not receive chairman positions. They fear they will not be able to advance in their political careers. They fear they will be persecuted--by the media, special interest groups, the other political party or even their own party. They fear everyone except the One that should be feared. And therefore, make decisions and carry out acts that run contrary to the Word of God.

Jesus said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). We usually think of that passage in light of governing authorities who persecute Christians. In fact, though, it is quite applicable to those in authority. They are not to fear, as Saul did, people (whether it be constituents, party, media, etc.) for all they can do is kill the body. Rather, they are to fear God, who has much greater authority over them and can produce a much greater, eternal wrath.

King Saul should have "obeyed God rather than man" (Acts 5:29).

Now, there is a place for all good leaders to listen to the concerns of those in the district. They should have the humble attitude that they are "serving their constituents" or "doing the people's work". But they need to know, first and foremost, that they are not servants of the people, they are servants (or deacons) of God, the Sovereign King of the Universe (Romans 13).

Please be in prayer for our governing authorities that they will seek out God's will in their daily decisions and work. Pray that they will not only know what is right, but that they will do what is right. And pray that they will not only do what is right, but will do it in a wise and prudent manner.

Think about it.