It is perhaps one of the easiest things in the world to find fault with rulers in authority over us. However, place yourself in the shoes of someone of higher authority for a moment. How would you manage in their place, or juggle some of the great and weighty responsibilities of our times? It is surely no easy task being a king, queen, ruler, prime minister, president, or any great leader in any age, let alone in this complex and challenging 21stcentury.
And even kings can despair. Consider the fretful thoughts of one of the greatest rulers in earth’s history, the ‘wise’ King Solomon… The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind! What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, 12-15; 2:18-23
Solomon realized that in spite of all his efforts, like all people on earth, he would one day leave everything behind. The earth is no one’s permanent home, neither is anything that we have built or established going to be ours forever.
Through our God-given free will, humanity has been blessed with the incredible power of…choice. We may think we need to ‘legislate’ more choice, but the truth is…we already have it. God said so. He also said we may choose ‘life’…or ‘death’… We can choose to live in a way that pleases Him, by establishing and leaving behind our legacies of hope and strength, generosity and goodness for future generations, or we can tear things apart through tyranny, anger, anarchy, and rebellion. It’s up to us.
Earthly rule and order is God’s way, and some have been given more than others. That’s the way it is. God’s divine order of things has established that all order and the rule of just laws is good. When we set things up otherwise, mankind does so at our own peril.
All good and godly authority at work on earth is but a glimpse of God’s higher rule and His established heavenly Kingdom. God never intended for man to set up our own kingdoms, but to build kingdoms which reflect His heavenly kingdom, a Kingdom which Jesus said, is ‘not of this world’. In other words, God’s kingdom ways are not a vanity, man’s are!
King Solomon figured it out. Perhaps we need to take time to ponder his experience, and do the same.
Most Christians realize that the peaceable rule of kings, queens and other authorities is no accident. It is a result of God’s Kingdom being manifested on earth as it is already established in heaven. As Christians, God calls us above all to pray for all who are in authority over us…yes, even if we do not agree with them, and perhaps especially so during such occasions.
As citizens of a higher country, of God’s heavenly kingdom, God calls us to pray. Why? Because prayer ushers in His heavenly authority to intervene in the midst of man’s inevitable imperfections, failures, and limitations.
If you start your day with prayer, pray first…for those in authority, in order that we may live peaceably in our time…
© 2013 S. Michaels