Sometimes I feel so helpless when I look at our culture. What can I do? My friend Brother Andrew asked that question of God many times. And God gave him specific instructions about what to do. As a result, as Andrew often said, “I did what I couldn’t!”
But wasn’t Brother Andrew special? No, he insisted he was an ordinary Dutchman. Anyone could do what he did if they personally knew his amazing God.
Inspiration for this way of life came from various Bible characters. One of his favorite was Elijah (see 1 Kings 17-19). The following introduces Elijah’s cultural context. It sound a lot like the arena of conflict we face today.
[Be sure to watch a short video at the end of the blog, where Brother Andrew speaks about answers to prayer.]
If there is no God—with a Capital G—then nothing is immoral.
The downhill slide of a great nation is often swifter than its rise to glory. Israel reached the heights of power, wealth, and splendor under King Solomon. But shortly after Solomon died, the nation split in two. Republicans and Democrats had nothing on these people. Right wing parties versus Leftist movements; fascism opposite socialism—all tame compared to this rift.
Within the northern kingdom of Israel the situation could not have been worse. Scripture doesn’t focus on daily life or the politics of the rulers. Instead we get a brief summation of God’s perspective. A prophet revealed to Jeroboam, Israel’s first king, that he would rule because the people “have forsaken me and worshipped Ashtoreth…Chemosh…and Milcom…and they have not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my rules” (1 Kings 11:33).
That should have provided sufficient warning. God spelled out how Jeroboam and his sons could reign for many generations. Just listen to all God’s commands and walk in His ways. Simple!
Did Jeroboam pay attention? His first major policy move was to detach the people from the temple in Jerusalem. There would be no reconciliation with their brethren to the south. To insure that separation he erected two temples devoted to worship of two golden calves. I can only assume he hadn’t read Exodus 32 or he would have realized that was a really stupid move.
There’s no need to go into all the morbid details of Israel’s rulers except to say that by the time Elijah appears on the scene, there have been coups, a civil war, and the latest king has done more evil than all his predecessors.
This political mess was the context for Elijah’s life and ministry. Our political and cultural context today isn’t much better. However, we aren’t powerless—if we know who is really in control.
For Reflection: What frustrates you in the current political environment? Remember, we are commanded (it’s not a request or opinion) to pray for our leaders (see 1 Timothy 2:1-2). When is the last time you prayed for your leaders? Take a few minutes to do so now.
I was challenged, Al, by your blog today, reminding us of God’s commandment in 1 Timothy 2:1 to pray for those in authority. Verse 2 adds that “….we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” It’s obvious that we don’t see much godliness, peace and reverence for You and Your truth in the culture of our country and the world.
So, I confess that when I hear “pray for those in authority, I am hesitant to pray without seeking God’s heart; how He would have me pray, and not pray my own fleshly desires, which probably wouldn’t be His will. After reading your blog, I spent some time seeking God in prayer and meditation as to how He would have me pray specifically for our leaders, using Scripture as the foundation:
“Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, the One True God on the Throne, who is Ruler of the Universe and whose Kingdom purposes will not be thwarted even in the midst of all the chaos and evil resulting from ungodly decisions and actions. Lord, we know that many of those in authority do not know You, or seek You. But You seek them. I pray that You would direct their hearts with Your wisdom and discernment in making decisions and laws according to Your will and Kingdom purposes. The passage in Timothy also states that “….You desire all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.”
I pray the above for our President and all of his advisors, Congress, the Judicial department, all in local government, all who are in authority
As Brother Andrew said, we may not know the answers, but in obedience I pray these intercessions to “Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Eph 3:20)
In the Mighty name of Jesus. Amen”