Today was President’s Day, a day originally set aside to celebrate George Washington’s birthday but that is now used to honor past and current presidents of the United States of America. As I thought about today, and what it means, I was reminded that presidents are not randomly put into office. God is in full control, and He raises up rulers and removes rulers.
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.[Dan 2:21 NKJV]
God looks at nations and their hearts, specifically the hearts of His church and His people. Decisions He makes about rulers and nations can often be seen as linked to the heart of a nation, as what is in the heart is reflected in our actions. He will bring judgement on a nation that has turned from Him. An example of this is when He had the King of Assyria come against His people. God was angry because of their rejection of Him.
I am sending Assyria against a godless nation, against a people with whom I am angry. Assyria will plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath its feet.[Isa 10:6 NLT]
He uses rulers, both good and bad, to fulfill His purpose. Sometimes He will show mercy, but when a nation continually puts Him last, He’ll remove His protection. When His protection is removed nations suffer.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked [man] rules, the people groan.[Pro 29:2 NKJV]
There is consolation. God reigns in the ability of evil rulers. They can only do as much as He allows. And, when they don’t repent, and when He is done using them, He can, and often will, take them down and they suffer the consequences of their actions.
After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purposes on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will turn against the king of Assyria and punish him–for he is proud and arrogant.[Isa 10:12 NLT]
As we think about the presidents we have had over the decades in our nation, can we see when God removed His protection? Can we see when our hearts have not been right and it is reflected in our actions? I believe we can. History shows us so much.
What can we do, though, when we realize our hearts strayed? What do we do when we realize our actions, or inactions, reflected the world rather than love for God?
We pray for our nation. We pray for forgiveness.
We pray for all leaders, not just on President’s Day but every day. God can change hearts, even those who seem to us beyond reach.
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,[1Ti 2:1-3 NKJV]
Quite simply, we pray. We turn back to God and give Him our all.
As we reflect on the meaning of today we can see throughout history the times when your church gave you the glory and when we didn’t. You do not hesitate to shower nations with love when our hearts and actions reflect you. You also are a just God and will remove Your mercy when your people do not adhere to Your word and commandments. Lord, please forgive us for being self centered. Forgive us for being lazy and lukewarm during times of your mercy. Lord, we pray you will work on the hearts of those leading our nation. We pray, Lord, that our leader’s hearts will turn from stone to flesh. You can reach even those most lost in our eyes as you see hearts that we cannot see, just as you used Saul/Paul for your glory. Father, we pray for those standing strong for you in the ecclesia. It is a very difficult place to be when standing for your principles. Lord, please give us wisdom and discernment and knowledge so we know what to do. Help us remember to pray continually for our leaders, all of our leaders. You want that none should perish in eternity. Guard our hearts and minds. Thank you for the mercies you have shown us over the years.
In Jesus Name, Amen.