Sometimes I don’t like the Bible.
That might shock, since I’m a pastor, Christian author, and speaker. But sometimes I don’t like the Bible.
What I mean by that is this. Sometimes I read the Bible and nod my head and love what it is saying to me.
But other times I read the Word and like sandpaper on the soft timber of my soul, it grates, it rubs, it, well, it convicts.
And a few days ago, in my reading, I stumbled upon 1 Timothy 2. I have read this passage many, many times. And I’ve always nodded my head and agreed with it.
Essentially it says that we should pray for those in authority. I’ve always been good about that. Pray for the pastor. Pray for the governor. Pray for the President. At times, those prayers have been really imaginative.
I pray that somehow the President will have a scandal so the other party, the party I like, wins.
Sometimes I pray for the governor to come to his senses and act the way I think he should.
At times I’ve prayed the pastor would preach a series of messages on those problems everyone else in the church has.
But this time I read 1 Timothy 2 and one word kept coming back at me, like a dart upon the target of my soul. Giving thanks.
I did a double take. So, I’m supposed to pray to God for the President, giving thanks?
I looked up the word in the Greek, hoping it secretly meant, “Be thankful you can vote him out in two years.” But it didn’t. It actually means something like, Express to God your worship and thankfulness to Him, for giving you that person in authority.
Yikes. That was easier when it was a president I actually liked, whose policies squared with mine. But . . . this guy? But, God, don’t you know…
But the Scriptures don’t hedge, fudge, or give me options. And, it was written to people who lived under despots and dictators, leaders who would make the wacko in North Korea and Iran look like members of a Baptist quilting guild.
So, since the Bible is God’s unchanging Word and my heart is in constant need of renewal and repentance, well, I guess it’s me that has to change, isn’t it.
Not only does God want me to pray for the president, the governor, the Senators, the Congressmen, He also wants me to thank God for them.
And so, we must, if we are to take our faith seriously.
I challenge you today. Thank God for the authority figures in your life. Even the bad ones. Even the ones who don’t follow biblical principles. Even the ones who hurt and abuse and destroy. Even the corrupt and unbiblical.
Because God put them there, they are his stewards. And so when we thank God for them, we affirm God’s sovereignty.