THE KINGS OF THE EARTH
by Wayne S. Walker
“All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD, when they hear the words of Your mouth’ (Psalm 138:4). While we understand that God’s greatest gift to mankind involves salvation through Jesus Christ, we know that His plan for our lives here on this earth also includes civil government for our well being. He rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will (Daniel 4:32). Therefore, everyone, Christians and unbelievers alike, should be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1-4). The fact that “the authorities that exist are appointed by God” does not necessarily mean that God approves of every government and everything that any government does. He simply has ordained that there be civil government.
God certainly did not approve of the persecution of Christians by the Roman government, and the book of Revelation even announces God’s judgment upon the Roman empire for its evil. Yet, this was the very government in power when Paul said, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.” Thus, we can and indeed must be subject to properly constituted authority even when we disagree with some of its actions. Yet, there is a big difference between a government founded upon God’s standards and one founded upon ungodliness. In the early days of our country, the vast majority of our founding fathers were very religious men who publicly upheld the traditional Judaeo-Christian standard of morality because they knew that it was good for society. No one thought this odd or out of place.
Today, however, when people, including those in government, try to follow God’s standards in their civic affairs, such as in opposing abortion and homosexual marriage, they are accused of trying to establish a “theocracy,” of pushing their religious beliefs off on others, and of violating the “separation of church and state.” However, these charges are made only against those who follow “conservative religious” beliefs, never of those who adhere to “liberal religious” beliefs (and believe me, support for abortion and homosexual marriage are truly “religious beliefs” with the liberals) and try to force their religious beliefs on others. Christians should not be cowed or driven away from their support, political and otherwise, for God’s standards by this type of argument, because it is still true that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
God’s people always fare better, and most likely feel better, when those in authority at least show a respect for the principles of righteousness and morality that God has given to mankind. We like to see “all the kings of the earth” praising the Lord and striving to do His will. However, we understand that this will not always be the case. History is littered with rulers who were genuinely evil. And even today we see government officials who seem bent on promoting something sinful or ungodly. Yet, we also know that someday God will make it right, when, as He says, “Every knee shall bow to me [including those rulers who have ignored His will, WSW], and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11). Yes, we would prefer to see them do it here and now, but we must let God take care of it in His own good time and way while we continue to do what we can to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16).