Authority is a big issue in the Bible. Of course, God is our ultimate authority and always deserves our first and greatest allegiance. However, it also matters what we say and how we relate to earthly authority. That goes for our political leaders. As I write this article, it still remains unclear who will be seated as our next president. But whoever he is, we need to show the world our loyalty to our Lord Jesus by watching what we say about our elected president. The current toxic political atmosphere tempts us to throw caution to the wind and jump into the fray. But as we slander and tear down, we need to ask ourselves, are we any different than the world? Do we speak evil about our leaders? In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul was on trial before the Jewish leaders and the high priest Ananias. As you may remember, this is the same Ananias (along with Caiaphas) who condemned our Lord Jesus to be handed over for crucifixion by Pilate. He was not a good leader by any measure! Paul made an opening statement before them, and “at this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth” (Acts 23:2). Paul apparently did not recognize him as the high priest (poor eyesight maybe?) and reacted, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!” Those standing near Paul exclaimed, “You dare to insult God’s high priest?” (v. 4). Instead of defending himself or pointing out the bad character of the high priest, Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people” (v. 5). When Paul said this, he was quoting Exodus 22:28 which says, “Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.” I find it interesting here in Exodus how the Word places blaspheming God right next to the command not to curse the earthly leader. In my life I have never witnessed more cursing of our elected leaders than in the last four years. What if we made a commitment to show the world our Christian testimony by refraining from speaking evil about our leaders and instead praying for them? One more thought…at the time this event took place, the emperor of the Roman Empire was Nero. A brief review of history will show you his rule was marked by the worst kind of evil brutality. Yet, I see nowhere in the New Testament where God’s people slander or attack the character of the Caesar. May the Lord help us to follow His Word and the example of Paul and the first- century believers!
Pastor Mark Boucher