I was recently impacted by a story I read in 2 Kings 9. Elisha sent a young prophet to anoint a man named Jehu as King of Israel, so that he could destroy the entire family of Ahab. The name of this young prophet remains a mystery and both Jehu and his fellow army officers thought of him as a crazy man who babbled on (2 Kings 9:11)! However, this young prophet did what he was instructed to do by Elisha, and anointed Jehu as king by pouring a vial of olive oil over his head. He then promptly ran out of the house and that’s the last we read of him.
When Jehu later came out of the house, his fellow officers asked what had happened. They were suspicious of what this ‘crazy’ man had said. However, when Jehu told them, they didn’t laugh - they immediately spread their cloaks on the floor, blew a trumpet and shouted, ‘Jehu is King!’ You see, in Old Testament times, when a prophet anointed someone with oil in this way, it was the equivalent of a coronation. God had spoken and it was done - the person was now king. There was huge respect for this. It didn’t mean that the person was perfect or even godly - they were just simply king because God decided it should be that way.
This respect for God-appointed kingship is found throughout the Scriptures. An amazing example is found in 1 Samuel 24 where David decides not to take his opportunity to deal with the injustice of King Saul but rather describes him as the Lord’s anointed one!
As we look at today’s society, however, we can see that this respect for authority has been lost completely. We live in a time where people only respect authority when it agrees with their position on things. How far this is from the culture of the Kingdom of God. Look again at our scripture for today. It reminds us in very simple language, that no-one has a place of authority without God having placed them there.
I don’t know about you, but I find this challenging because we live in a world where there are many ungodly people in positions of authority - but what is our response? Do we rebel, complain and speak curse on them or do we pray for them that they would have the wisdom of the Lord in their decisions. The Lord doesn’t expect us to walk into behaviour that is against His Word if those in authority ask us to. But He does expect us to honour our leaders and to pray for them. We might relate this to our national leaders but it also applies to our boss at work or our church or small group leader. Why not ask the Lord today, to help you see them as He sees them and to honour their position of authority.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to both respect and pray for those who are in authority over me and to exercise loving wisdom and care in my relationships with those, over whom you have given me authority. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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