The Good, the Bad, and the Sometimes Ugly
This was part of a message that Moses was to deliver to Pharaoh. It caught my attention. With all the current horror, or glee, with which we greet those who come into authority over us, there is an overriding truth we need to remember. The Scripture is clear as to Who does the final choosing of those who, for better or worse, are handed the mandate of command over our affairs.
Daniel prays this prayer: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things, he knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:20-22).
Jesus reminded Pilate that his power was limited: “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…'” (John 19:11).
Paul confirms this truth in Romans 13:1 when he says, “…there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Often we wonder why God has put into power people who are evil, misguided, inept, or not of the party we support despite our fervent prayers on their behalf!
This short statement delivered by God to Moses for Pharaoh tells us the answer: “…that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” In truth, the message was as much for Moses as it was for Pharaoh. We can imagine that Moses might have often wondered why God had put such a stubborn, proud, foolish man in charge of Egypt.
Of all the stories of God’s power and glory told throughout the centuries, few would compare with the story of the Hebrews leaving a devastated Egypt behind as they started back toward Canaan after years of slavery.
God set this Pharaoh up to bring him down and to show him, and the world, Who He was. The stories that filtered out of Egypt would inspire a healthy respect on the part of many of Israel’s natural enemies during their journey. Others would think twice about attacking a people with such a powerful God.
Moses, and the Hebrews he would lead, needed to gain a healthy respect for the God who was in the process of delivering them. Unhappily, the Hebrews often had short memories. They would forget the miracles of Egypt by the time they got to the Red Sea. It’s a weakness we all share.
But the truth remains. We don’t know the details of God’s plans, but we can be sure that the ultimate goal is God’s glory and power demonstrated to the world. When powerful men and women rise, or fall, whether or not they acknowledge God or attribute their success to Him, the Almighty is at work in them and through them to proclaim Himself to the world. Their success is His to give. Their downfall is His to command.
The greatest glory brought to God is seen in a redeemed soul. His purpose is not to cause a man or woman to succeed in life. Neither is His purpose to destroy that man or woman. His purpose is to save, to return us to Eden and that intimate relationship that the first man and woman once enjoyed with Him. To this end we are commanded to pray for those in authority over us: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:1-4).
We often stop our prayers at the request that we enjoy peace and as little government interference in our lives as possible, but God’s bottom line is salvation, which in turn will bring Him glory. and be of benefit to those in authority and to those of us under that authority.