By Pastor Scott
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV)
This is an interesting verse and strikes me as one that may be misinterpreted. You may conclude from this Proverb that every decision and action of a government or an official is the result of God’s pre-determined will, which would include good and evil decisions. But not so fast.
Think about what the imagery suggests here:
The river is independently flowing, but God can change the canals to suit His purpose.
We have many examples of this throughout scripture. Pharaoh is one that comes to mind. His purpose was evil but God used it as good to free his people.
God can also dam up a river so to speak. He can stop the plans of a country and bring it to nothing. My mind thinks what happened when the enemy nations were poised to attack Israel from the Golan Heights, but when the time came to attack their equipment seized. Their conclusion was it was the hand of God. Ultimately God is still doing this by being the ‘Restrainer’ in these last days. 2nd Thessalonians tells us that when He is taken out of the way, all hell will break loose.
No forgetting these things let’s now consider what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13.
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Roman 13:1
Paul does not recommend either of the two possible extreme responses to the presence of a hostile authority. He does not favour believers becoming like the Zealots, Jewish rebels who fought (often violently) for freedom from Rome; neither does he suggest that they withdraw to the desert to set up their own community far from the evil city. Instead, Paul explains how Christians should live within the structure. Only then would they be able to share the gospel and transform society.
Remember also these words from Paul:
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV)