Swimming Upstream: “Pray For President Obama, But Don’t Bow Your Knees To Him”

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 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)

Can you imagine what Timothy thought when he read the letter from the Apostle Paul containing the above verses? Maybe something like – Paul, you’ve lost it this time. Emperor Nero needs to be hung from a tree, shot at sunup, knifed in the back, pushed over a cliff and crucified. Prayers! Why waste them on this rogue?

But did you know that historians portray Nero as being extremely popular with the common classes of people? He supported the freedman class by vetoing laws enacted by the Senate. He cut taxes. He removed harsh tax collectors. He removed tariffs on imported food. His public relief effort after the fire consisted of heavy government spending on construction projects. He tried to reform the government. And oh yes, he was a great orator. People loved to hear him speak, especially when he promised them goodies.

Nero had a major downside; he persecuted Christians. Squads of soldiers were dispatched throughout the empire to inquire of people, “Do you swear allegiance to Emperor Nero as your lord?”

Sadly, Christians were backed into a corner with the question. They had one Lord, Jesus. When they answered negatively, they were whisked off to arenas where they were covered with skins of animals and offered as prey for hungry lions. Or they were crucified. Or they were mounted on poles, covered with wax and used as candles for lawn parties.

It was not a good time to be a Christian. And yet, Paul stated that believers needed to pray for Nero and that this was good and acceptable in the sight of God.

So fast forward to 2009,  we need to do the same for President Obama. Pray for him in every possible way. For Michelle. For Malia and Sasha. For his mother-in-law. For his aunt. For all of his administration. Why? So that we Christians can lead quiet and tranquil lives in all godliness and dignity.

But if President Obama steps over the line and asks us compromise our Christian principles, don’t bow your knees to him. Grab an animal skin and head for the lions’ den.

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian jouneys.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Swimming Upstream: “Pray For President Obama, But Don’t Bow Your Knees To Him”

  1. First, I don’t plan on bending my kness anytime soon.

    I’ve been trudging through Fox’s Book of Martyrs. It’s been on the coffee table, the shelf in the bathroom and is currently traveling to and from the place of employment in the back seat. The constant echo as I read on and on is “put a face on it.” The ongoing, endless, bloody tortures, one right after another, risk redundancy and an ultimate emotional shutdown, chilling further reactionary heartbreak over each disembowelment, decapitation, sawing, boiling, broiling, and burning at the stake. The little voice repeats itself over and over in my mind — put a face on her. Put a face on him, someone you know, someone you love.

    In my mind, the families in the arena are in tears. Their faces are not aglow in holy worship. The 2 year old is screaming and clinging to daddy’s neck, a strong young man who has no comforting words and no time to say them. The young mother is rolled over the infant in hopes that the beast is satiated with her body and spares her child. The aging grandmother’s lips quiver as she goads the lion, stepping away from her family thinking she’s being a decoy and giving them time to run. They look strangely like people in our orchestra, retired people greeting visitors at the door, the children’s minister, the minister’s wife.

    I read Isaiah’s opening chapters stating the evil nature of man and I realize that all that changes in the human race is our clothes. Until Jesus returns, man’s inhumanity to man will continue whether with swords, axes, fire, wood chippers, acid pools, whatever.

    Jesus, give us strength, resolve, and courage to stand up for you, to sacrifice our individual freedom to be what we want to be in order to be your slave and obey your commands, taking up whatever cross you say to take, and not faint.

  2. Larry Who

    Jane,

    “Put a face on it.” What a great revelation for all of us to learn.

  3. Pingback: My Revelation From “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” « Larry Who

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