leaders

God’s Anointing on Leaders

16 December 2021

6.4 MINS

Instead of relentlessly criticising and tearing down our leaders, let us lift them up in prayer, respecting God’s anointing upon them as office-bearers in service to the nation.

Then David’s men said to him,
Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you,
‘Behold; I am about to hand your enemy over to you,
and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’
Then David got up and cut off the edge of Saul’s robe secretly.
But it came about afterward that David’s conscience bothered him
because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe.
So he said to his men,
Far be it from me because of the Lord
that I would do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed,
to reach out with my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.
And David rebuked his men with these words
and did not allow them to rise up against Saul.
And Saul got up, left the cave, and went on his way.
~
1 Samuel 24:4-7 (NASB)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
~ Romans 11:29 (NASB)

I wrote recently here regarding God’s favour, that it is never absent, even when circumstances seem to contradict that fact. Further, that unless we are seeing what is happening in the world around us through the lens of God’s favour being a constant, then we will misinterpret what is actually happening, and our response will come from the flesh instead of from the spirit.

But I am concerned that this is precisely how many Christians are responding to current events in the political arena, and in particular relation to our Prime Minister and his own Christian faith, and the policies adopted by the Government. This is the case whether individual Christians see themselves as politically conservative or progressive, although often for different reasons.

Bitter Murmurings

But it’s primarily those who are conservative voters whom I see regularly expressing anger and outrage at those policies and expressing the kind of “not my PM” mindset that has become increasingly prevalent in recent times, as well as vowing to vote him and his government out at the election early next year, with absolutely no consideration as to what the alternative may be. And then there are those who link him to wild “One World Order” conspiracies, or even claim that he’s a Freemason in disguise!

All of this reminded me of the episode in David’s leadership that I referred to in that previous article regarding the destruction of Ziklag by the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 30, where in verse 6 it tells us:

“David was in great distress because the people spoke of stoning him,
for all the people were embittered.”

In other words, they were responding from their flesh instead of seeking the Lord. And that’s exactly how I see those who are criticising our Prime Minister now are responding. It’s a spiritual bitterness.

What Does God Want?

So how do we respond from our spirits in this situation? What would God have us do?

That’s where I believe the passages above are relevant. I strongly believe that the man being criticised, not even due to his being a Christian, but due to the office he was elevated to, comes with a particular anointing from God.

And this is exactly what Scripture tells us. At the beginning of 1 Timothy 2, Paul makes petitionary, intercessory prayer and thanksgiving for “all people” of primary importance, but particularly on behalf of “kings and all who are in authority”. And the reason Paul tells us this is of such importance is “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

Not only is this “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour” for our benefit, but in the larger scheme of things Paul is telling us it is an important component in God’s desire for “all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This means that our most important focus isn’t for our own views of how well or badly our political authorities are performing against our own personal perceptions or our views regarding their relative honesty and transparency. It is instead to completely set aside our personal opinions, and intercede for those politicians, petitioning God to work through them through His Holy Spirit; above all, to give thanks for them as those God has anointed to be used by Him as instruments in His deeply laid plans.

So this means that the kind of sniping and rumour-mongering that have become part and parcel of so many Christian social media pages is not only the opposite of what Paul urged in 1 Timothy 2, but could also be seen to be the kind of action proscribed in Exodus 20:16, which forbids “bearing false witness” or “testifying falsely against your neighbour”.

And as Jesus revealed in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), there is nobody who is exempt from being regarded as a neighbour, so when we see that includes our leaders and authorities, our proper response towards them is to act with mercy and compassion, which is surely the mindset required to engage in the kind of prayers which Paul was describing to Timothy.

Obedience to Governing Authorities

There is another passage that has been hotly debated in this regard, which is in Romans 13:1-5 ~

“Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities.
For there is no authority except from God,
and those which exist are established by God.
Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God;
and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.
Do you want to have no fear of authority?
Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
for it is a servant of God to you for good.
But if you do what is evil, be afraid;
for it does not bear the sword for nothing;
for it is a servant of God,
an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection,
not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience.” (NASB)

For what it’s worth, my take on this is different to any others I’ve seen. The first thing we need to understand is the time this was written, which was during the reign of the increasingly erratic, megalomanic and brutal Emperor Nero. And many commentators have noted that, even under such an oppressive regime that so persecuted the early Christians, Paul could still write that passage.

But I think we need to also understand that there was a whole lot more to the administration of the Empire than the Emperor, with an enormous, as well as enormously effective, bureaucracy which operated to ensure the proper and effective administration of everyday life within the Empire for the benefit of all.

And it’s this that I believe Paul was referring to when he referred to “governing authorities”.

But in our political system there is no distinction, but an unbroken strand from the highest political office to those who carry out their bidding or enforce the law. In fact, our leaders are in effect “first among equals”, as the authority they possess is delegated by those who vote for them. In short, they lead to serve. So in our case, the instructions Paul gave the Romans refers to all those involved in politics and its administration.

Don’t Make It Personal

But there are those who will point out that we are also permitted, and even commanded, to practice civil disobedience in cases where our leaders make laws which are contrary to God’s, and that is absolutely true, and in cases like Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement in mid-20th century America we have an almost perfect template for that.

But for those who have attempted to jump on that bandwagon and claim some measure of parallel with the kinds of restrictions here during the pandemic, it needs to be noted that those like King never targeted the politicians. They instead were appealing to the politicians to change the laws, because it was the laws, not the politicians who were the problem.

And the same goes for the cause of all the unrest I’ve seen regarding various issues arising from restrictions during the pandemic, much of it aimed at the Prime Minister. We need to learn to air grievances that focus on the issue and not the person in authority.

Pray for Our Leaders

So, in relation to our Christian Prime Minister, we are instructed not to carp and criticise, or to question his integrity at every opportunity, or to smear or slander him, but to pray for his success under God, and for his decision-making to be inspired.

And at a church conference earlier this year, the Prime Minister expressed precisely those sentiments:

“We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely and for each day I get up and I move ahead there is just one little thing that’s in my head and that is ‘for such a time as this’.”

If only we all had that mindset, and especially in relation to how we support our politicians in prayer.

He also spoke about the corrosive potential of social media, and as it’s the underlying issue here, I think he deserves the final word:

“If you look at each other not as individuals but as warring tribes, you know it’s easy to start disrespecting each other; it’s easy to start not understanding the person across from you.”

So please, in future if you’re tempted to say anything derogatory or judgemental about the Prime Minister, or in fact any figure in public life, remember that and think again. Instead of dragging them down on social media, lift them up before the throne of grace in Heaven.

And leave it there!

___

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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8 Comments

  1. C Stevens 16 December 2021 at 9:24 am - Reply

    Thank you Kim.

  2. K Hutton 16 December 2021 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Matt. 7:15-20
    I agree with most but am also aware of those who claim the Christian faith as theirs but fail to show Christian works and attitudes. Similar to the Pharisees in the Lord’s time on Earth… having a veneer of religiosity. Our Christian lives in 2021 and onwards must not be bland acceptance of corruption and evil in leadership; nor must it be putting our leaders under personal judgement. What our Christian lives must reflect now and into the future is godly wisdom.

    • Kim Beazley 18 December 2021 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      To be honest, whether it’s Scott Morrison or Dan Andrews, or even if it’s someone far worse, the point I’m making in the article is the same, in that there is an anointing on the office they hold. That’s why, in the OT, both the priests & the kings were anointed with oil, not to show that God’s favour was on them as individuals, but to remind everyone, those in office as well as the people, of God’s expectations.

      And I don’t think that, although we do not anoint our political authorities in the same way, anything has changed. And I think the verse I led with from Romans serves to remind us of that.

      So, as we were instructed by Jesus to pray that His Kingdom come & that His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, then if we see a clear case of our leaders falling below that standard in practice, then we need to ask God to turn them back.

      But that also means we don’t pray our own particular policy preferences into that. After all, you can guarantee that there will be Christians out there praying all sorts of different things that they want God to bless & bring forth. But because none of them are praying according to the Holy Spirit, their prayers are wasted.

  3. David Doyle 17 December 2021 at 9:47 am - Reply

    There are many scriptures applicable to our current situation.
    Everyone’s responsibility is obey God first (1st commandment) then his neighbour.
    While it is right to obey those in rulership and to pray for them, those in rulership are not given a blanket authority to be obeyed but to do the will of God I.e. to punish evil and reward the good ( Romans 12). Our current political leaders are not doing this but in fact contrary their “anointing” as you call it.
    There are genuine and legitimate concerns about lockdowns, masks, vaccines, mandates, coercion, discrimination etc etc.
    We like Christ have a responsibility to testify to the world that it’s deeds are evil, this includes calling out the PM, politicians, Premiers etc.
    God is raising up those like Moses to challenge our current day “Pharaoh” and deliver the people that they may serve the Lord. We like Moses challenge the evil purposes of the authority of the day.
    The Hebrew mid wives refused to obey the command of Pharoah having respect to God, as did Rahab in Jericho and Joseph and the wise men did in Israel when Herod had evil intent.
    King Rehoboam, King David’s descendant appointed in the line of Judah. was responsible for dividing Israel by listening to the wrong voices and making the burden on the people harder than his father Solomon.
    It maybe that God is humbling Australia through the actions of our political leaders as he did Israel with Rehoboam and later by Babylon but God punished Babylon because they oppressed and enslaved Israel and did not meet out God’s Judgment on Israel with fairness and kindness.
    Scripture says we are to render to Caesar was is Caesar but to God what is God’s. In 1 Corinthians we are told Our bodies, Spirit and consciences belong to God.
    In James we are told it is a sin to show partiality and all such as are partial are judges of evil thoughts, behaving in this way sets one up as a Judge, yet Jesus only is the Judge.
    As to the leaders and that “class”, Jesus is scathing of the hypocrisy of the rulers of his day naming them by their class, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:1-4). Jesus goes on to say they are only interested in praise and adoration, greetings, to be highly thought of, to be called masters and teachers etc. He says of them they are blind leaders and calls them fools.
    The Devil tempted Jesus to obey him and he would give him the kingdoms of this world even using scripture as part of his temptations. Jesus rejected the.Devil’s temptations “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Mat 4:10)
    Be careful Kim, that you do not encourage the current enslavement of the Australian citizenry by the use of scripture, requiring citizens to obedience to wickedness and totalitarianism.
    If we take your advice, no Christian will be allowed to preach the truths of scripture, particularly the gospel of Christ, or call out evil, because the authorities are “anointed” to pass laws even though such laws and orders encapsulate evil and punish those who are obedient to holiness and righteousness.

    • Kim Beazley 20 December 2021 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      ” Our current political leaders are not doing this but in fact contrary their “anointing” as you call it.
      There are genuine and legitimate concerns about lockdowns, masks, vaccines, mandates, coercion, discrimination etc etc.”

      That’s true, but you must also realise that there are Christians out there who hold a different opinion to you & me regarding those pandemic related issues, who think those measures were good & necessary. And that’s why we need to put aside our own partisan opinions on whether or not our leaders have taken the right course of action , & instead rise above the particulars & pray for God to be Lord in all.

      And like a number of respondents, you have confused God’s anointing on the office with His anointing of the person holding the office. It is NOT the person who is anointed. It IS the office. That’s why, in ancient Israel, because (unlike modern nations) the nation was covenanted to God, so the kingly & priestly offices were anointed by God. That’s why every successive king & priest was ceremonially anointed, because if the anointing was theirs, that ceremony would not have been necessary. So the anointing with oil signified the person was entering into an anointed position.

  4. Dave Bradley 17 December 2021 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    I am shocked that a PM with a litany a lies spoken regarding pandemic issues is allowed to go unchallenged…

    If a leader in public repeatedly lies, are the people who are meant to be followers of the Truth and truthfulness is valued meant to ignore the lie & the consequences…

    Doesn’t that just make all believers hypocrites about this current crisis and issues..

    I have prayed for the PM often, I am perplexed by many of his public statements about the pandemic…

    If as I have seen the harmful consequences to individuals & families, are you suggesting that I just ignore evil..

    • Kim Beazley 20 December 2021 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Apart from the fact that nothing you’ve said here is actually relevant to my article, where do you believe the PM has lied? And as he is merely the “first among equals” in the Government, with every sitting member having a voice & a Caucus vote, not to mention the fact that each Minister, not the PM, has primary responsibility for their portfolio, why do you place all the responsibility on him when my article clearly referred to all leaders?

      It’s also fair to say that those public statements which have perplexed you have more than likely had the opposite reaction from many other Christians.

      And that was actually my primary purpose in writing the article, to help people rise above their own political opinions & understand that our leaders need our prayers to be untainted by those opinions, so that we simply pray in line with The Lord’s Prayer, “your will be done”.

  5. Susan Cowley 3 January 2022 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    Is there no God in Australia that Scott Morrison may call on Him to do what is right & honorable in the sight of the Lord? The States have made their laws, BUT he did not raise a voice against them. The innocent are slaughtered, much like an offering to Molech. The old people to be legally killed off. How uncivilized our society has become. You will know them by their fruits. The fruit is rotten. As for wild conspiracy theories – Do you not understand the stated aim of the World Economic Forum, for National Governments to be simply stakeholders, with control vesting in a few world wide? (Openly stated / do some research) This is treason and not a biblical model for good. God established Nationhood. A world government has never been a good idea, and the bible makes it quite clear where that ends up. Our PM has contracted to buy 36 million doses of the experimental drug re: COVID from Pfzier …. do some research on that – It is extremely foolish to contract on such a basis (we might not be able to supply, but you need to buy X amount for us to agree to sell to you – and Pfzier has a terrible track record with regard to integrity. Yes the people get the government they deserve, they have abandoned God, in the main. May God have mercy on us.

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