The world was in the bloody hands of a murderer. He ordered the death of own his mother, Agrippina, and his first wife, Octavia. In a fit of rage he kicked to death his second wife, Poppaea. Statesmen and nobles alike died at the whim of this evil monster.
According to the ancient Roman historians Cassius Dio and Suetonius, he set fire to the capital city to make room for his own extravagant palace. His palace was a 200-acre monument of self-indulgence.
When suspicions arose that he himself was the arsonist responsible for the deaths of thousands and the destruction of half the city, he cunningly found a scapegoat. He blamed his crimes on a despised religious sect and had its members bound to posts, covered with tar, and set ablaze. The despised religious sect was Christianity. The city he burned was Rome.
The monstrous ruler was the Roman Emperor Nero. By his command the Apostle Peter was crucified and the Apostle Paul was beheaded. Yet these very same men wrote these words to Christian believers of their day.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (Romans 13:1) and, “For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.” (1 Peter 2:13-14, New Living Translation)
Obey God Rather Than Man
The Roman Empire was cruel, corrupt, and immoral. Yet the Apostles of our Lord recognized that it was ultimately established by God to administer his justice in the earth. The Apostles also knew the empire was far better than anarchy and chaos. And they commanded God’s people to submit to its authority. Only in cases where human government conflicts with God’s word are believers permitted to disobey—that they might “obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
If the Apostles Peter and Paul declared that the government of the Roman Empire was ultimately established by God, shouldn’t we—who have prayed for God’s will to be done in this coming elec
tion—accept the election results as the will of the Lord. However, no matter how much we disagree with the candidates, none of them is a “Nero” and our government is immensely more compassionate and just than the Roman Empire.
Continue to pray for America. Pray that God’s will shall be done in our next election. And for God’s sake, vote. Accept the results as from the Lord’s hand and pray for those leaders whom He has raised up to govern us. Above all, pray for America’s spiritual well-being. Pray that God will turn the hearts of Americans to Him in faith, repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation.
Dear Father in heaven, please have your way in our next election. Please raise up godly men and women to fill the ranks of leadership in our country. Most of all, dear Lord, bless our nation with a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Turn our hearts to You, O Lord, and raise us to true greatness. Amen.
In article photo: President George W. Bush visits Pentagon by U.S. Army licensed under CC BY 2.0