So it’s the morning after. Like you I watched some of the Beatlemania Obama Inauguration yesterday. As one who is not wrapped around the axle of the current political system (which means I didn’t vote for him/him or him/her), the whole guffaw over the new President is a bit unsettling. I’m not a Presidential historian but I’ve read my share of biographies. The first few guys who served in the office would not even recognize what it has become today (which is not new with Obama but probably with John Quincy Adams who expanded the office powers way beyond what the Constitution allowed). They’ve all done it so it’s really apples to oranges. On to more pressing issues.
I watched Warren offer a homily dressed up like a prayer at the beginning and a fellow Huntsville pastor offer a ridiculous benedictory diatribe/prayer at the conclusion. I wonder if the crowd would respond the same way if one of the pastors would have simply read Daniel’s prayer from Daniel chapter 9. How many blogs have you read that have exhorted you to pray for the President. I agree that we should pray for the President but let’s not pretend that heaven and earth hang in the balance of his every decision. More importantly, praying for the President never was nor is the point of 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
Paul argues that we should not discriminate in our prayers so we should even pray for, by way of example, our pagan Roman leaders (“on behalf of all men”). This leads to Paul’s more pressing point that God is the savior of all kinds of men (Roman, Jewish, etc.). The bottom line coming in 1 Tim. 2:5 that no mere man (Emperor, President, or otherwise) can represent man before his creator except the God-man (see Dan Wallace’s treatment of the special use of the genitive, pg. 135). Only a man can represent us and only God can save us so He gives us the “man Christ Jesus.” So by all means pray for the President but don’t loose sight of the real issue: there is one God and one mediator between God and man. Some trust in chariots but we will trust in the Lord our God.
For additional reading, file this in your “My kingdom is not of this world” archives. Wilson, I believe, is spot on here (full article here).
The over-the-top adulation of Obama that we are seeing is not just silly — it is wicked. When Obama puts his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office, that Bible really should be opened to this text.
“And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:20-24).
God takes this kind of thing seriously, and we must do so also. What should Herod have done? What could he do, when all those tee-shirt vendors were so out of control as to be hawking their “Herod is god” wares? Well, he needed to rebuke all of it, and give glory to God instead. One time at an Elvis concert, a row of young girls stood up in the middle of the concert with a long banner they had made which said, “Elvis is king.” Elvis stopped, pointed at them, and said, “No. Jesus Christ is king.” They all sat down, abashed, which several millions of politico-idolaters today need to be taught how to do. And things have gotten pretty bad when Elvis is a model we have to look up to.