By Dr. Harold Sala
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. Psalm 75:6-7
What part does chance or fate have when it comes to the establishment and removal of world leaders? Is a man a leader only because of his power and charisma, or is there a God in heaven who decrees that one shall lead and another shall be set aside?
In answering that question, I am reminded of an incident which took place about 2700 years ago when a haughty, arrogant king defied advice and decency in flaunting his authority. When he sulked because he could not buy a particular piece of property which he wanted, his wife framed the man and seized the property for her husband. His name: Ahab, the king of ancient Israel.
In a strange alliance with Jehoshaphat, Ahab decided to go to war with an old enemy, the army of Syria. But to foil the negative words of the prophet Micaiah, who had prophesied his death, Ahab disguised himself as an ordinary soldier while Jehoshaphat wore his royal robes–which made him a target for the enemy soldiers.
Furthermore, the enemy had been told to fight with no one save the king himself; but when the king was disguised as an ordinary foot soldier, how were they to know which one in the field was the commander-in-chief?
The enemy soldiers may not have known. But the Almighty saw through his disguise very clearly. Here’s the record of exactly what happened. “But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor….so the king died and was brought to Samaria, and they buried him there.” (1Kings 22:34,37). Think of the statistical odds of that just happening!
An archer takes his bow and fires it at no target in particular. Yet it just happens to strike the man who just happens to be the commander-in-chief, and that arrow just happens to hit his armor between the plates, which effectively turned out his lights!
Before Ahab went to battle, he had been warned. In fact, Micaiah told him, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!” (1Kings 22:28).
The Psalmist was convinced that leadership in our world is not a matter of chance or charisma, but the result of the counsel and will of the Almighty, who raises one up and sets another aside. Here’s the text: “No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another” (Psalm 75:6,7). James Moffatt translates that phrase, saying, “’Tis God who rules o’er men, this one he lowers, this one he lifts.”
Paul put it even more plainly as he wrote, “…The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Romans 13:1).
Now, let’s deal with a specific situation. What are we to say when a wicked individual comes to power and holds the lives of millions of people as hostages? Are we to say that they are there because of God’s appointment?
When situations develop which bring jeopardy and suffering to humanity, God works through men, yet it is He who puts one aside and raises another up. If the arrow in the hands of an archer could find its deadly mark in eliminating the wicked King Ahab from his throne so that a just and good man could take his place, it is a small matter for God to so remove those who blaspheme His Name and refuse to do His will.
Realize, friend, that those who walk across the stage of world leadership are there only by the grace of God, who raises up one and sets another aside. Don’t forget it.
Resource reading: Psalm 75.