The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. ~Proverbs 21:1 KJV
President Barack Obama isn’t a king, but he is the highest-level elected political leader of the United States of America. He begins his second four-year term as President today. This verse serves as a reminder that even a king’s heart is subject to the direction of the One True Living God.
In Daniel 2:20-21, the Bible explains that God himself is the one who establishes earthly authorities. Consider this statement, spoken as Daniel praised the Lord for answering his prayers about an interpretation of the king’s dream:
Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.
Just as Daniel did, Christians believe that God listens to and answers prayers:
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. ~Psalm 5:3
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. ~Psalm 40:1
A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. ~Matthew 8:2-3
We are commanded in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 to pray for our President and other leaders:
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 19th century, some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it. President Obama was elected, in part, because of his radical support for abortion. But the Lord could soften and change his heart at any time.
Determine today to do your part as one subject to various elected and appointed authorities. Pray for them regularly. Plead with the Lord to direct the President’s heart – and the hearts of other leaders – in the way God sees best.