Because of the words and actions of 45 and members of his administration I’m hearing more and more people pray for his removal. Recently I published the blog post, Like It Or Not The Bible Says We Must Pray For Our Leaders. However 45s actions, over the past week added to the things that he has said and done, starting with his campaign for President, have given me pause and caused me to rethink what I wrote in that post.
I have been teaching on prayer all year and one of the things that I have emphasized is that we should be open with God when we pray and tell Him how we really feel. I even preached a sermon a few weeks ago titled Stop Faking It. So I decided to look at what the Bible says about removing wicked leaders if we feel that their actions are ungodly and against the teachings of Christ. Here what I found.
We Are To Pray For All Leaders While They Are In Positions Of Authority
I do realize, as I said in my post, that we are to submit to governing authorities, and that we are to pray for our leaders.
Romans 13:1-5 (NLT)1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
However We Are Not Prohibited From Praying For The Removal Of Wicked Leaders
The instructions to submit and pray for authorities and leaders are applicable only while they are in these positions. What I have learned through prayer, research, and scripture is that we are also to pray for the removal of leaders and authorities who working against God’s will for His people.
Proverbs 25:5 The Message (MSG) Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice;Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.
We as believers are accountable when we see evil and to speak out against it.
Proverbs 24:24-25 The Message (MSG) Whoever whitewashes the wicked gets a black mark in the history books,But whoever exposes the wicked will be thanked and rewarded.
Psalm 94:16 (NLT)16 Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers?
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NLT)16 There are six things the LORD hates— no, seven things he detests:17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent,18 a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong,19 a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
Isaiah 5:20 (NLT)20 What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.
Ephesians 5:11-14 (NLT)11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Matthew 18:15-17 (NLT)15 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.
16 But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.17 If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.
So How Do I Pray For Removal Of Wicked Leaders?
As you read through the Psalms you will find that many of them call for judgement on those the psalmist considered enemies. Those who persecuted them and others. At first blush you think how can a God who is love do the kinds of things the writers are asking Him to do. Why are these things even in the Bible?
Here are just two examples;
Psalm 109:6-15 (NLT)6 They say, “Get an evil person to turn against him. Send an accuser to bring him to trial.7 When his case comes up for judgment, let him be pronounced guilty. Count his prayers as sins.8 Let his years be few; let someone else take his position.9 May his children become fatherless, and his wife a widow.10 May his children wander as beggars and be driven from their ruined homes.11 May creditors seize his entire estate, and strangers take all he has earned.12 Let no one be kind to him; let no one pity his fatherless children.13 May all his offspring die. May his family name be blotted out in a single generation.14 May the LORD never forget the sins of his fathers; may his mother’s sins never be erased from the record.15 May the LORD always remember these sins, and may his name disappear from human memory.
Psalm 137:7-9 (NLT)7 O LORD, remember what the Edomites did on the day the armies of Babylon captured Jerusalem. “Destroy it!” they yelled. “Level it to the ground!”8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us.9 Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!
Psalm 58 is an expression of dissatisfaction of national leadership
Psalm 58:1-11 (NLT)1 Justice—do you rulers know the meaning of the word? Do you judge the people fairly?2 No! You plot injustice in your hearts. You spread violence throughout the land.3 These wicked people are born sinners; even from birth they have lied and gone their own way.4 They spit venom like deadly snakes; they are like cobras that refuse to listen,5 ignoring the tunes of the snake charmers, no matter how skillfully they play.6 Break off their fangs, O God! Smash the jaws of these lions, O LORD!7 May they disappear like water into thirsty ground. Make their weapons useless in their hands.8 May they be like snails that dissolve into slime, like a stillborn child who will never see the sun.9 God will sweep them away, both young and old, faster than a pot heats over burning thorns.10 The godly will rejoice when they see injustice avenged. They will wash their feet in the blood of the wicked.11 Then at last everyone will say, “There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.”
This Psalm presents a pretty vivid picture of what’s happening in the United States today. 45 is corrupt selfish, greedy wicked and ruthless. He doesn’t appear to listen to advice and is never moved, either by appeal nor threat.
Psalms like these are called “imprecatory Psalms.” They are Psalms which ask God to curse, destroy, or remove an enemy of the writer. They are pleas for vengeance, justice, and equity for those unable to defend themselves.
While these are pleas for vengeance, justice, and equity the one praying doesn’t then go out and carry it out themselves. The Psalmist is expressing himself to God in need. He is saying, “God things are so bad here right now because of this, will you enact vengeance upon them because of their wickedness.”. In praying this way the outcome is left to God. The prayer entrusts the answer to God. This doesn’t mean God will answer at that moment. What it means is that the responsibility of setting things straight is put into the hands of the rightful authority, God.
When the psalmist prayed for God to shatter the teeth of his enemies, or even their his death, he was making the point that God is holy, righteous, and just, and He will ultimately judge the wicked for the evil they do. In praying this way we are giving up our up the idea how to handle our enemies and are relying on and trusting God to protect us. As Christians we know that it is unlikely that God will "shatter to teeth of or enemies or that He will cause bad things to happen to them or their families. But because we know that God is good and hates evil that His will is for good and love. Our imprecatory prayer then is that His will be done. We trust the judgement to God, knowing what He says is the end result of evil and those who do it.
I’ve talked about imprecatory psalms in the studies on prayer I’ve led this year. In the sermon that I preached a few weeks ago I urged the congregation to be real with God in prayer, to “stop faking the funk.” In other words tell God how you really feel. If you want Him to remove 45 tell Him. He will not judge you for tell Him how you feel.
After much prayer and research, I’ve concluded that Christians can, and in fact, should pray for the removal of wicked leaders from positions of authority. We should pray that God will make them powerless, remove them from office, and prevent them from gaining access to power.
We can honor Jesus' command to pray for our enemies and those we disagree with, and for their salvation,
Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT) 43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
And at the same time pray for their removal from office and positions of authority.
Proverbs 25:5 The Message (MSG) Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.
Editor’s Note: I pray that the members of 45’s Presidential Evangelical Advisory Board read this post and that they pray about their continued involvement with this man who has shown himself over and over to be a wicked leader who has no regard for the truth,or compassion for the less fortunate and suffering discrimination and danger. I can’t understand how they can continue to endorse a man who has shown himself over and over to have no moral compass and one who through his actions, if not incites, encourages hatred. To use the excuse that Jesus did not stay away from sinners is a very weak one. Yes, Jesus spent time with sinners, He came to save them, but He did not endorse them, He did not elevate them, He did not “kiss up” to them. As Judah Smith said; "You don’t have to be good to be Jesus’s friend. You just have to be honest." 45 is not honest. I ask all my brothers and sisters who continue to support 45, to pray and ask God if he is pleased with you and your support of 45, and then wait for His answer. I’m not God but I do know enough about Him from His word, to be sure that His answer to you will be NO!. (At the writing of this post there has been only one resignation from the Presidential Evangelical Advisory Board)
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NLT)14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?16 And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.