27 Then the king of Assyria gave this order: “Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires.” 28 So one of the priests who had been exiled from Samaria came to live in Bethel and taught them how to worship the Lord.
The Assyrians conquered the southern kingdom of Israel, and the Israelites were taken into exile. People from other countries came in to replace the Israelites, people who did not know or worship the Lord. It was perceived that God sent lions there to kill people because of their lack of faith. So the king of Assyria issued what seemed to be a practical solution – send a priest there to teach the people what the Lord requires.
The king of Assyria was not a man of faith. He just wanted to solve a problem, namely to stop the lions from killing inhabitants. If God sent the lions, then he would send a priest to teach the people how to obey God. Ultimately, this plan did not work, because the inhabitants continued to worship in the ways they formerly did.
But his plan made me consider that God can and does use many sorts of people to accomplish his will. The king of Assyria did not care which faith the people there practiced, as long as order was maintained and threats were removed. Yet he brought back a priest to teach people about how to worship God. His plan was good, even if the people did not remain faithful.
We have our opinions about persons in positions of leadership and whether we think they are doing good work or not. We can forget that God can and does use people in authority to accomplish God’s will, whether or not these leaders are themselves people of faith. Pray for our leaders, but also give praise to God, for God’s plan is always bigger and higher and better than ours. Stay faithful and continue to worship the Lord. Whether a current leader is one you admire or not, pray that God’s will be done.
Gracious God, we pray for those in political office in our community, state, and nation. We pray that we will keep our eyes fixed on you through all the circumstances of our lives. Help us continue to trust in your power to bring good, no matter which political party our leaders adhere to, and no matter whether they are believers or not. This we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.