The Smart Way to Support a Political Leader God Chooses17 min read

The Smart Way to Support a Political Leader God Chooses

An argument started on one of the groups I’m on. It’s not a lame kind of argument. This was serious.

They were “fighting” over the activities of a political leader. One guy held that there was no way the leader could be God’s choice because of his unsavory character.

The other guy held that the political leader was God’s choice, had done a lot to advance the interest of the church and so must be supported.

It wasn’t one of those quiet battles. This was tougher than that.

They eventually paused, like two boxers going back to their corner, waiting for the bell to call a restart. It was clear that this argument would pop up another time.

Someone says something or winds up the conversation and out jumps the jack-in-box.

Beyond the seething emotions in the background, there is a bigger question lost in the middle of everything.

Maybe we need to find the question before we even look at the arguments from both sides.

And the question is….?

The Elephant in the Room

I think the first thing we need to address is a question that has gained greater significance as democracy has become the government of choice for most countries.

It’s the question of if God plays any part in the selection and appointment of political leaders.

In the past when leadership was either through the butt of a gun or by a monarchy, the lack of direct involvement in the process created a resigned sentiment that God chooses whoever gets there.

But as democracy spread, the perception of the influence that people had in selecting political leaders grew.

After seeing many election outcomes, people began to realize how small votes can have a huge impact on election success.

This gave voters a greater feeling of power in the political careers of public officeholders.

By and by, the resigned sentiment of God deciding on the choice of political leaders began to slowly fade into the background

When God Went Silent

By the many outcomes of elections, the more popular position is that people determine the leader they get because of the vote they make or do not make.

God is the casual bystander in the modern world political leadership selection

Honestly, it can be difficult to speak for God especially when He is so at ease with acting in the background.

The many layers before a candidate is even presented for an election create a mystique of many moving parts that make it impossible to be the actions of one being.

But is it possible for an individual to get into office through the act of God?


A Case in History

To make sure we can have common ground, I’d like to use a political leader from the Bible.

The guy for the job is king David.

While he was a teenager, Samuel gets his marching orders from God to anoint him as king.

After he is anointed, he does the most non-politically rational thing. Instead of signing up to join the military so that he could enhance his reputation with a few kills, he goes back to the job he had before – tending sheep.


The Many Actions of God

First, to get the attention of people in the king’s palace to his giftedness, God decided to punish Saul by sending an evil spirit to torment him.

David was the only guy in Israel that had the music to calm the king’s madness.

In phase two, the Philistines decided to bring the champion who asks for a man-to-man showdown with Israel.

By some strange coincidence, nobody got up to fight back for forty days, despite the juicy prize incentive that king Saul added to the whole heavyweight clash with a one fall winner-take-all.

David turned out to be the only one man enough to come through the royal rumble and give everyone a thriller in the valley. Goliath did not live to tell the story.

David’s victory gave him national attention and international fame. The Philistines never forgot him.


Phase 3 and More

The completion of phase two got David into the army on an accelerated path. He led men and was successful.

His battles would have taken him across tribal lines, where he would have defended disputed territories across different parts of the land of Israel.

This would have won him the confidence of the army and expanded his appeal across most of the local leadership

Did I mention that he got bonus points for becoming the king’s son-in-law?

“But sir,” Ahimelech replied, “Is anyone among all your servants as faithful as David, your son-in-law? Why, he is the captain of your bodyguard and a highly honored member of your household!”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭22:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Election Day Decider

Years after God had sent Samuel to anoint David, he wins the kingship election as the sole candidate by a landslide

“Then all the tribes of Israel went to David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, when Saul was our king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be Israel’s leader.’” So there at Hebron, King David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel.”
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭5:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this case, we know the end game because we had the inside scoop on what God said.

But the collection of seemingly random events in David’s life orchestrated his eventual rise to the throne.

As unrelated as they seemed, not forgetting the varying personal interests of the parties involved, they showed God’s ability to control outcomes even when it seemed like the people were acting in their interests.

The selfish interests of the people involved do not in any way preclude God from orchestrating the selection or election of a political leader.

David proves that point. And let’s not even forget that it took probably almost 2 decades after the Samuel anointing event before David made the final cut.

God can take His sweet time.

And this one for the Outsiders…

When you read all this stuff, you assume that this only applies to political leaders that acknowledge God

Sorry to burst your bubble on that one.

The Bible is full of examples of God orchestrating the ascension to power of unbelieving kings who never acknowledge His importance in the events of their lives.

A case in point is Cyrus

“This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one, whose right hand he will empower. Before him, mighty kings will be paralyzed with fear. Their fortress gates will be opened, never to shut again.
“And why have I called you for this work? Why did I call you by name when you did not know me? It is for the sake of Jacob my servant, Israel my chosen one. I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me,”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:1, 4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God selected Cyrus to be king even though he knows nothing about God and he never acknowledged God.

He selected him so he could be the one to allow the people of Israel to go back to Israel to rebuild the temple.

But there is a piece of history that is often not remembered. Cyrus did not do this for just Israel – He did for every nation that the Babylonians had captured and kept their items of worship in their storage.

Let me read you a bit of something from The Cyrus Cylinder (discovered in March 1879)

I am Cyrus, King of the World, Great King, Mighty King, King of Babylon, King of Sumer and Akkad, King of the Four Quarters, the son of Cambyses, Great King, King of Anšan, grandson of Cyrus, Great King, King of Anšan, descendant of Teispes, Great King, King of Anšan, of an eternal line of kingship, whose rule Bêl and Nabu love, whose kingship they desire for their hearts’ pleasure. When I entered Babylon in a peaceful manner, I took up my lordly abode in the royal palace amidst rejoicing and happiness. Marduk, the great lord, established as his fate for me a magnanimous heart of one who loves Babylon, and I daily attended to his worship

From [Babylon] to Aššur and (from) Susa, Agade, Ešnunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu, Der, as far as the region of Gutium, the sacred centers on the other side of the Tigris, whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a long time, I returned the images of the gods, who had resided there, to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings. In addition, at the command of Marduk, the great lord, I settled in their habitations, in pleasing abodes, the gods of Sumer and Akkad, whom Nabonidus, to the anger of the lord of the gods, had brought into Babylon

May all the gods whom I settled in their sacred centers ask daily of Bêl and Nâbu that my days be long and may they intercede for my welfare. … The people of Babylon blessed my kingship, and I settled all the lands in peaceful abodes

The Cyrus cylinder (c. 538 B.C), as translated at

As you can read, Cyrus did this to make every local deity happy so the people could pray for his welfare. But he did not realize that selfish as his intent was, he was fulfilling something that had been written about him over a century ago.

Something that God had chosen him for – even if he didn’t know or acknowledge God.


Long Live the King

Now that the elephant in the room has been de-masked, let’s see if we can safely grab the bull by the horn.

If we can agree that political leaders are chosen by God – even if they don’t acknowledge God, how do we respond when they go off the rail?

First, we must not throw away the respect that comes with the office.

I’d like to borrow from David and Paul.

King Saul had a target on David’s back. David had every justifiable reason to lead a rebellion against him to secure his future.

Talk about a political leader with a bad case of complex, you’ve got king Saul. But David continued to respect the office he occupied, even at the risk of his life.

Paul was falsely accused and as he tried to make his defense, someone told the men around him to slap him in the face.

In hurt, he gave the boss-man a piece of his mind, not a mellow piece.
It stunned the people around enough for them to tell Paul that he just insulted the high priest.

Paul’s response was to acknowledge that he was wrong in the way he responded – even if the high priest was wrong to ask that he be slapped.

“Instantly Ananias the high priest commanded those close to Paul to slap him on the mouth. But Paul said to him, “God will slap you, you corrupt hypocrite! What kind of judge are you to break the law yourself by ordering me struck like that?” Those standing near Paul said to him, “Do you dare to insult God’s high priest?” “I’m sorry, brothers. I didn’t realize he was the high priest,” Paul replied, “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’ ””
‭‭Acts 23:2-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Paul could have used the excuse that the position of high priest had become a political one and the appointee determined by the Roman governing authorities, not by levitical priesthood rules.

By continuing to respect the office, David and Paul were acknowledging that God appoints political leaders. They were respecting God’s choice by respecting the political office holder.


The King is Gone Crazy

Does respecting the office preclude us from recognizing the wrongs that such political office holders do?


We would be dumbos if we lived like that. We can recognize them without being fixated on them.

The best of men is a man at his best and man at his best still falls. The failings of the best man do not immediately remove him from his position.

There is a difference between knowing a leader’s fault and making the leader’s fault the only thing about the leader.

When a leader falls, it’s not everyone that has the job to confront Him. Unfortunately, through the wonderful tool of social media, everyone has a voice. And we assume that voice must be used to confront every wrong we see.

The only problem is that the way we carry that “voice” turns most of us into grumblers and complainers.

One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The Lord heard them and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire. When the people begged Moses to help, he prayed, and the fire went out. They named the place “Burning,” because in his anger the Lord had set their camp on fire. – Numbers 11:1-3

The truth is that what we complain against may even be the fact of the matter but God may take an issue against it.

One day some worthless foreigners among the Israelites became greedy for food, and even the Israelites themselves began moaning, “We don’t have any meat! In Egypt, we could eat all the fish we wanted, and there were cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic. But we’re starving out here, and the only food we have is this manna. The Israelites stood around their tents complaining. Moses heard them and was upset that they had made the Lord angry.- Numbers 11:4-6,10

The correctness of facts against political leaders does not make it right to continuously raise their leadership inadequacies or failings to them.

Sometimes, we don’t do it because it is not our job.

When we Call Crazy “Crazy”

Did I just say, we should not raise a leader’s inadequacies?

Nope. To do that would be to play the Ostrich in the sand.

We raise a leader’s inadequacies when we know it is our mission to bring the leader to the right path.

Let’s pick an example from scripture.

King Ahab was one of the biggest bad boy kings that ever lived in Israel

But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him. I Kings 16:30,33

You think that because of his bad-boy moves, the prophets would be on God’s speed dial to raise every bad act with him. As it turns out, God only sent His prophets to him four times.

  1. Elijah who predicts a drought because of Ahab’s sins – 1 Kings 17:1
  2. An unnamed prophet who confronts him after he lets Ben-hadad of Syria live – 1 Kings 20:42.
  3. Elijah confronts him over his role in the wipeout of Naboth & takeover of his vineyard – 1 Kings 21:17-19.
  4. Micaiah who gives the inside scoop of God’s plan for Ahab to be killed in battle – 1 Kings 22:19-20

My guess – God expected that the written word which was already in existence was to be constant check.

If a leader constantly ignores a written code of behavior, he is most likely going to ignore people coming out to raise the same matter with him.

The funny thing I noticed is that God still showed up to save king Ahab even as a bad boy.

Then a certain prophet came to see King Ahab of Israel and told him, “This is what the LORD says: Do you see all these enemy forces? Today I will hand them all over to you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” 1 Kings 20:13

God wasn’t fixated on Ahab’s bad-boy behavior – and I think we also shouldn’t.

Talk Takes Time

Even when God makes it our job to confront a leader’s inadequacies, there is a time to talk and a time to shut-up.

Sometimes, we don’t even confront the inadequacies until much later after it has happened. The mud falls off the cloth when it is dry rather than wet.

A case in point is King David in the Bathsheba matter.

David commits adultery with Bathsheba, gets her pregnant, kills her husband, marries her, and has a baby with her. But God did not send prophet Nathan to confront him until the final act. 2 Sam 12:9

That is probably almost a year after the first act of adultery.

It is a case of God not being fixated on the inadequacies of a leader.

Talk Must Be Smart

Just because we have a job to tell a leader his inadequacies does not mean we just open our yap and say whatever comes to mind

How we say what we say is as important as what we say. How we say it can determine how it is accepted.

Nathan shows us the value of smart talk when he confronts David.

He doesn’t just jump into the message. He starts with a story. As it turns out, David did not see himself in the story until he had pronounced judgment on the matter.


“What is good for the goose is good for the gander” is how Nathan comes back.

Smart words make the leader do all the heavy lifting of seeing themselves as the bad guy before we call them that. It can also make finding their way back easier.

The Smart Way to Support a Political Leader God Chooses
The Smart Way to Support a Political Leader God Chooses

It took us a while to build the whole picture. Let’s come together around everything we have journeyed through

1 – We need to embrace the fact that no political leader gets into office without God’s behind-the-scenes involvement. And this applies to leaders who don’t even recognize or identify with God

2 – No matter the inadequacies of a political leader, we should never lose respect for the office they occupy and disrespect them. We respect them because we believe God put them in office.

3 – We are not blind to their inadequacies but we don’t make their inadequacies the only thing about them.

4 – We will confront their inadequacies if we are convinced it is our God-given responsibility to do so. We will not sin against God or make it difficult for them to lead by resorting to constant complaining over their inadequacies

5 – We will wait for the right time to confront their inadequacies.

6 – We will try to find smart words to present their inadequacies to them

Now I am going to add one more that we haven’t discussed before now

7 – We will pray more for them than we identify their inadequacies

It is also fitting to remind ourselves that in leadership, it is not the best qualified that gets into political office.

For this has been decreed by the messengers; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people. Daniel 4:17

Except in rare situations, people get the political leaders they deserve and political leaders deserve the people they get. Political leaders are a product of the people.

This is why national renewal changes the trajectory of a nation more than the actions of a one-off standout political leader.

When a nation is changed, the political leaders that it produces will serve it better.

We stand as light to bring change in our little corners. This is something we cannot hand over to any political leaders.

We are Christians. We are the light of the world.

Let us continue to live as light.

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Tola Akinsulire

A married guy with a precocious son who works his (I mean me, not my son - I bet you know, right?) day job as a financial guy trying to make real estate projects have some sense to the investor. I like to talk about what I learn along the way as I live my faith in life (family, work, friendships, fellowship, community and anything else you can put here).