At the time of writing this article, President Donald Trump and many other prominent Republican leaders are sick with COVID-19. While some are rejoicing in this turn of events, and are hoping that he dies before the election, this attitude is not biblical.
In Daniel 2:21 and Romans 13:1, we are told that God is the one who sets up kings. At times a nation may take it upon itself to set up a king contrary to the to the will of God, as was the case with the kings of Israel and Judah (see Hosea 8:4, 1 Samuel 8:4-9). However, even in the cases where the Bible explicitly says that God disapproved of a king being set up, we see God's people (e.g. Samuel, David, the unnamed prophet of 1 Kings 13:6) blessing and praying for these kings and refering to them as "God's anointed."
All of this applies to pagan kings as well (many of whom did far worse things than anything our president has been accused of):
- Joseph and Jacob prayed for Pharoah (Genesis 47:7,10)
- The slave girl prayed for Naaman (2 Kings 5:3)
- Paul prayed for the house of Caesar (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
- Ezra prayed for the king and his family (Ezra 6:10)
- Jesus prayed for the Jewish leaders (Luke 23:34)
Daniel served as a close advisor to four different kings. Under each king, Daniel sought the peace, health, and prosperity of each regent (Jeremiah 29:7).
So what does the Christian do when their king behaves in a way that is contrary to this principle's of Godly leadership? The Bible is clear that as far as we are morally able, Christians ought to submit to civil authority (Romans 13:1-7), and disobey respectfully only where civil law conflicts with God's law (Matthew 22:21, Esther 3:1-4, Acts 4:19, Daniel 1:8-14, Daniel 6:5-10).
In October 2020, we see ourselves in an extremely perilous time for American democracy. The validity of our election process is being questioned, measures are bing taken to suppress voters, violent protests are happening on both sides of the political aisle, and on top of it all, the duly elected leader of this country is sick with a disease for which there is no cure and only limited treatment. David, when praying to God about the perilous times he found himself in, prayed that God would judge his opponents without killing them; that God would "uproot them and bring them down" (Psalm 59:11). The Bible tells us that we should seek the peace of the land in which we live (Jeremiah 29:7). The best thing that can happen in the rest of 2020 is for the President to have a rapid recovery, have a transformative experience in Jesus, manifest a character of Christ, and to do everything in his power to equip state and federal agencies to conduct a credible election. This is what we ought to pray for.