January 20, 2009 marked the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America. The media displayed the hoards of people cheering with great joy for their new leader. For most Americans, Obama is the hope of a new era of prosperity and happiness. For most evangelicals, however, his election brought great trepidation. After all, our new president has demonstrated support for gay marriage, stem cell research on fetal tissue, and partial birth abortion, as well as a fiscal policy of big government. So how should we view our new president and the prospect of the next four to eight years?
First of all, we must treat him with honor and respect. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). He is our president. God has given him authority over us. His sinful behavior does not exempt us from God's command for us to honor him.
Second, we must pray for him often. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:1-2—”I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we might live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” We must resist the temptation to rejoice when he does poorly. It is of no benefit to us or our nation if our president doesn’t do well. How wonderful it would be if God saved him and give him a heart of Godliness. That being said, it is also permissible for us to pray that God would replace him if he doesn't rule with justice and righteousness.
Third, we must remember that our wellbeing is not ultimately controlled by who occupies the office of president. Most people are looking to the government to solve all of the problems of life and to provide their happiness, but not us. We know that God rules over all. He has determined the outcome of history. Obama’s heart is in His hand. Our joy and contentment is found in Christ, not in who holds the office of president. May we continue to stand for justice and truth and live for the glory of the One whose Kingdom is not of this world—regardless of who holds the office of president.