The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Standing Before Governors and Kings

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 11, 2011

Jesus told us that we, His followers, will be brought before governors and kings for His sake, for a testimony against them.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;  and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.   For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.  (Matt. 10:16-20)

These verses remind me of righteous Daniel, who was brought from apostate Israel to stand before three pagan kings, each of whom was greatly affected by him.

The first king, Nebuchadnezzar, communed with Daniel and three of his young fellow Hebrews, and in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. (Dan. 1:20)  Young person, when you are brought before kings and governors, let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Tim. 4:12)

During Nebuchadnezzar’s second year, Daniel interpreted a dream for him, proving that his God was a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets (Dan. 2:47), by which he saved the lives of every wise man in the land.  When Daniel’s friends–Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego–were brought forth from the fire unharmed after refusing to worship an image of the king,  Nebuchadnezzar made this decree:

That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. (Dan. 3:29)

And finally, Daniel was called upon to warn Nebuchadnezzar of the pride in his heart, for he attributed all his dominion to his own power and strength, even after seeing the power of the true God and giving lipservice to Him before his whole kingdom. At the end of twelve months, Nebuchadnezzar lost the kingdom and was driven from among men, having gone mad and become like a beast. After the duration of this judgment, he looked to the God of heaven and blessed the most High, and praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:  and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Dan. 4:34-35)

The second king before whom Daniel stood, Belshazzar, had an encounter with Daniel’s God that was not to his own profit, but to his swift and irreversible judgment.  For he knew all this–that is, he knew all the things that had happened during his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar’s reign–and yet had not humbled his heart, but had lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven (Dan. 5:23). We must take heed how we hear and what we do with what we know. If we apply the wisdom we hear, we shall be given more, but if not, we shall become spiritual paupers, losing the very truth that was sent to save us (Mk. 4:24-25).  Belshazzar was a poor steward of the light indeed, neglecting to take heed to Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony, and so he lost the kingdom and even his own life.

The third king before whom Daniel stood was Darius the Mede. Darius discerned in Daniel an excellent spirit, and preferred him to all presidents and princes, which would have cost Daniel his life if not for the Lord’s protection in the lions’ den. When King Darius anxiously called to Daniel the morning after he was thrown into the den, Daniel responded to the king’s delight that he was unhurt, for God who is King of kings had declared him innocent in all matters.  Then Darius made this decree:

That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.  He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.  (Dan. 6:26)

I am amazed at the influence of this one righteous man on the hugest kingdom on earth at that time!  Is it any wonder that God has seen fit, in His glorious plans, to allow us to fall into troubles that will bring us before rulers?  For we are witnesses unto Him near and far, in our hometowns and unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Jesus Himself, whom we follow, stood before governors and kings. Standing before Pilate, he testified that He was a king whose kingdom was not of this world, that He had come into the world to bear witness of the truth, that all who hear truth listen to Him, that Pilate had no power but what power God gave him, and that those who delivered him up to be killed had the greater sin. Before Herod, Jesus answered not a word, giving the testimony of silence, for the heavens are brass to those who only wish to be entertained by spiritual things and mock at the truth.

The apostle Paul also stood before governors and kings. The Lord spoke to Paul after his arrest, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”  Paul taught Felix a more accurate knowledge of the way— he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come–until the governor trembled in fear. (Acts 24:22,25) Then before King Agrippa and his wife Bernice, Paul testified of his former life as a Jew and his subsequent encounter with the risen Christ, who had suffered and been the first to rise from the dead; and how he preached everywhere that men should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20). For a testimony against them Paul was sent, for Felix remained unchanged and Agrippa was only almost persuaded to be a Christian.

Saints, we may yet stand before governors and kings. The Lord sends us forth as sheep into the midst of wolves, and commands that we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  The Lord will give us the words to speak when the time comes.  We have the examples of Daniel, Jesus, and Paul to give us courage. Paul gave this amazing testimony to Timothy after having stood before Caesar (probably Nero)–

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.  And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Tim. 4:16-18)

The Lord stood with him and strengthened him, that the Gospel would go forth! Paul knew he was likely to be martyred soon (2 Tim. 4:6), and yet he wrote that the Lord would deliver him and preserve him. And so he certainly was delivered and preserved after completing his testimony before governors and kings, for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psa. 116:15), and not a hair on their heads will ever perish (Luke 21:18).

The LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.   Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.  Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. (Jer. 1:7-9)

God bless you!

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3 Responses to “Standing Before Governors and Kings”

  1. hoshiana said

    Praise God for this exhortation. May we always be faithful to witness the truths of the gospel before leaders in home, business, church and community. Let us never fear what man may do to us. Jesus bless you.

  2. smilesback said

    I continue to read all your posts and every single one is absolutely excellent!!!

    I took note of what you wrote here: “Before Herod, Jesus answered not a word, giving the testimony of silence, for the heavens are brass to those who only wish to be entertained by spiritual things and mock at the truth.”

    So true… for many should not wonder why their prayers don’t get answered –while they continue to mock God’s holy ways by their rebellion! (Ps. 66:18 & 50:16,17)

    However, if they would repent, God is abundantly willing to pardon and work the evil done into good. As Jesus reminds us in Mark 10:27, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

    Rachel

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