I am a preacher and it is the season of Advent. On December 8, my sermon dealt with Psalm 72. “Give the King your justice, O God.” The Psalm went on to show that the king is just when he notices the poor and down and out in society, and he uses his kingly powers to help people who need help. The compassionate king is the truly just king who represents God well.
In my sermon, which you can read on this blog (http://honesttalkwithgod.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-kings-version-of-justice-psalm-72.html), I compared King Herod to King Jesus. Herod committed genocide trying to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:16). Jesus commanded that cared of the “least of these is care for him” (Matthew 25:40). Jesus insisted children be allowed to come to him (Matthew 19:13-15) and said that we need to see things as a child does (Matthew 18:3-4). It is pretty clear who fulfills the words of Psalm 146 and who does not.
And a king in our day, most certainly does not. I readily admit I do not know a lot about the civil war in Syria. I know thousands of refugees have poured into neighboring nations. When citizens have to flee and become refugees in another country, one’s country is in dire straits and Syria is. A story reports that in recent attacks on a rebel-held town, al-Bab, 57 people were killed.
The most upsetting part comes in the observation of Barry Abdul Latif. “It seems that the regime is determined to hit the supply route [of rebels] between al-Bab and the city of Aleppo, but the shelling of the regime is only targeting heavily populated civilian neighborhoods and away from any rebel headquarters.”[i] Only targeting heavily populated civilian neighborhoods?
It’s the most troubling thing I’ve read this week (aside from Herod’s actions in Bethlehem as he sought to kill Jesus). In my message, I compared King Jesus to King Herod. In the process, I asked our congregation to be intentional about praying blessing for our modern “kings.” I was thinking specifically of Barak Obama. I do think believers should pray that God would bless him and help him rule well.
But, President Bashar as-Assad had acted in such a way that I simply pray God would remove him. I don’t know that a Western-style democracy is the best thing for Syria or even possible there. I am not a political scientist. I only know that people are being uprooted, displaced, and bombed. Assad sees people, like the women and children in al-Bab as pieces in his war. He doesn’t see people at all. He sees chessmen for him to move, to capture, to stomp.
My honest prayer is that God would get that guy out of power? How? That’s up to God. God used Babylon to punish Judah and then God punished Babylon. I trust God’s justice and God’s methods. My prayer for his removal is not necessarily a prayer that his political opponents seize power. I pray Syria would be in God’s hands and God would make a path for His church to thrive there. I pray Syria and Iraq would become bastions of peace and commerce human respect – the opposite of what they are and have been. I pray that world-wide, people would marvel at the harmony in Syria and Iraq. This is my prayer to the King.