“Your shepherds are asleep, O King of Assyria, your nobles slumber. Your people are scattered on the mountains with none to gather them.”
So this is almost the last verse in the book of Nahum, as God, through Nahum the prophet, is proclaiming judgment upon Nineveh as the capital city of Assyria. And God’s made it clear all throughout this book that his judgment is coming upon them for their sin.
God, we pray for leaders who lead in such a way that opens the door to the spread of the gospel.
And the reason I read this verse and want to lead us to pray according to Nahum, chapter three, verse 18, is because of the way God speaks about and to the leaders of Assyria. This verse is specifically addressed to the King of Assyria. “Your shepherds are asleep, O King of Assyria.” So what he’s saying is basically to the King, “You’re missing this. You could lead your people to repent,” just like we saw happen in the book of Jonah, “but you’re not. And all the people you’ve entrusted to them lead your people, your shepherds, they’re asleep. Your nobles slumber.”
In other words, those with power and authority, even when you think about Romans chapter 13, how God has instituted government for the good of people, so those who God has divinely placed in positions of authority for the good of people are using their authority for evil to lead people into wickedness. “The people are scattered on the mountains,” Nahum chapter three, verse 18 says, “with none to gather them,” none to point them to that which is good. None to point them to repentance, to turn to God, just like we saw happen in the book of Jonah in Nineveh and Assyria. It’s not happening here because of the leaders.
So you think about this picture and then think about the clear commands we have in the New Testament to pray for kings, for leaders in high positions, because of the authority they have to lead people in ways that are good and right and honoring to God. And so I just want to lead us to pray for leaders in the world right now that God would ultimately bring them salvation to them, that he would humble their hearts before him, that they would fear God. And they would lead people for good in light of the fear of God, to lead people in ways that are good and right and just, and that open the door for the spread of the gospel.
This is what First Timothy two makes clear. “Pray for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified. This is good. It’s pleasing in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” So as we pray for the spread of the gospel in our country, in other countries, for the spread of the gospel among the nations, we must pray for kings and all who are in high positions.
So, God, we pray right now for President Ghani of Afghanistan. As we pray for him and for other leaders who we’re about to list off right now, we intercede on their behalf and we pray that you would bring them to fear you truly. God, we pray that you would bring them to know you, to know the gospel, to trust in you, to look to you. God, we pray for your saving grace in each of these leaders’ lives. And as we pray in this way for them, we also pray for your common grace in each of their lives, that you would give them wisdom to lead people well in ways that are good and right and just. God, we pray that you would keep them from evil and wickedness, you would help them to lead the people you’ve entrusted to their care well.
We pray for President Ghani of Afghanistan. God, we pray for the King in Bahrain. God, we pray for President Bolsonaro in Brazil. God, we pray for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Canada. God, we pray for the president and prime minister, President Diaz-Canel and Prime Minister Cruz of Cuba. God, we pray for the president and prime minister of countries like Egypt and Ethiopia, particularly amidst the conflict going on in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. God, we pray for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and God, we pray for President Zewde, God, that you would give them wisdom to lead well during these days. God, we pray for Prime Minister Modi in India, God for President Widodo in Indonesia. God, we pray for King Muhammad VI in Morocco. God, we pray for Kim Jong-un in North Korea.
God, we pray for your common grace and saving grace over all of these leaders. God, we pray for President Alvi, Prime Minister Khan in Pakistan. God, we pray for President Putin in Russia. We pray for King Salman in Saudi Arabia. God, we pray for President Trump in the United States. We pray for President Maduro in Venezuela. God, we pray for President Hadi and Prime Minister Saeed in Yemen amidst all the conflict in Yemen. God, we pray for these and other world leaders. God, we pray that you would draw them to fear you, to trust in you, to look to you and to lead in a way that reflects your goodness, in a way that reflects your justice. God, we pray for your salvation in world leaders and we pray for your wisdom in world leaders, knowing that the people they lead will be affected by their leadership.
We count it a privilege and a responsibility to obey First Timothy two in light of Nahum chapter three, to pray for leaders in high positions. And we pray that you would help us to be faithful to do this in our lives for leaders in this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.