At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD,Proverbs 21:9
as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will
We are told numerous times in Scripture to honor and respect the king. For example, Paul tells us not to resist their authority (Rom. 13:2). Peter tells that while we are to honor every man, we are particularly to honor the emperor (1 Pet. 2:17). Paul says that we are to be ready for every good work, and to obey the magistrates (Tit. 3:1). But while we are to honor the persons of such authorities and respect their authority, the one thing we must not do is absolutize them. They are deputies of God on earth, but no more than that. Their authority is given them by God, and is circumscribed on account of that gift.
This means that when they tell us to do something contrary to what God has required of us, we are to respectfully refuse. For example, the three friends of Daniel refused to bow down to the statue of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 3:16-18). When King Aretas tried to restrict the preaching of the gospel, the apostle Paul felt free to run his roadblock (2 Cor. 11:22-23). The apostle Peter disappeared from the book of Acts as a wanted man (Acts 12:7ff), and this was not in conflict with his instructions to Christians to be dutiful citizens. And when the authorities in Jerusalem told the apostles to cease their preaching in Christ’s name, they flatly refused to do so. “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Because such kings of the earth rarely have a biblical perspective on themselves, this set of priorities will often cause law-abiding Christians to come into conflict with our earthly authorities. When this happens, the one thing we must never do is fear them. They may bring a trial to us, but it was God who sent the trial to us.
So when we see kings and authorities acting with great folly, we must remember that the King of kings behind them all is on the ultimate throne, and He is directing the actions of all earthly authorities, even those which are most sinful or most foolish, and He is doing so with great wisdom. He turns the hearts of the kings in whatever direction he wants. It does not matter what mere men declare about their own powers—the Lord is the only one who really manages the sluice gates.
We may live our lives below the dams of men in complete security.