He changeth the times and the seasons; he removeth kings, and setteth up kings.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Behold, my brethren, where our grand resort must always be. Look not to the arm of flesh, but to the Lord our God. Church of God, look not piteously to the State.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Solomon has told us, and not without reason, that the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will, Proverbs 21:1. Eastern monarchs were absolute; they consulted nothing but their own pleasure: yet God had them more under His command, than a husbandman has the direction of the water in a meadow. The husbandman, you know, can easily give it a new current, by digging a new channel―and in this case it is worthy of our observation, that the nature of the water remains the same, and no violence is offered to impel it along―it flows as freely as before. Admirable image this, of God’s overruling providence in making use of princes, and heroes, and politicians, to accomplish His own designs, while their dispositions are unchanged and unrenewed, and they willingly follow the leadings of their pride, avarice, or revenge.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Satan is persuading many professing Christians it is their duty to be ‘well posted’ concerning current events, and induces them to waste much time upon secular [news]. The “signs of the times” men hysterically rake over all the evil they can find in the moral, social, and political spheres, and all the disconcerting doings in the international situation―And what good is accomplished thereby?
JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): This is God’s exposition of folks’ fretting at wicked men getting up to power, and godly men being borne down. Shall men teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high, Job 21:22. God knows best what is [suitable], and who should be up and who down.
JOSEPH CARYL (1602-1673): Man would have God govern―not only Himself, but the whole world according to his mind. Man hath much of this in him. Luther wrote to Philip Melancthon, when he was so exceedingly troubled at the providence of God in the world, “Our brother Philip is to be admonished that he would forbear governing the world.” We can hardly let God alone to rule that world which Himself alone hath made.
JAMES DURHAM: There is no more foolish thing than to take upon us to guide God in guiding the world…Are you able to advise Him?
A. W. PINK: You have no responsibility for the running of the world, nor have I, nor does God require us to take the burden of it on our shoulders. He is ruling it, and there you may, and should rest.
G. S. BOWES (182?-188?): When Bulstrode Whitelock embarked as Oliver Cromwell’s envoy to Sweden in 1653, he was much disturbed in mind, as he rested at Harwich the preceding night, which was very stormy, as he thought upon the distracted state of the nation. His confidential servant slept in an adjacent bed, who, finding that his master could not sleep, said, “Pray, sir, do you think that God governed the world very well before you came into it?”
“Undoubtedly,” answered Whitelock.
“And pray, sir, do you think that He will govern it quite as well when you are gone out of it?”
“Then pray, sir, excuse me, but do not you think you may trust Him to govern it quite as well as long as you live?” To this question Whitelock had nothing to reply; but turning about, soon fell fast asleep, till he was summoned to embark.
C. H. SPURGEON: “There is news in the paper,” says one. That news is often of small importance to our hearts. I happened to hear that a poor servant girl had heard me preach the truth, and found Christ; and I confess I felt more interest in that fact than in all the rise and fall of Whigs or Tories.* What does it matter who is in Parliament, so long as souls are saved?
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I meddle not with the disputes of party, nor concern myself with any political maxims, but such as are laid down in Scripture―
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): O that we would but steer our course according to those rare politics of the Bible, those divine maxims of wisdom! Fear nothing but sin. Study nothing so much as how to please God. Warp not from your integrity under any temptation. Trust God in the way of your duty. These are sure rules to secure yourselves and your interest in all the vicissitudes of this life.
C. H. SPURGEON: We know no politics but this, “Let God be magnified”―So long as the Lord is glorified, let the empires go and the emperors with them; let nations rise or fall, so long as He comes whose right it is to reign; let ancient dynasties pass away, if His throne is but exalted. We would never dictate to the God of history; let Him write out as He pleases the stanzas of His own august poem, but let this always be the close of every verse, “The Lord be magnified! The Lord be magnified! The Lord be magnified!” This is the continual saying of all them that love his salvation.
WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): God’s government will never fail in any part of the world, in any event of life, or in any tumult of the nations.
JOHN NEWTON: There is one political maxim which comforts me: The Lord reigns. His hand guides the storm; and He knows them that are His, and how to protect, support, and deliver them.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Rejoice that not kings, but the King of kings reigneth!
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): What a consoling thought! What an exhilarating thought, to know that even at this moment, that the “government is upon the shoulders” of the strong Son of God; He hath laid help upon One that is Mighty, Psalm 89:19―I know of nothing more consoling than that. In a world in which you can’t tell what tomorrow is going to bring forth, and everything has become so uncertain, here is the great certainty, that God rules and reigns over all, and everything is under His mighty hand.
A. W. PINK: Let every troubled reader seek to lay this truth to heart and take courage.
*Editor’s Note: Let American readers substitute “Democrats or Republicans” for “Whigs or Tories;” the reference point of Spurgeon’s remark speaks to party politics.