OK – so God speaks to people like Pharaoh but there’s a deeper problem here.  Why does God make such seemingly evil men so powerful?  If, as Daniel says, “(God) removes kings and sets kings up,” (2:21) or as Paul says, “there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God,” (Romans 13:1) then why does God raise up these men?

People like Pharaoh and his descendants.  People like, “my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” Jeremiah 25:9.  People like the Emperors of Rome.  People who use their power for great evil.  Killing and attempting to destroy the people of God. 

Crucifying the Messiah. 

Yet Jesus himself asserts to Pilate that, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above,” John 19:11.

And if it’s hard enough to understand even when we’re reading the bible and can see how God uses those people for His greater purposes and yet still holds them accountable for what they do, what are we to make of post-biblical history?  What are we to make of the Nazi’s, Soviets, Khmer Rouge or countless dictators and genocidal leaders of our more modern world?

So maybe instead of asking why does God do that, we should be asking how do we respond to that?  Well, how does Joseph respond?  It seems to me that he accepts that God raised up Pharaoh and just gets on with the job he is given.  In doing so he saves the lives of countless thousands of people.  Joseph submits to God and to Pharaoh and gets on with it.

Joseph serves Pharaoh and makes him even more powerful in the land and over his people.  Daniel serves the regime in Babylon.  Jesus affirms the authority of Pilate while facing crucifixion.  Yet they never compromised their faith.

Paul instructs Timothy, “First of all then, I urge that supplication, prayers and intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3.

Try it.  Praying like that could transform your circumstances or even your nation.  Maybe many nations.