Monday, June 8, 2009

Devotion - God's Take On Governing Authorities

Welcome to Monday morning. It is going to be a great week, not because I have willed it and not because of positive thinking , but because of the blessings, promises and presence of our God. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we can see things as God sees them.

We have moved on to Romans 13 where Paul pulls no punches when it comes to the place of authorities in our life:

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. v. 1

We love to complain about the government. I have done it so often that I would be unable to count how many times. It seems to be everyone's favorite pastime. However, just because everyone does it does not make it right. In fact, as you read this passage you will see that the Father has a rather strong position on this subject. The question is do you believe that the Father is responsible for each government that comes into power? Many people do not like Prime Minister Harper and often complain about him. Do you believe the Father chose him to govern this nation during these times? It is what the Word tells us. Read on:

The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. v. 2

Not a lot of room for twisting this scripture. It would appear that we need to check ourselves in this regard. I am sure that a nicely worded email or a polite phone call to tell your representative your opinion on a matter is exactly what we are suppose to do, but is there ever any place for angry, plaque waving protests? Is there ever a place for riots on the streets? Is there ever any excuse to overthrow a government? According to the Word to do so would bring judgment on ourselves.

Lots of questions come to my mind like what about a leader like Hitler? In reflection I can see where the Father destroyed that government by raising up other governments to go to war against it. But those matters are dealt with at that level. As for us we are told:

For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. vv. 4-5

We treat this as such a minor thing but it really goes for all authority; parents, police officers, teachers, elders, governments. Even though the Spirit is writing specifically about the government, we know other scripture covers parents and Church authorities. Let's make it clear again:

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. vv. 6-7

I have always held to the same thought that many others have, that respect is not automatically given but instead it must be earned. To a degree I still believe it but the real truth of the matter is that we must respect all forms of authority because they are servant's of God, even if they are not believers.

So, regardless of how you feel about those authorities it is our responsibility to support them and pray for them. It may seem odd to you but God has a reason for the governments he raises up. He knows the times we are heading into and he gives us specific leadership to get us through those times. Let us trust our Father and submit to the authorities he has put in place. Pray for them today.

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