Submission to Authorities (ouch)
This wasn’t high on my list of scriptures to use, but it seemed suitable given the lockdown the governor put in place yesterday. Hence, I am writing this from home…
This is one of those controversial subjects that most people, including me, often try to avoid. I really hate conflict. But sometimes God says Just do it! (Maybe where the Nike commercial got it? No? Oh well…) But with this shutdown there will be many hurt, scared, angry. Understandably so, too. Some of us don’t get unemployment so when our hours are cut because we’re working at home or stop completely, but the bills don’t, it’s gonna get scarier before it gets better. We might start questioning why we’re doing this. We’re doing this because we’re told to.
SREEEEETCH!!! That’s the sound of a whole lotta brakes being hit…Remember that this is a Word of Encouragement, not a Word of Judgement or even a Word of Authority. This is my heart speaking it’s understanding and belief and sharing it with you.
Romans 13 teaches about the believer’s relationship to earthly government. And wow, anything to do with politics is inflammatory right? Leave it to Paul to broach those subjects.
First off, a shred of background: when Paul wrote Romans, many of the early Christians were demonstrating a lack of restraint and living the way they wanted to, using “freedom in Christ” to rationalize. The beginning of 1 Corinthians talks about divisions in the church and quarrels. There was discord between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. Kind of like the Sneetches on the Beaches…Star-Bellied Sneetches and Plain-Bellied Sneetches. They were all Sneetches for goodness sake!
In Romans 13:1-2 Paul calls us to submit (yikes, that word) to earthly authority “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” What? Gen, you mean God set up all governments? Well, yes, if you believe the Scriptures. Looks pretty clear to me. So, like, resisting the authorities is resisting God? Again, looks pretty clear. (Here I resisted the urge to say “Resistance is futile”. Oops. Guess I didn’t resist after all. I’m such a Start Trek nerd.)
Paul reinforces Christ’s words (like they needed that) to “give to Caesar what is Caesar, give to God what is God’s” by saying in Romans 13:7 “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”
Now, as my pastor likes to say, “Don’t hear what I’m not saying!” We are NOT called to obey without question when the governments tell us to do something that God has forbidden. Paul says “be subject to” not “follow blindly”. Sometimes the government forbids something that conflicts with God’s law. In that case, God’s law overrules. We live in a country where that doesn’t happen too often. We’re fortunate here.
Sometimes the trick is knowing how to apply this scripture to your current situation. That’s where studying the Word and praying constantly come in. And ultimately the answer is between you and God. Buddy and I may study the same passage of scripture and pray the same amount of time about it and come to different conclusions. (He’s wrong. I’m right. I’m the Star-Bellied Sneetch.) But what God’s will for my life is, what His leading of me is, is not necessarily His will and leading for Buddy.
So during this time of fear, uncertainty and yes, anger, study, my friends. Pray. Spend time with God. He is our Salvation, our Hope, our Certainty. He is our Everything!
Jehovah Jireh…He is our Provider
Jehovah Rophe…He is our Healer
Jehovah Adonai…He is our King
Keep your eyes on Christ, who keeps us in the palm of His scarred hands, always.