July 30 - Governmental Authority
The rise and fall of any earthly kingdom has to do with their relationship with God. There is a pattern in the kings of Judah and Israel, whenever they serve the Lord, their nation would be blessed and prosper. The king is not an absolute monarch but is under the rule of God through the prophets and the priests. When the three kinds of anointed people work together in harmony, God’s rule would be on the kingdom. The priests tend the temple and worship, the prophets listen to God and speak to the king and the people, the king leads his people in worship and sacrifice, heeds the voice of God through the prophets, then the kingdom will be successful. When the priest Zechariah was alive, he instructed Uzziah in the fear of God. Uzziah listened to the prophetic voices and the kingdom was in peace before his fall into sin.
This is a glimpse of theocracy where God directs the affairs of the nation through His anointed ones, a fore shadow of the Anointed One coming to rule the world during the Millennium. Jesus the Messiah would combine the roles of prophet, priest and king in Himself. But before He comes back, the earthly kingdoms are ruled differently. Paul was under the rule of the Romans and he was a Roman citizen. Despite of all the shortcomings of the Roman Emperors and governmental system, Paul urged the believers to subject themselves to the governing authorities.
Submission to authorities set up by God is a basic principle and no one may be outside of authorities over him. As a citizen of an earthly kingdom, we are not to resist the authorities as they are God’s servants for our welfare. Governments are God’s avengers, carrying out God’s wrath on the wrongdoers. A lawless person would infringe upon God’s wrath and the government is the agent of God’s judgment. Law and order are to be carried out by the government. So we owe the government not only our taxes or revenues, we also owe our respect and honor to such authorities.
There is yet another governmental authority on earth, the church of the New Testament. In the church, the law of God is in operation and the essence of the law is love. Love fulfills the law and as long as we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, we are not breaking the law. Like we owe taxes or revenues to the government, we owe love to others. In the church, God’s rule is over all human opinions and ideas. Through the operation of spiritual gifts, Christ becomes the Head of the church and we are all citizens of the Kingdom.
What do you think of your government, are you in submission to its laws? Do you pay your taxes and submit to authorities? Do you know that by doing so, you are honoring God? Begin to pray for your governmental authorities now.
Ps 80:1-7 2 Chron 26:1-28:27 Rom 13:1-14 Prov 20:11