I would like to continue just a few thoughts on the subject of God ordained authority. If you have not already, please read my previous post on this subject as well, God Ordained Authority, Part One.
Last post, I stopped with the fact that, in trusting our authorities, we ultimately are trusting in the Lord. God almost always chooses to use men, in one way or another, to perform His will for His people.
In Ezekiel 22:30 the Bible says- “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
The Lord chose to use Joseph to provide through Egypt’s famine; Moses was called by God to lead the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; Caleb stood against the multitude; Joshua fought the battle of Jericho; Gideon smote the Midianites; Asa cried before the Lord and the Ethiopians fell; even rebellious Jonah eventually went and spared Nineveh their destruction. In Romans 10:14, we see where the Lord proclaims that He needs men to reach the lost. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” God chooses to use ordinary men. The men of the Bible did not possess any “special power” because they were from that time period. The only difference was their faith.
“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (James 5:17-18)
God chooses to use our authorities in the same way. To say that my authority isn’t an “Elijah”, doesn’t hold water my friend. Just as He chose to use Jeremiah to prophesy to the people, He chooses to use our authorities to direct His will for our lives; whether that is through our fathers, a father-figure, our pastors, or maybe our husbands. It can honestly be a hard concept to swallow. But it’s Biblical. I’ve seen where too, the Lord has used my authority, even when he was wrong. Seriously wrong. I’ve learned that the Lord sees beyond this. In spite of my hopeless dread of a situation, His ways are still above it all. The Lord is still greater than any wrong authority. He can still turn a king’s heart. He turns the worst situations into blessings. I have no idea how He does it; but He does.
Prayer is such an importance here too. There have been many times I’ve honestly been tempted to just “tell my dad how it is”, but instead, chose to pray. And you know, the Lord heard. In giving it all to Him in prayer, it helped me to keep a right attitude and a submissive heart, while allowing the Lord to deal with my authority. I don’t have to say something, or let him know he’s wrong, or even tell him how I feel about it. I have a mediator. And I can trust the Lord with my authorities’ decisions.
I remember once, when my sister and I were helping someone in town for an extended period of time. This person seriously needed and appreciated our help, while she was still recovering from having had a new baby. We were happy to help. However, we received a call a few days earlier than expected. It was from my dad, saying how he wanted us to come home tomorrow. We both knew that we weren’t needed at home, nearly as much as we were needed in town. It was hard to submit to my dad in this, when I knew that another person was actually counting on us for help. How could we just “drop everything” and go? My authorities’ decision seemed wrong. And even worse, it felt selfish. So we just prayed. God knew. The next day, we went home as we were asked. And to the credit of an almighty, all knowing, and all sufficient Saviour, this person actually was ready for us to leave when we did. This was an answer to prayer. God provided a way, even when my authority was wrong.
Proverbs 4:1 says- “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.”
“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.” (Proverbs 4:13)
“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” (Proverbs 8:33)
I would like to use the example of David for just a moment. David was a shepherd boy who became a mighty man of valor. God eventually made him king. Although he was strong, he also had a soft heart towards the Lord. He was an example of a godly man. Did he do everything right? No. Certainly not; but God did say that he was a man after His own heart. One thing that is admirable about David’s character is that he submitted himself to authority. And this wasn’t just to any authority; but to a selfish, violent, wicked, and ungodly ruler. To an authority that actually tried to kill him, more than once. When Saul disobeyed the Lord in sparing the best of the sheep and the oxen, God then rejected Saul as king. Incomplete obedience amounts to complete disobedience and the Lord sought to make David king in his stead. However, Saul wasn’t just willing to hand over the kingdom. (You can read more about this in I Samuel) David fled for his life, even down to hiding in caves, because Saul wanted to kill him. David was a threat to a kingdom Saul could not hold onto. Not only did David not retaliate towards Saul, but he still upheld him as his authority. When Saul eventually was killed in battle, David wept. David loved Saul and still upheld him as his king. In all rights, Saul wasn’t supposed to be in a place of authority over David. God had chosen David to be king, not Saul. What an example though. He submitted to someone who was not only selfishly hoarding what was rightfully his, but also to someone who tried to kill him over it. If this isn’t an example of a bad authority, I’m not sure what is. And God blessed David for it.
Hebrews 5:7-9 says- “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
I am amazed by this verse. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” If Jesus had to learn obedience, how much more do we? No one is exempt from authority. And even Jesus Christ the Lord submitted Himself to the Father.
Jesus submitted His will to the Father, and He was GOD. Before Jesus went to the cross, in the garden of Gethsemane, we see Christ’s submission to the Father’s will. “And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed. Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:40-42)
“…the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)
Christ is our example. We are told to walk even as He walked. (I John 2:6) He is also our Lord, our Master. Matthew 10:24 says- “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”
Submission can be very humbling. It is letting go of our will and accepting the will of someone else. It requires death to self. This isn’t joyous; this isn’t fun. It also requires trust. And if you cannot trust your authority figure per se, you can still trust the LORD to work through that authority. His hand is not shortened that it cannot save. His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear. Jesus knows. And He makes a way. He gives the grace to bear. He gives the power and the ability to overcome. We can submit, even to an ungodly authority, because it is right; because He has supplied all we could ever need for victory!