“1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 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.
Is everybody in position of authority a servant of the Living God? Can a leader, who openly denies God, be in that position to do you good? In these verses we even see a verse that states that, “…rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.” However, we know of governments, even now, that have institutionalized persecution against God’s people. Are these God’s servants? Are they in place to do what is good? No they are not; they serve the same father that the Pharisees served…Satan himself!
The key word here is “authority.” Authority means, among other things, “Power.” I believe that we are confusing Authority with Titles and positions. The true prophets in the Old Testament showed very little regard for kings and dignitaries that were known for not honoring God; they were very aware that some of these leaders had the position, but did not carry the authority that only comes from God. In John 19:9-11, we see a window to a greater understanding of this topic:
“9 and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ 11 Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above…’”
So, in this journey of gaining to get a better understanding of authority we must conclude that all authority is given by God; which means that we can have the title and not necessarily the authority. Absalom, one of King David’s sons, was power-hungry and he became a king to the point of having his own father running from him. Absalom, for a short period of time, carried the title, but he never had the authority. For the ones that know the story, Absalom ended-up being killed in battle. That is a typology of what happens with folk that operate without God’s authority. Later, we are able to clearly see that it was indeed Salomon who was next in line to carry on the authority that rested on his father’s shoulders.
David was a man of great authority, but he needed to go through the process of, honoring a man that literally wanted to kill him; even as he was forced to run for his life at the hands of Saul. We are able to see, as we study the lives of the kings of Israel, that the closer and more faithful they were to God, the more authority they carried in leading the nation to great seasons of revival. The more they rebelled against God, the more they lose that same authority and suffer much at the hands of their own enemies.
TO BE CONTINUED…