Government: God’s Servant (Lent 36–2013)


Submission to the government is easy!  Not…

Many days go by in which I wonder how Presidential spokesperson Jay Carney can look at himself in the mirror without cringing.  Speaking for the government as he does…with God watching?

In the days prior to President Nixon, I’m sure the White House lied. It’s human nature to lie.  But something happened.  When Nixon was caught lying to the American people, it shocked the nation, severing the bond of trust many of us had in our elected officials.

Today, lying seems to be the official job description of elected leaders and for them, abusing the trust of the American public is just another day at the office.  Yet, this is our government and what do we do with a passage like today’s (Romans 13:1-14)? It is well worth the read.

The million dollar question is,

How do we submit to a government we cannot trust to do what is right with the truth?”

The priceless answer is,

The same way Jesus did.”

“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23

When you get a chance, read the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, sentencing to crucifixion, and burial in John 18:1-19:42.  Submission to authorities means entrusting the outcome of matters to God Himself.

We treat leaders, officials, and other authorities as God’s chosen ones for the purpose He has in mind.  Pilate wouldn’t have been God’s choice for Messiah, but was God’s choice to crucify Him.  Annas may have been chosen by God for Jesus’ interrogation, and Caiaphas for High Priest in order to fulfill Scripture, but neither of them dealt honestly with the Messiah. And neither of them were chosen to be disciples.  They served God’s purpose even in their wickedness.

The sovereignty of God and the grand sweep of redemption history is beyond our understanding.  God’s use of powerbrokers to accomplish His will has a long-established history–whether the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart or the dishonesty of religious leaders who led the call to crucify Jesus.

So, when we have cause to disagree with our government, become appalled at rampant corruption, grieve over the lack of personal integrity and honesty, we must remember that submission to authorities is what Jesus did and what we are called to do until He returns as our Righteous King.

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Give it up for Lent: Using Biblical counterculturism to cloak a rebellious heart

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For further study:

  1. Read Exodus 9:16, 1 Kings 14:7-11, and Jeremiah 32:1-5 (fulfilled in Jeremiah 52:7-14).  What do these passages say about God’s raising up leaders for judging nations and individuals?
  2. What does it mean for a leader to be “God’s servant” in verse 4 of today’s passage?  Does this mean the leader is good or just that the leader is God’s instrument of reward and/or judgment?
  3. How does today’s passage affect your thinking about your current political system?
  4. In reading the account of Jesus’ final days during Passion Week, where did Jesus draw the line with regard to the truth and personal integrity?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 26, 2013

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