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Monday, February 22, 2016

The Bible and our reaction to authority

Honor the King 

Every President, Governor, Sheriff, etc., was either put in place by God, or God allowed that person to be in that office.

Respect authority:
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those who exist are ordained by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authority, withstands the ordinance of God; and those who withstand will receive to themselves judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Do you desire to have no fear of the authority? Do that which is good, and you will have praise from the same, 4 for he is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid, for he doesn’t bear the sword in vain; for he is a servant of God, an avenger for wrath to him who does evil. 5 Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, continually doing this very thing. 7 Therefore give everyone what you owe: if you owe taxes, pay taxes; if customs, then customs; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (All Bible quotations from the World English Bible, public domain.)

Ecclesiastes 10:20 Don’t curse the king, no, not in your thoughts; and don’t curse the rich in your bedroom: for a bird of the sky may carry your voice, and that which has wings may tell the matter.

Exodus 22:28 You shall not blaspheme God, nor curse a ruler of your people.

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities.

1 Peter 2:13 Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; 14 or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. . . . 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

In our culture, we have trouble honoring anyone at all. Our humor often doesn’t affirm anyone or anything, but mocks politicians, and all sorts of people. (“Trailer trash,” for example.) The 2nd President Bush was mocked for his sometimes confused sentences, his walk, and his pronunciation. I did some of that, and I shouldn’t have. Cartoons of President Obama (and Presidents before him), often have been designed to do the opposite of honor. He is sometimes called Obummer, or worse things. Some Christians have delightedly passed on these, and other, examples of disrespect through telling jokes, through e-mail, or through social media. But we are supposed to belong to a different culture!

The principle of honoring those in authority goes beyond the President, and extends to other elected officials and public servants, such as TSA, police, teachers, and the DMV.

Must we support all the policies and actions of such people? No. But we should disagree, if we must, in a respectful manner. There are cases of Paul disagreeing, by asserting his rights, in Acts 16:35-39, and also in Acts 22:24-25. Nathan, and other prophets, reprimanded the Old Testament kings, when appropriate.

Praying for those in authority
1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: 2 for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth

The Roman Emperor, at the time Paul wrote this, was probably Nero, who persecuted Christians.

It is true that much of the reason for praying for rulers, in this passage, seems to be so that Christians can live in peace, but it’s also true that we should pray that rulers will believe in Christ as savior, and intercede for them in other matters. Prayer for wisdom for those in authority is also important, and should be part of our prayer life, although the Bible doesn’t explicitly say that.

Thanks for reading! Respect those in office, even if you don't agree with some of their actions.

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