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A New Day


By Jim Killebrew

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[August 27, 2014]  As we examine the Israel of old, we learn that God had carved out a nation from a man of faith. Abram, or Abraham, as he was later called was a man who trusted God and was promised that a great nation would arise from his posterity. Of course that nation was Israel, a people that had grown to become a nation, not only by number, but by their status as having been chosen by God Himself.

Israel had yielded themselves to God for hundreds of years, living in a varied state of obedience to disobedience being led by God through men and women who had been raised up by God as the leader. Those leaders ranged from the Patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the various Judges; leaders all, but each one listening to the rule from God. There came a day, however, when the people looked to the nations around them and said they wanted a king.

Samuel served as a Judge to the people of Israel at the time, and served as a prophet as well. The people’s call for a king left Samuel feeling as if he was being rejected. In 1 Samuel chapter 8 God talked to Samuel:

“The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do everything the people requires of you. For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king. Just as they have done from the day that I brought them up from Egypt until this very day, they have rejected me and have served other gods. This is what they are also doing to you. So now do as they say. But seriously warn them and make them aware of the policies of the king who will rule over them.’” (1 Samuel 8:7-9)

God’s people had finally made the break; they rejected God’s Theocracy in favor of a monarchy; Saul, the first King, David second, then his son, Solomon. In the span of time it took to form the first government to the middle of the third, the monarchy had managed to birth government corruption, a loss of wisdom and a full-blown establishment of government bureaucracy.

Corruption was identified by Solomon in his book of Ecclesiastes when he recorded for us the following information:

“If you see the extortion of the poor or the perversion of justice and fairness in the government, do not be astonished by the matter. For the high official is watched by a higher official, and there are higher ones over them! The produce of the land is seized by all of them. Even the king is served by the fields.” (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9)

Corruption and perversion of justice completed at all levels of the government bureaucracy. Resources produced by the people are seized at every level, including the king. Instead of manna from God given to the people, it is personal property taken by the government to support the layers of officials from the lowest official to the court of the King.

God had ruled with Wisdom beyond the human mind. But with human government ascending to leadership, wisdom waned as it trickled through the layers of bureaucracy. The third King of Israel, Solomon, wrote again in Ecclesiastes the following insight on the matter:

“Who is a wise person? Who knows a solution to a problem? A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, and softens his harsh countenance. Obey the king’s command, because you took an oath before God to be loyal to him. Do not rush out of the king’s presence in haste – do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he can do whatever he pleases. Surely the king’s authority is absolute: no one can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever obeys his command will not experience harm, and a wise person knows the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, for the oppression of the king is severe upon his victim. Surely no one knows the future, and no one can tell another person what will happen. Just as no one has power over the wind to restrain it, so no one has power over the day of his death. Just as no one can be discharged during the battle, so wickedness cannot rescue the wicked. While applying my [Solomon] mind to everything that happens in this world, I have seen all this: Sometimes one person dominates other people to their harm.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1-9)

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We must be satisfied with the wisdom of men to rule with the wisdom of men if we have turned from the Wisdom of God and His rule.

Now for the Christian all of this history of God’s people abdicating God’s rule to man’s rule may not seem relevant. However, from the writings from the Apostle Paul we find it is the Christian’s responsibility to be submissive to Civil Government. In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul gave the following word as inspired by the Holy Spirit:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities but also because of your conscience. For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing. Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.” (Romans 13:1-7)

We are not talking about any specific form of government here except “governing authorities.” We must take from this passage the authority of the Apostle Paul in his admonition to submit to the governing authorities. The reason is simple: “There is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.”

Keep in mind, however, if the government forces us to turn away from God or requires us to not obey God we must resist. In the earliest beginnings of the Church we have an excellent example from the Apostles Peter and John who had healed a lame man through the power of Jesus. This disturbed the leaders who commanded the two Apostles to cease speaking of Jesus. The writer of the Acts of the Apostles [Luke] recorded for us the results of this matter:

“And they [the leaders] called them [Peter and John] in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God, you decide, for it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.’” (Acts 4:18-20)

Therefore, our first responsibility is to submit ourselves to God and His Will. We must obey the laws of the land and obey the government in regard to taxes, laws and requirements for living. The exception is when the government attempts to require us to disobey God, or substitute our worship of God to any other than the One and Only True God of the universe.


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