Thursday, 30 June 2022
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” -Romans 13:1
The principle laid down in today’s reading is binding for all Christians— irrespective of the behavior of the authorities, a Christians should respect and be submissive to the authority in place. Why? Let us think over it.
The heavens and the earth were created by God; the stars and the moon ordained by Him. Hence God is in absolute control of nature. Two interesting examples from Old Testament prove this - once the sun and moon were made to stand still to help Joshua (Joshua 10:12); another time the shadow was made to move backward by ten steps as Prophet Isaiah prayed (2Kings 20:11). In the New Testament: the wind and the seas obeyed Jesus and it is perfectly okay to say that nature and all the created things in it, obey God!
What about mankind He created in His own image with a “free will”? Are they also subject to the Divine Authority irrespective of their free will?
The story of the Kings of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar are right examples from the book of Daniel showing how the kingdoms and authorities are ordained by God. The future of these kings and kingdoms were announced to them and the same fulfilled also in their lifetime. Again, in the book of Daniel (written in 6 BC) the prophet describes the different visions Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel had about governments in the far future, which unraveled exactly as was written, in the course of world history. The countless “mighty” kings and warriors who ruled/ fought on this earth over 2500 years couldn’t change what God ordained in His all-knowing power. So God is in control and ordains the world powers!
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus declared to the disciples: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” So we build our case that, it is perfectly reasonable for us to believe what is said in the later part of Romans 13:1 that “For there is no authority but of God; the authorities that exist are ordained by God.”
See the first part of the verse: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers” –is it just a suggestion by Apostle Paul? Never! He was reiterating a godly principle which has been practiced by the servants of God from the Old Testament times on, in clear terms. The greatest example is of David. All along the skirmishes between him and Saul, David had the firm understanding that the authority on Saul was from God and God knew the best time to confer it on David and he chose to wait on the Lord even when he had the perfect situations to decide or act on his own.
In Matthew 17:27 we see that Lord Jesus Christ paid the temple tax just to acknowledge the authority of Jewish collectors even though He didn’t have to pay it being the “Son of God.” The fact that Jesus or Peter didn’t have any money on them was resolved by a divine intervention, which we can be sure of in our lives also, provided we honor the worldly as well as spiritual authorities we are subjected to.
Now to sum it up: while we subject ourselves to all kinds of authorities over us (without contradicting God’s Word) we are being obedient to God and fulfilling our part in the “grand scheme of things” by God towards the fulfilment of what God has ordained. Such an obedient believer is like the apple of His eye and for his/ her sake He is able to turn any authority’s heart, just like streams of water, in any direction He chooses! (Proverbs 21:1)
Think on: ”Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good…” (Titus 3:1)