Daily Thought for: 4th August
BE SUBJECT UNTO THE HIGHER POWERS
Romans 13. 1-7; Titus 3. 1; 1 Peter 2. 13
David, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said ‘The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all’, Ps. 103. 19. This blessed, unassailable fact should cheer the heart of every child of God, especially those who, in different parts of the world, are groaning under the wicked impositions of godless, despotic governments. ‘By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth’, Prov. 8. 15-16. ‘The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will’, Prov. 21. 1. In keeping with these statements of absolute divine authority, Paul says ‘the powers that be are ordained of God’, Rom. 13. 1.
As events on earth career relentlessly and rapidly towards the manifestation of the man of sin, an event that can only take place after the calling away of the church to heaven, we can easily observe a decline in the moral and spiritual values of the rulers, politicians and functionaries who are described in Romans 13 as ‘higher powers’. Few, if any, of those who hold high office today realise that their position of authority has been granted by God as a stewardship for which they must one day answer to Him. Isaiah’s words are very solemn, ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! ... Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!’, Isa. 5. 20-23.
Both Paul and Peter are clear in their teaching as to the responsibility of believers to submit to the requirements of civil government. We are to obey the law, pay our taxes and do so without dissent. If and when the requirements of higher powers are in direct conflict with our duty to God, then we must state, respectfully but firmly, as did Peter and John, ‘Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’, Acts 4. 19-20.