Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him. . . . For such is the will of God.
–1 Peter 2:13-15
When we have elected leaders who are committed to following God’s Word, it is not difficult to believe that God is in control of the government. But when we have elected leaders who seem opposed to the things of God, can you still say with confidence that God is in control of government? And if He is, then what should be our response as Christians when government officials ask us to do that which is wrong?
Solomon had some insights to those questions in Ecclesiastes 8. If Solomon were to go to Washington, DC, today and observe what is happening in our nation, what would he say? In our study a few weeks ago, we saw that one of the things that caused Solomon to doubt the sovereignty of God was wickedness in government. Nevertheless, in chapter 8, he said we ought to obey the government. Why should we do that? This week, we are going to study three reasons Solomon gave for obeying those in authority.
First of all, obedience to authority equals obedience to God. Look at verse 2: “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God.” In Solomon’s day, if you were a non-Israelite and you were naturalized to become a Jew, you would take an oath before God to obey the Jewish king. For native citizens, that oath was implied. Solomon was saying to obey the king is the same thing as obeying God.
Peter made the same point in 1 Peter 2:13-15: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him. . . . For such is the will of God.” Obeying governing authorities is like obeying God. And quite frankly, if you cannot bring yourself to obey visible authority figures even when you disagree with them, how will you ever obey an invisible God when you disagree with Him?
That is why one of the most important lessons you can teach your children and grandchildren is to submit to authority even when you do not agree with that authority–and it is a lesson you teach by example. As the children in your life watch how you respond to the authority figures God has set over you, what do they see? Do they see you running red lights when no police officer is in sight? Do they see you disrespecting your boss or complaining about your pastor when you disagree with him? What are they learning about submission to authority by your example? Obedience to authority demonstrates obedience to God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Mr. Solomon Goes to Washington” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.