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We hear that expression a lot.  People speak of their loyalty to God and country.  In the Old and New Testaments, there is a principle that all believers need to consider and obey.  Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  Mark 12:30 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”  The Lord desires that we love Him with all that we have.  Is that asking too much of us?  Let’s consider how much the Lord loves us.  We learn by reading Lamentations 3:22-23 that, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”  It is the great love and mercy of the Lord that prevents Him from destroying us because of our great sinfulness.  Most of us are familiar with that wonderful verse of God’s love: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  How great and deep is the Father’s love for us!  We could never love Him as He has loved us.  The Lord desires that we have undivided loyalty to Himself because He is worthy.

What should our attitude, then, be towards our country?  Can we serve the Lord and serve our country?  During the time of the terrible reign of Nero over Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:1, “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.”  If we consider some of the great atrocities that Nero committed against his own people, we are amazed at these words of Paul.  In fact, it was because of Nero that Paul spent much of his adult life in prison and was eventually executed.  Yet, he tells us to obey our political leaders.  The Apostle Peter was inspired to write similar words in 1 Peter 2:13-14 where he wrote, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”  We honor the Lord when we are obedient to His Word.  We are told in Romans 13:2 that, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”  To rebel against our government is to rebel against the Lord.  To resist the leadership the Lord has put into place is to resist His perfect will.  Our loyalty must be to the Lord, so we serve our country in obedience to the will of God.

The listeners and readers of Answers From the Book represent a wide variety of different countries.  Each are called upon to obey their leaders.  We have only one example in the scriptures where disobedience was the proper thing to do.  In the early days of the Church, the apostles were brought before the rulers, scribes, elders and high priest because of their testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Acts 4:18 tells us, “And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”  The apostles continued to preach Christ and were put into prison as we read in Acts 5:17-18, “Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.”  The Lord freed them from prison and they continued preaching Christ.  We read in Acts 5:25-29, “Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  When the rulers commanded the apostles to act in direct opposition to the will of God, the apostles disobeyed them.  We must obey the highest power, so we must always obey the Word of the Lord.  Unless our government is ordering us to disobey God, we must obey the laws.

There is one important thing that believers of all nationalities and nations should do about our leaders.  We should pray for them.  1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”  We, as obedient believers should pray for all our leaders.  We should pray that we might serve the Lord unhindered so that we might continue to preach Christ to everyone.  (88.3)