Listen:  141.2

Let’s read those two portions you are referring to.  In Romans 13:1-6we read, “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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.”  Now let’s read 1 Peter 2:13-15, “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. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” 

It is difficult for some to accept the fact that all powers have been put in place by the Lord Himself.  As we just read, “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”  This was true in the past and it is true today.  The Lord puts men and women in political power to fulfill His purposes.  We learn in Daniel 4:17that, “…the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”  Let’s consider the time when the Lord Jesus stood trial before Pilate.  We read in John 19:9-11, “And (Pilate)went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”  Here the Lord acknowledges that as evil as Pilate was, he was put in office by the Lord Himself. 

Seeing the Lord establishes kings and kingdoms, He expects us to obey the laws of our government.  Are there any exceptions?  What if the law requires that we do something that is contrary to the Word of God, what do we do then?  At one point, we read where the Jewish council ordered the disciples to stop preaching about Jesus.  We read the disciples reply to the high priest’s order in Acts 5:29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  This is the only legitimate exception to obeying our government.  If we are ordered to disobey God, we would simply refuse, and continue to obey the Lord, who is the highest power!  We should not take this lightly.  It is a serious thing to disobey our government, and we must be sure of the Word of God before we dare disobey.

There is another important thing the Lord requires us to do for our governmental leaders: PRAY FOR THEM!  We read in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “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.”  No matter how much we may disagree with our leaders, we are instructed to pray for them that we might be left alone to serve the Lord in peace.  We should ask the Lord to preserve our freedom to live for Him, to worship Him, and to witness for Him.  We read in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”  The Lord has the ability to influence our leaders’ hearts to allow us to continue to live in peace for Him.  May we be sure to pray constantly for our leaders as the Word instructs us to do!  (141.2)