Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 1 Peter 2:13-14 (NIV).
This one is difficult for me to write. We’re still in lockdown in many places thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19: a disease that hasn’t been nearly as deadly as most trusted experts predicted. It has been awful, and has killed almost 350000 people worldwide. Cases in most countries are declining, yet with over 5 million cases across the globe, many places are still locked down, especially in the US. That doesn’t give someone great reason to trust government.
Not only, but our politics here in the US have been divided for decades. This isn’t anything new to people reading this overseas; government corruption is as old as Eden. Yet not since the 1960s has this nation been so politically divided, perhaps not since the Civil War. Right against left; Democrat against Republican; one side against another. And yet government grows, government interference, especially in conduct of the church, grows. That, too, doesn’t give someone great reason to trust government.
This year is the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, when tyranny and murder were temporarily defeated The most destructive war in human history came about as the result of the world’s response when government based in death and hatred attacked nations at peace. During this Memorial Day week, thank God that He gave us men and women willing to fight, and die, to free others. If only they had stayed free, for the fallen world soon launched other wars, new tyranny, more death. And the band played on.
Yet here, still, God requires that we submit ourselves to all authorities. Parents, bosses, governors, presidents: they are God’s instruments for maintaining His will in the world. Upright or not, no political or professional leader has their position without God allowing it or deeming it so. Governments are instituted among men to secure rights given to us by God; to do things for society that individuals cannot. Through this, God works to reach all his people, even through dictatorship in places such as China, North Korea, Cuba, or dozens of lesser dictatorships all across Africa, South America, and even in some US state governments. Nothing, even evil, happens that is not under God’s dominion.
This doesn’t mean God causes evil. We do. God allows us the consequences of choice, all of which involve some degree of embracing evil. Yet for our own good and for the growth of believers in Him, God requires that we submit to all authorities so that we might trust Him to do as He will.
For further reading: Romans 13:1-4, Titus 3:1, Peter 2:15
Lord Jesus, help me to submit to authority, to recognize You will do Your work through this and through them.