Authority; October 2, 2022

Psalm 145:1 I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.

This comes out in several of David’s Psalms, but it’s very interesting that though David himself was a king, back when kings were the ultimate authority in their realm, he refers to God as King. It’s not that he doubted his own authority, temporally speaking, but he recognized that God was as much above him as he was above the lowest person in his kingdom. Leaders who have that fundamental awareness have authority indeed, because they are submitted to God’s authority. It’s precisely like the Roman Centurion said to Jesus, and Jesus lauded him for his faith. (Matthew 8:8-9) When a leader fails to recognize the authority over him, he loses the basis for his own authority, whether or not he realizes it. That gets complicated in democratic representative governments because the citizens are the ultimate authority, but that calls for a citizenry that are submitted to God. That also means that every elected representative needs personally to be submitted to God, and sadly, that is seldom the case. We see countless cases of politicians who enrich themselves through their office and fail to exercise their authority responsibly. It’s easy to point fingers at such people, but we need to bring this principle closer to home. Parents are to have authority over their children, but to do it right they too must be submitted to God’s authority. We hear of countless cases of abuse, and conversely, there are countless cases of abusive neglect, where parents fail to exercise the authority that has been entrusted to them. A person, parent or otherwise, who is genuinely submitted to God’s authority isn’t going to be abusive, but they aren’t going to be weak. David was a strong king because he was submitted to God, even though he slipped up at times.

As I have written numerous times before, I have had an uneasy relationship with authority. I haven’t been terribly rebellious, but I also haven’t been very comfortable with exercising authority. I think I’ve grown in this area, but I would make a very poor despot! As a pastor, the church has sometimes suffered for my failing to exercise church discipline when it was called for. I’ve got to remember that Christ is my King, and all authority in heaven and on earth is given to Him. (Matthew 28:18) When I am acting in obedience to Him, that authority flows through me. I have had fantasies of speaking and things happening, but I’m not yet sufficiently submitted to God for that to be current experience. I’m not to be greedy for power, but I am not to draw back from the power and authority God wants to exercise through me.

Father thank You for this reminder. You know that one place I want to exercise authority is in commanding my wife’s body to be healed, but that hasn’t happened. I pray that Your perfect will would be done, before, during, and after the surgery, so that people would be drawn to You as You are glorified. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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