GOD AND THE GOVERNMENT

The Bible tells us from the very beginning God made man in His image and gave him dominion over everything on earth but one thing. God’s intention was never for man to have dominion over other men.

In 1 Samuel 8 we read where Israel cried out for a king, like all the other nations. Samuel had been God’s “go to man” up until this point but was getting on in years. He had two sons who apparently didn’t do things the same way Samuel did so Israel got together and requested a king. Samuel went to God in prayer and God told him, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”

You see God’s plan was for Israel to be a nation like no other nation on the earth. He didn’t really want them to have a king. In fact what He wanted was for them to trust Him as their king. Can you imagine what all the other nations would have thought when they saw how the whole nation of Israel functioned in harmony without an earthly king? The nations would have been curious and come asking Israel what its secret was. They would have said, “How do you guys do this? You don’t even have a structured hierarchy of government over you and yet you prosper and seem to work as a body without need of a head.” It would be then that they say, “Oh, but we do have a head! It’s God Himself!” Let me tell you about Him! God’s plan all along was for Israel to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea let me just say, just because God is the head doesn’t give us permission to completely throw off restraint and not submit to the governing authorities. You see according to Romans 13 the government is God’s minister to discipline people when they need discipline–“For it does not bear the sword in vain…”

Further more in 1 Timothy Paul instructs us to “pray on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” So you see the governing authorities are meant to be here for our good. God’s view of government is for those in authority to protect and serve the people so we might live quiet and godly lives. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples? He said, “The rulers of the Gentiles (other nations) lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant…” So you can see how different the kingdom of God operates from the rest of the world.

Even as we direct our thoughts to the church we can see this. According to Ephesians God has given the church what is commonly known as the five-fold ministry. We have apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. So there is a structure even in the church but it was never intended for these offices to be ruling over others. The role of these five are to serve others by “equipping the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature (perfect) man…” So you see God’s end-game is for all of us to find our individual roles in His body. Once we find our role, we will begin to operate as our part of the body intended to operate, under the supervision of the one true head which is Christ Himself. Meanwhile we are in need of government offices with specific roles to play in our lives; but never lose sight of the fact our hope is not in voting in the “right man”, or passing this or that legislation, our hope is always in Christ!

Louie

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