There is an election in my province next month. Many in Ontario are
discontent with the leadership, and they will be allowed to go to the
polls and vote for a new leader. We are fortunate to live in Canada
where bad governments can be voted out of office and better leadership
can (hopefully!) be voted in. Yet we must remember two important verses
from the Word of God:
"It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding." (Dan 2:21); and
"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (Rom 13:1)
Though our political systems allow us power, we must remember that no matter what, those over us have been either established or removed by God!
Discontentment with authority is not a new problem. Numbers 16 and 17 record a sad story about a time when Israel became discontent with its leadership. Three men, Korah the son of Izhar of the tribe of Levi, along with Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab of the tribe of Reuben (See Num 16:1) became so disillusioned that they raised up 250 "...leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown." (Num 16:2, NKJV) against Moses and Aaron.
God’s response? He opened the ground and swallowed the three ringleaders, their families and their possessions, and then He sent fire out and destroyed the other 250 men (See Numbers 16:20-34)!
Doesn't that seem a bit harsh?
Israel thought so: "The next day the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 'You have killed the LORD's people,' they said." (Num 16:41, NIV2)
In other words, the same accusatory spirit, the same discontentment with the authority of Moses and Aaron, now affected the larger congregation. More importantly, it also stirred up the wrath of God. Only the quick intercessory action of Moses and Aaron saved the entire congregation: "So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly...Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them. He stood between the living and the dead, and the plague stopped." (Num 16:47-48, NIV2)
The story then goes on to tell of how the leaders of each of the tribes of Israel were asked to bring their staffs to the tabernacle, and God would make the leader He had chosen to blossom. In the morning, Aaron’s staff not only contained leaves and flowers, but also ripe almonds! God couldn't have been clearer! He had chosen Aaron and Moses, and the spirit of discontentment that had stirred up the hearts of the people against the chosen authority of the day went against God's will (See Numbers 17).
Friends, as each of us contemplates those God has allowed to be in authority over us, let's remember this story. Let's submit to their authority, for in so doing, we are also submitting to God's authority. We are saying, "God, we trust You to know what we need, even when we do not, and we thank You for our current leaders!"
But what if the authorities over us are cruel and self-serving? Have they, too, been ordained by God?
Consider the following verse: "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made 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. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,…"
Powerful words; but let's remember that they were penned during the reign of some of the worse of Roman rulers...
This doesn't mean that God approves of their actions. It simply means that God has allowed them to be in power, and we are required to pray for them and to submit to their authority, as long as it doesn't mean going against God’s law.
So what should we do in the face of discontentment with authority, be it our political leaders, our bosses, our spouses, or even our parents?
We must submit to their authority, but more than that, we must pray for them, that God will guide them, give them wisdom, and will remove them from power when their time is up.
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.