Skip to main content

Advent Reflections:

A couple of years ago, I wrote out a self-published e-book of Advent Devotions. You can still buy it from Amazon.com here: Advent Reflections. However, I’m going to re-use the whole thing for daily blog posts here on the blog this year. Next year I may have the opportunity to write a new one, I certainly hope to, but hopes and reality sometimes do not meet. The e-book is laid out on a sliding schedule, to use on respective days and weeks of Advent.

It should be noted that I drew inspiration from many works and many ideas. If you feel I have taken an idea without credit, please let me know so I can fix it.

Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal/Worship Hymnal from Lifeway.

Week One Day Four: King of All Powers

“Every person is to be in subjection to the govern authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” Romans 13:1 (NASB)

Now, let’s establish something up front: placed in context, this verse does not demand that we always obey earthly kings and governments. Whether you compare it only to Acts 5:29 where Peter and the Apostles insist that obedience to God supersedes obedience to men or also to the grand context of Scripture where injustice and evil are to be resisted no matter the source, you cannot bandy this verse about to beat people into submission. This verse reflects that we ought to recognize that governing authority derives from God, but it does not require one to not try to improve the situation.  

That being said, let us look more into this idea. Jesus is not an absentee King of this world. He is the King who reigns above all earthly powers. Whether you live in a representative democracy or an oppressive dictatorship, and for those of you who think you live in one that’s really the other, at the back of that authority is God’s allowance of it.  

This is true whether the government does that which is righteous or that which is evil. Beyond the scope of this brief writing is the question of why God would allow a wicked authority to come to power. That’s a question that deserves great treatment, and I’d commend you to Randy Alcorn’s If God is Good for a theological treatment of the idea and to Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy for a look at an individual who faced this issue with courage and resolve.  

I see it this way: God allows human freedom. It is a messy thing to allow, for freedom to do right requires collateral freedom to do wrong, and insulating choices from having an impact on anyone else removes real consequence from the actions. Without having to consider consequences, freedom is an illusion: one that cannot hurt also cannot help.  

It is difficult to praise God for wicked kings. This was a challenge throughout the Old Testament, as God used wicked kings to accomplish His purposes. It is a challenge to this day, to accept that God has a purpose for the suffering and pain caused by wicked authorities to this day. Yet He is in charge.  

When the various kings and potentates rose and fell between David and Daniel, He was in charge. When Antiochus lost Israel and when the Hasmoneans gave way to Roman General Pompey, He was not sleeping. When Augustus called for a census and when Herod the Great, Pilate, and Herod Antipas were appointed, He allowed them.  

As the debates rage in the United States, as revolutions rise and fall across the globe, God is in control. His kingdom is not limited to a geographic realm or to a system of government. The followers of Christ recognize that even the worst of dictators are temporary: none will escape this world alive and all will answer to God for how they have handled what they were entrusted.

Followers of Christ give their utmost allegiance to Him. Our votes, our speeches, our revolutionary activity must come in submission and obedience to Him. We trust that if our political lords and masters choose to mete out vengeance and violence that our Heavenly King will honor His word and bring us justice in due time.

 

Scripture Passage for the Day: James 5:10-11 (ESV)

“As an example of suffering and patience, brothers,

take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.

You have heard of the steadfastness of Job,

and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,

how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

 

Song for the Day: Crown Him with Many Crowns #304

 

Prayer: Lord God, You are more than a lightweight, temporary ruler like the ones who appear to control this world. I know that I must deal with tyrants and crackpots in this life and I submit myself to live in a way that honors You, no matter what they demand or expect. Let me not waste efforts that should go into spreading Your truth on trifling matters, but let me also stand up and speak when justice and righteousness are at stake. Let the name of Jesus be the One Name I exalt, and in this name I pray. Amen

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…