Daily Devotional: Psalms 107:39-43
39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow; 40 he who pours contempt on nobles made them wander in a trackless waste. 41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks. 42 The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths. 43 Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the LORD.
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
We live in a nation where we have some say over who becomes our leaders and who governs us. In the history of the world, this is unusual. Almost all nations have been led by the men or women who had enough power and were shrewd enough to gain control by force. Even the people of God, the Israelites, changed leaders when one was able to wrest power from another, except in Judah. Even then, they were defeated by outsiders and taken captive into another land.
When Paul wrote the passage above, the Roman Emperor was recognized as a god and controlled most of the world. Many of them were extremely wicked and were ruthless and the later ones persecuted the Christians – even putting many of them to death by feeding them to wild animals or burning them at the stake. Yet God instructed Paul to tell these persecuted Christians that he had put that Emperor in power and they were to submit to him. How could this be?
God’s plan is to bring glory to himself and to his name. It is to make the world and its leaders recognize he is in control. It is also to punish nations that reject him and replace good with evil by opposing him and his word. As Christians, our job is to submit to our leaders and pray for them, whether we like them or not.
Heavenly Father I am so thankful for the freedoms I enjoy in this nation. Thank you for allowing me to live in a time and place where our nation was founded on your principles and our leaders respected you and your word. I ask you to give us men and women who will recognize you alone are God and will submit to your will and your wisdom. Thank you most of all for the freedom in Jesus Christ and the love you have shown to me in him. I humbly pray in his name.