THIS WEEK: Lead Me to the Cross…Read the Tablets…Find the Cross!
God is a God of order.
“…everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Corinthians 14:40)
We like to be free and independent.
Which makes following the Fourth Commandment difficult, right? As a child, we balk under the authority of our parents. As a college student, we love our freedom and glad to be out from under the rules of our parents. As adults we struggle to honor the people put or elected in authority over us and simply want to be our own boss.
Our sinful nature loves to be free from authority…even God’s.
The Fourth commandment speaks to a primary order or authority that God has set up: parents and children. However, it is also representative of any authority God allows or puts over us. This can be in our home, in our work place, in our communities and in our churches.
God desires of love a proper relationship and respect between those who have been given authority and those who are under that authority. Here’s a few examples:
In the Church: Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
In the Government: Romans 13: 1-2 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.
In our Homes: Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Ultimately God desires that we “enjoy long life on the earth.” This happens when we respect those who hold a position of authority (even if they are imperfect or we disagree with them) and make it easy for them to carry out their role. They also are not to take advantage of that position of authority, but rather use that position to serve the Lord and those they lead in love.
Martin Luther put it this way: “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”
How would seeing the blessing and wisdom in this commandment change the dynamics in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our communities, in our country? A little respect of authority and proper use of that God given authority will go a long way to bring a blessing of peace to our land. Let it start with us as God’s people.
Apply: How do you struggle to carry out this commandment? Does it help to know every authority is ultimately accountable to God? Would it help to picture God in that position of authority and honor that person because God has allowed them to be in that position? It’s not easy. Ask often for God’s help to do it!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being a God of order versus chaos. Lead me to do all I can to honor, serve, obey, love and cherish those you have placed in authority over me. Amen.