“You two are not my favorite people right now!”  Our teenager flung those words at us in anger because we had disciplined her for failure to follow the rules. Many years after the fact the memory makes me laugh. In the moment, however, it was painful to feel that emotional distance from our little girl. It’s natural for an emerging adult to struggle with the authority of parents and equally hard for parents to know who and when to allow their child to test their own wings.

Moses was God’s man, appointed to lead, but he found his authority tested constantly.  Repeatedly the Word says that the “people grumbled against Moses.”  Another version says they ‘murmured.’ Their resistance was not outright rebellion or overthrow of his authority. They just resisted, complained, and whispered among themselves about what they saw as his failures. Consider the example of Israel. When they obeyed God and willingly submitted themselves to Moses’ leadership, they prospered and were at peace. When they grumbled, griped, and rebelled – they found themselves under the judgment of God, divided, and eventually dying.

Authority (and many despise that word) is necessary.  Leadership is part of God’s design for human order. It not just an unpleasant necessity. That is why we need to encourage those who lead us, pray for them, and help them to govern well.   

The Bible teaches us that “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. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 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. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.” (Romans 13:1-5, NIV)

So, let me ask, how do you deal with authority?
Are you a keeper of the rules or someone that tests the limits?

Authority principles run through all of society – the family, the government, and even the church.

  • A family where the children recognize the authority of parents will be a family that knows peace. Ask any parent of teenagers how much fun it is to enforce necessary rules. It is hard to have our kids dislike us, resist us. They even think we’re being tyrants. Because it is hard, some parents abdicate their God-given authority!
  • A citizenry that respects the governing authorities will be prosperous, ordered, and productive. Those who provide leadership in a nation have to deal with resistance, too! I can’t think that reading opinion polls that show declining support is all that enjoyable for our elected officials.
  • A church where those with spiritual authority are not allowed to lead will be a joyless, conflict filled place. Pastors who lead wisely and humbly lead cooperative congregations find joy in their ministry and those churches become productive places in God’s work, too. There is real pain in congregations who are poorly led or who refuse to accept leadership. When people pray for their spiritual leaders and follow them willingly, unity grows; relationships deepen, and amazing things happen in the Kingdom of God.

Here’s a word from the Word to think on today – “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as those 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.” (Hebrews 13:17, NIV)

(Video of this blog at this link)


I Will Follow

Where You go I’ll go
Where You stay I’ll stay
When You move I’ll move
I will follow

All Your ways are good
All Your ways are sure
I will trust in You alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
I will trust in You alone

Where You go I’ll go
Where You stay I’ll stay
When You move I’ll move
I will follow You
Whom You love I’ll love
How You serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose
I will follow (You)

Yeah I will follow You yeah

Light into the world
Light into my life
I will live for You alone
You’re the One I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in You alone
In You alone

In You there’s life everlasting
In You there’s freedom for my soul
In You there’s joy unending joy
And I will follow

Yeah I will follow You yeah
I will follow You yeah
I will follow You yeah

Chris Tomlin | Jason Ingram | Reuben Morgan

© 2010 Rising Springs Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CLI License # 810055

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