Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
It’s summer, and you probably aren’t looking to get a history lesson while class is out. But today is also the 4th of July, so we’ll take a detour into American History for just a minute or two.
Today’s scripture causes some problems for a lot of people who see that the founders of America went against scripture by waging a war against their British masters. After all, it basically says that all authorities are placed there by the Lord, and that anyone who goes against those authorities are going against God. That might make George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and the rest look pretty bad if that’s true. And it would justify the criticism of a lot of people who say that America isn’t a Christian nation and never has been.
But the truth is a bit different. The truth is that the colonists had problems with King George and the British Parliament, and they tried to resolve them through negotiation. And each time the response was silence, higher taxes or violent force (including the incident where, in 1770, British troops fired into an unarmed crowd in what’s now called the Boston Massacre).
Because of these things, the colonists saw themselves as defending themselves against a tyranny that would had taken away their lives and liberty, and deprived them of happiness. (Which is why those things were placed up front in the Declaration of Independence.) Our founding fathers really weren’t attacking their authorities or trying to get away from government. Instead, they were looking to establish a government in this country that would fairly represent its people.
Now, 240 years later, the USA is still going strong. Sure, we have our share of problems, but there’s no doubt (at least in my mind) that God had a hand in establishing this nation and helping it prosper over the years. One thing most of our founders agreed on is that God had to be honored, not only in establishing the United States, but in moving it forward. Today, give thanks to the Lord for allowing us to live in such a great nation, and pray that He will turn the hearts of its people back to him.
Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.