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August 15, 2023

Obedience Promotes Justice

Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.

–Romans 13:3-4

In Ecclesiastes 8, Solomon gave three reasons we are to submit to governing authorities even when we disagree with them. First, obeying the authority figures God has placed over us is like obeying God Himself. Second, obedience to authority promotes justice. Look at verses 3-4: “‘Do not be in a hurry to leave [the king]. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.’ Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’” To “join in an evil matter” means to join in a rebellion against the king. Solomon was saying, “Do not resist authority figures because they are instruments of God, not to do what is wrong but to do what is right.”

One way God accomplishes His purpose in the world and in your life is through the authority figures He places over you. Romans 13:1-4 says, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.”

When Paul wrote these words, the authority figure was Nero, the most corrupt emperor in Roman history. Yet Paul said Nero was there by God’s permission, and His purpose was not to do evil but to do good. We need to remember that God is going to work out His plan through those governing officials He has placed over us.

Now, there are times that the president of the United States does what is wrong, but there are also times the president does what is right. And the fact is, just because we disagree with him does not mean he is wrong. God is going to promote His program through the governing authorities He has placed over us. And that is why we are not to resist the governing authorities–they are ministers not for evil but for good.

Third, obedience protects you from harm. Look at Ecclesiastes 8:5: “He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.” Solomon was saying, “If you obey the king, you get to keep your head. No harm will befall you.” There is protection that comes from not resisting the government authorities.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Mr. Solomon Goes to Washington” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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