“How to Respond to Imperfect Authority” May 15


How to Respond to Imperfect Authority - How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?How should we respond to imperfect authority? Are we to obey no matter what? Are we to refuse? And, if so, is there a right way and a wrong way?

Also, what’s wrong with living together? Many people today argue that a marriage license is “just a piece of paper”! What does the Bible really say?


Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 1 & 2
Psalm 62.1-4
Proverbs 16.10-12
John 4.1-30


& :

Well, we have passed another milestone, another Old Testament book under our belts. Now we are on to 2 Samuel.


Proper respect for authority

In chapter 1 David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, especially Jonathan with whom David had a special covenant relationship. I believe it was Jonathan’s faith in God and sensitivity to what God was doing that led him to make a covenant with David.

We also see Jonathan’s loyalty to his father, although he didn’t allow that loyalty to cause him to sin. Instead, he kept his covenant to protect David. He warned David of the threat against him and spoke the truth to his father, telling him what he was doing was wrong. But in the end he refused to desert his father, even though it cost him his life.

What a beautiful picture of how we should respond to those God has placed in authority over us.

salute authorityAll of us are under authority. Wives are under their husbands’ authority. Children under their parents. Students are under the authority of teachers and administrators. Employees under their bosses and supervisors. We are all under the civil authorities: police men and women, judges, governors, all three branches of our federal government and others. Christians are under the authority of their pastors and elders. And we are all under God’s authority.

The only perfect authority is God’s.

All other authority is imperfect.

That doesn’t let us off the hook.

Ephesians 5 instructs wives:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

imperfect authority“In everything!” There is only one exception: we are to be subject to our husbands, unless they’re asking us to sin, in which case, we have a Higher Authority. And we are to show respect no matter what.

Sin means something that is biblically wrong – chapter and verse. Not just “I think he’s wrong” or “I don’t like it.”

That doesn’t mean we are doormats or we aren’t to have input or the right to make an appeal. In fact, a wise husband will seek his wife’s opinion and input. God said it was not good that man should be alone. We complete what is lacking in them in many ways.

But we’re not to disagree in a disrespectful way or to take control sinfully. We should not be demanding, threatening or manipulative.

We are to follow all other biblical principles: speaking the truth in love, being respectful, considering the other as more important than ourselves, and loving our neighbor, for starters.

While I’m speaking directly to the husband and wife relationship, the same principles hold true for children, church members, citizens, and others.

We are to be respectful at all times and to obey that authority as long as that person doesn’t ask us to sin. And when we see them in willful sin, we are to speak up, respectfully, for what is right.


Misinterpreting the Scripture

Sadly, verse 26 where David says, “… Your love to me was wonderful, surpassing the love of women,” is used by the homosexual community to validate their lifestyle claiming that David and Jonathan had a homosexual relationship. That is why it is so important that we have a proper understanding of biblical truth, otherwise, we won’t recognize a misinterpretation of Scripture when we hear it. The devil knows the Bible, too, and he will take it and twist it just enough to cause it to appear to say what suits his purpose!


Today’s Other Readings:


Our Rock

Verse 2, “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”

If He is our Rock, we will not be made to slip or fall!



God’s wisdom

Verse 10, “Divination is on the lips of the king; his mouth must not transgress in judgment.”

I believe the use of the word “divination” there is somewhat misleading.

Matthew Henry sheds some light on this verse in his commentary:

He says, “It may be read as a precept to the kings and judges of the earth to be wise and instructed. Let them be just, and rule in the fear of God; let them act with such wisdom and conscience that there may appear a holy divination in all they say or do, and that they are guided by principles supernatural: let not their mouths transgress in judgment, for the judgment is God’s.” He goes on, “It may be taken as a promise to all good kings, that if they sincerely aim at God’s glory, and seek direction from him, he will qualify them with wisdom and grace above others, in proportion to the eminency of their station and the trusts lodged in their hands.”


what is wrong with living together:

Is living together the same as marriage?

What great truths are contained in this story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well!

First, let’s look at . Jesus tells the woman to go and get her husband and she responds, “I have no husband.” In verse 18 Jesus says:

“You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

Often couples claim that living together is good enough, that it’s really no different from marriage. “After all,” they say, “what difference does a piece of paper make?” But Jesus, clearly, saw it differently! Biblically, marriage involved a formal commitment before God and other witnesses.

A great resource on the subject is the booklet “So Whats Wrong with Living Together?: A Biblical Response to Cohabitation” by Jeffrey S. Miller. If you are living with someone to whom you are not married or know someone who is, I want to encourage you to read Mr. Miller’s booklet.


Worship in spirit and in truth

Next, there is the powerful section about worshiping God “in spirit and in truth” ().

Worship is not just what we do on Sundays. It’s how we reflect Him to a dying and hurting world. It’s how we honor Him in our daily living.

And when we do worship Him in a more formal, corporate setting, it must be “in spirit,” not hypocritical, but from the heart and “in truth,” based on Scripture and not our traditions or preferences.


Dollarphotoclub_prayer & bible squareWhat about you? Questions to ponder or journal:

How is your “worship”? When you enter into His presence in prayer, or Bible reading, or formal worship, do you focus your heart on Him? And as you go about your daily activities whether at home, in the work place, or in the market place, does your life bring Him glory?

Part of our lifestyle of worship is how we respect the various authorities God has placed in our lives. If an unbeliever was to watch you for a day or a week or a month, what opinion would he or she get of God and His authority?

May we worship Him in spirit and in truth!



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Featured Resource:

So Whats Wrong with Living Together?: A Biblical Response to Cohabitation

Unmarried couples living together is so common today that many people are surprised to hear it called “sin”. Some respond, “Well times have changed,” and that is true. But God has not changed, and neither has His standard of holiness. If you are someone who truly wants to honor God in you life, you want to know what His Word has to say about cohabitation, Jeffrey Miller presents a practical viewpoint to those who haven’t closed their minds to a biblical perspective. This booklet includes insightful responses to common reasons for “Living Together.” “We live in a day when the idea of living together is more popular than it has ever been before. In a compassionate manner that even those believing in or contemplating this sin can swallow, Jeff lifts up God and His Word and exposes this cheap substitute for God’s perfect design as the sugar-coated poison it is.” – Stuart Scott, Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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3 thoughts on ““How to Respond to Imperfect Authority” May 15

  1. You’ve ministered to me today, Donna. We’re in the throes of setting up a search committee for a new pastor. Such a tough thing anyway, and I find myself disagreeing with the how and the why . . . thanks for your words of encouragement to respect authority even when I disagree.

    • I’ll be praying for you and your church. We’ve been through that a couple of times and it can be challenging, but resting in God’s sovereignty as He works through those in authority is really very freeing! Blessings, my friend!

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