Fear God, Honor The King

Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God (Matthew 22:21).

The Bible has much to say to God-followers about how to interact with earthly governments:

  • Wise King Solomon told us to “fear the Lord and the king” and not go along with rebels against the government (Proverbs 24:21)
  • Daniel said several times that “the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone He wishes” (Daniel 4 & 5)
  • The Apostle Paul declared he was no rebel to either the civil or religious governors: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar” (Acts 25:8)
  • Later on, Paul reminded the church that government officials are God’s servants, and that we need to give them the respect that is owed to them (see Romans 13:1-7)
  • Peter counseled Christians: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors … Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

But a man that exemplifies this balance between fearing God and honoring the king best is Mordecai. Mordecai was a Jew who served the Babylonian king faithfully—

  • He protected the king from would-be assassins
  • But disobeyed the king when the law of the land conflicted with God’s law
  • Then Mordecai helped the king get out of a bad law written by an evil man

A mark of a godly leader is one who knows the difference between fearing God and honoring earthly kings.

How can today’s leaders live out this principle? This is something that should lead us to prayerfully search the Scriptures, and then boldly live out what the Holy Spirit reveals to us.

This is Part 13 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts by clicking here.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire (book review)

Eugene Peterson may be best known for his work on The Message: a paraphrase of the Bible in more modern English. But before he worked on The Message, he was already putting the Bible into modern English in his weekly sermons. As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a collection of 49 of these sermons.

Peterson says, “When I prepare and preach a sermon, I need constant reminding that I am part of a company that has a rich and varied genealogy. I do not start from scratch. I do not make up something new.” These sermons are divided into seven categories, in which Peterson states he is “preaching in the company of Moses, David, Isaiah, Solomon, Peter, Paul, and John.”

To be honest with you, this collection of sermons was a bit of a disappointment to me. I was anticipating sermons that were much more expositional in nature, but instead I read sermons which were Peterson’s poetic thoughts about a passage of Scripture. I found this curious since Peterson himself says in the introduction to this book that “the Christian life is the lifelong practice of attending to the details of congruence…between preaching and living, congruence between the sermon and what is lived in both preacher and congregation” (emphasis mine). And yet I found in these sermons very few details to actually attend to and live out.

If you prefer poetic discussions of Scripture in which you will have to find your own way of applying biblical principles to your life, you will probably enjoy this collection. But if you are looking for a meatier walk through the Bible, these sermons will probably leave you—as they did me—a bit flat.

I am a WaterBrook book reviewer.

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