Keepers of The Home
Posted: August 28, 2021
Author: Danielle Murphy
Romans 13:1-5, KJV
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
Are we to obey everyone in authority? What if they are instructing us to do something that goes against the very commandment of God? What if they are taking away our God given rights such as the ability to defend and protect ourselves, provide a living, or worship freely? These are all questions we should be asking ourselves.
First, let us breakdown and examine Romans chapter 13:1 which is so often quoted from the pulpit--
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
I have always understood this scripture to mean that absolutely all authority is ordained of God, even corrupt ones, and therefore must be obeyed in order to bring honor to God. Is this true and accurate according to examples we find in scripture? Let us now go to the book of Exodus.
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.” (Exodus 1:15-22)
So here we have the king of Egypt, ordained by God according to Romans 13, telling the Hebrew midwives to kill the sons that are born to the Hebrew women. Do the midwives blindly obey? Of course not! They know very well that this authority is not ordained by God since the king is asking them to murder, which would break the sixth commandment. It specifically says that they feared God more than the king and therefore did not do as they were commanded by authority.
Shortly after they disobeyed the commandment to kill the Hebrew boys, they were brought before the king and asked why they would do such a thing. Do we read that they answered boldly and truthfully that they feared God more than the king? Nope, they choose here to be cunning by lying and saying that they were unable to fulfill the king’s commandment because all of the Hebrew women delivered so quickly that they were unable to kill the boys in time. Yes, you read that correctly. The Hebrew midwives not only disobeyed authority but also lied in order to preserve their own lives which is a direct violation of the ninth commandment!
How on earth can we ever reconcile such lawless behavior in scripture in accordance with our Christian character and convictions? We must learn to examine the whole Word of God in order to come to our conclusion about one particular scripture. Let us not be ignorant and unlearned about the accounts that give what seems to be a contradiction to the instructions we receive in Romans 13.
How did God respond to the midwives' disobedience to authority and lying? It tells us in verses 20 and 21 that He dealt well with them and gave them houses as well as multiplied and blessed the Hebrew population as a whole for their civil disobedience! This seems to be in stark contrast to what should have happened according to Romans 13:2: “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Instead of damnation from God in this situation, the midwives found favor! This is because they were able to rightfully discern that the law of this particular leader was not a “minister of God to thee for good” as the beginning of verse four states.
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good.”
Join us next week as we continue to dig into scriptures where we find defiance to authority so that we too will be able to discern when we need to obey and when we need to stand against corrupt authority.