Every day of our lives we make choices. Those choices will often involve a response to an authority God has placed around us. For a moment look at I Peter 2:13 with me. Submit in the New Testament world this word often speaks a soldier’s absolute obedience to his superior officer.
Romans 13:1 reminds us there is no authority except from God. Since He alone is the sovereign ruler of the universe (Ps. 62:11; 103:19; 1 Tim. 6:15), The Lord has placed no less than four different levels of authority on earth:
Political: the government over–all citizens;
Spiritual: the church over–all believers;
Familial: the parents over–all children; and
Material: the masters over–all employees.
First, st Have you ever stepped back and looked at how UNFAIR life was in the world of the Old Testament? Now let your mind move across the pages of sacred and inspired history. As I read each of these names, what comes to your mind? One common condition, they each felt some type of MISTREATMENT and DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.
Hagar – mistreated by her mistress Sarah;
Joseph – mistreated by his older brothers, by his boss Potiphar’s wife, by the higher ranking fellow prisoners;
Jacob – mistreated by his father-in-law.
Hannah – mocked by her closest companions, misunderstood by God’s priests.
David – mistreated by his brothers, neglected by his dad,
Daniel – betrayed by his fellow workers, sentenced by his own King to the lion’s den.
Second, Have you ever stepped back and looked at how UNFAIR life was in the New Testament world? Think about that as we look again at I Peter 2. The world and the people to which Peter wrote were unfair and hard to get along with, in these early days of the New Testament? The society of the Roman Empire around Christ’s church had four layers of power. There were the:
ALL POWERFUL MASTERS: Think of the more than 60 million people who had become mere possessions of their masters. They were the slaves of the New Testament world.
ALL POWERFUL FATHERS: Then think of the small children. Under the Roman Law of pater potestis a father was presented with his newborn children at which time he could accept them or reject them. If rejected they were cast out onto the trash pile to die of exposure, and hunger.
ALL POWERFUL HUSBANDS: Then there were the women who were treated just above the slaves and children as workers only.
ALL POWERFUL WEALTHY: Finally, there were the poor, the orphans, the handicapped, and the widows who were exploited, mistreated, and allowed to suffer by the greedy wealth seeking powerful ones.
Four groups of weak, endangered and troubled peoples.
And what did God’s Word offer them? Interestingly enough, the God of the Universe who does all things well, knows all things and is infinitely wise says the same thing to them all. He said to submit and obey
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