It is impossible to escape the present state of affairs. A global pandemic, civil unrest and political uncertainty define our times. It is not that any of these are new, they are just new to many of us. Each generation faces challenges. There is an ebb and flow to all of life. One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. (Ecclesiastes 1:4-7 NKJV) While the earth sustains subsequent generations, mankind remains the same. Look past the advances in science and technology and it is apparent that our capacity for good and for evil remains unchanged. That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 NKJV) The old adage holds true, those who fail to learn from history are indeed doomed to repeat it.
This hard reality clashes with the constant demands for “progress”, for “keeping up with the times” and for “we must change with them.” These are the mantras of those who are rushing headlong to repeat ancient sins and making their best effort to bring us down with them. Sometimes these influences come from those who rule. Christians strive to overcome them regardless of the source. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles–when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:3-5 NKJV) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11 NKJV)
Governments are authorized by God to regulate the affairs of men. As such they are subject to God and we are to be subject to them. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13:1-4 NKJV)
We often wonder and usually worry every time power changes hands. Sometimes we are outright afraid depending on the prospects. Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling sentence was designed to instruct him that God indeed ruled over the kingdoms of men. We need to be reminded as well. Sometimes God allows those who are less than desirable to rule. ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’ (Daniel 4:17 NKJV)
The coming days will see votes recounted, counts challenged in the courts and the outcome, regardless of the winner, vilified in the court of public opinion. Paul’s instruction to Timothy is just as needful now as it was when it was written. Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1-2 NKJV) Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– (1 Peter 2:13-15 NKJV)