Grace For Your Day September 11

In preparation for our current sermon series on the government, I did some research into the issue of civil disobedience and found that there are numerous times when someone defied the government in the Bible. A short list would include the following examples:

- the example of the Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1:15-22)
- the example of Moses’ parents when they hid him as a baby (Exodus 2:1-4)
- the example of Moses when he led the people of Israel out of Egypt even when the armies of Egypt came after them (Exodus 14)
- the example of Rahab when she refused to tell the king of Jericho where the spies were (Joshua 2)
- the example of Jonathan when he defied the command of his father Saul after a battle (1 Samuel 14::24-46)
- the example of Obadiah in hiding the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:3-4)
- the example of Jehosheba in saving Joash from the slaughter of Queen Athaliah (2 Kings 11:1-3)
- the example of Mordecai when he refused to bow down to Haman (Esther 3:1-6)
- the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in refusing to bow before the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3)
- the example of Daniel in his refusal to cease praying (Daniel 6)
- the example of the wise men when they refused to tell Herod where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12)
- the example of Jesus in refusing to keep the Pharisees’ traditions concerning what was “not lawful to do on a Sabbath” (Matthew 12:1-7)
- the example of John the Baptist when he confronted King Herod for marrying Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Mark 6:14-29)
- the example of Peter and John in continuing to speak about what they had seen and heard about Jesus (Acts 4:19-20)
- the example of Stephen’s defense and consequent stoning before the Sanhedrin (Acts 7)
- the example of Paul’s escape from Damascus (Acts 9:23-25)
- the example of Peter’s escape from prison (Acts 12:1-17)
- the example of Paul and Silas when they were arrested in Philippi (Acts 16:14-40)
- the example of those who refuse to worship the image of the beast in the latter days (Revelation 13:11-16)

In each of these cases, I found that there were two main themes that surfaced when you put it all together.
1. People defied the governing authorities to avoid sin.
2. People defied the governing authorities in order to keep from hurting their conscience.

A good example of someone who defied the governing authorities in order to avoid sin would be the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1 because they were asked to put the Hebrew male children to death. In other words, Pharoah wanted them to commit murder and they said “no” because they knew it was wrong in the eyes of God. They could not do it because it would have been offensive to Him.

In regards to someone who disobeyed the government with regards to conscience, a good example of that would be Rahab when she refused to give up the Jewish spies. She decided not to tell the king of Jericho where they were hidden which is something that is not addressed in the Bible. The Scripture did not tell her to hide them on her roof because she had freedom in how she wanted to handle that but there was something inside compelling her to do it this way and it was her conscience along with her faith in the Lord who she confessed is “God in Heaven above and on earth beneath" (Joshua 2:11).

The point is that there are different reasons why people chose to defy the political authorities in the Bible. Some chose to do it over one issue and some chose to do it over another which sheds a lot of light on the current situation in North America today. This is why believers have had such different responses to the government lately. However, we do not want to draw the impression that this means that the Bible never says that there are times when we have to disobey the government because there are. The Scripture makes it clear that there are moments when you have no choice but to resist.

The question is: how do you know when to do that?

This week, we will be answering that question by looking at several examples of people who defied the governing authorities in the Old Testament since it provides so much information about this subject. The following week, we will do the same thing in the New Testament so we can round out our study.

If you would like to learn more about that, the service begins at 9:30 at 46024 Riverside Drive in Chilliwack. The sermon will be recorded and placed on our You Tube Channel later for anyone who is not able to attend in person. I look forward to seeing you there!

– Jeremy Cagle