Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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November 24 – On Cursing Our Fathers

“There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.” Proverbs 30:11

Devotional Thought For The Day

The wise author of the proverbs begins a description of four of the worst things he observes. This verse is the first of them – disrespect, disregard, and even hatred of parents. Of course, as virtually all Christian instructors have noted, the commandment in regard to father and mother extends to all who are in authority – in government, at work, at school, in the home, and also within the order or structure of the church. Rebelliousness, disrespect, disobedience, and rejection of authority are quite common in fallen, sinful human beings. Adam and Eve’s fall into sin involved rejection of authority – the authority of God’s Word in regard to the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The same was true in the matter of Cain’s rebellious offerings and his murder of his brother Abel. Every sin involves rebellion against God’s Word and disregards His authority and honor. And how easily we sin – not only with our inward thoughts and emotions, but also in our words and actions, including especially the good we should do but determine not to do. Sins against God’s earthly authority are also rife within us.

Our attitude and behavior in regard to those in authority exactly reflect our attitudes toward God. In that “there is no authority except from God, and those which exist have been instituted by God” [Rom. 13:1], everything we say and do toward those in authority is directed toward God. Therefore, “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed.” [Rom. 13:2] And it is perfectly just and right that “those who resist will incur judgment” [Rom. 13:2], and not just the consequences that earthly authority can impose but God’s judgment as well. Obviously, human authorities are sinful and morally frail because of sin’s infection – and Scripture obviously does not deem all “authoritative” action to be right. Therefore when authority demands that we do evil or forbids us to do good “we must obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29] This, however, does not excuse us from honoring authorities or give us permission to denigrate or otherwise abuse those in authority.  What we say and do toward those in authority is directed against God.

So we all have much to confess in regard to parents and other authorities. We observe much of this disrespectful and rebellious behavior today – and are inflamed to join in. Perhaps it is most common toward government, and our representative form of democracy seems to embolden such sin. It is perhaps most complete in families and within the church – where social backlash against proper discipline has generated numerous tyrannical children, and where disregard for God’s Word has rendered the prophet a mere sheep bleating in the wind. But parents still represent God, and God’s servants of His Word still speak for Him, and every rebellious thought, word, and action is still received by God as against Himself. Lord, have mercy! It is His Word that gives us our only hope in this matter – that “if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” including that rebellious sin directed toward Him through His servants.

At the same time it is important for us to understand the diabolical nature of all such rebellion – and to take care to repent of it before it consumes us and we fall under the judgment of God. We do not need to agree with authority all the time; in fact, we are to be discerning and wise, and the exercise of authority is enhanced by diverse perspectives. However, discernment and wisdom also understand the need for authority and the importance of supporting authority, and the evil of rebellion and disobedience. We more easily apply this to others; we need to be even stricter in applying it to ourselves. Thankfully there is full forgiveness and pardon for all our sins against God, including those which diminish His authority in the eyes of others. Living in such gracious and merciful forgiveness should move us to greater respect for God – which He bids us express in our respect for those whom He has instituted and appointed as our earthly authorities.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, because of the frailty of human authority it is often difficult for us to submit to and honor Your servants and representatives. Our sinful foolishness runs amok as we insist upon independence and self-rule, and as we disrespect, dishonor, rebel against, and abuse those in authority. Forgive us for these our arrogant and wicked sins against You, and humble us to receive the blessings You seek to bestow upon us through authority and good order. May Your love for us move us to greater love for You, and give us the wisdom to love You by loving those whom You have appointed to serve us in positions of authority. Amen.