The Bible teaches an authority structure. In the civil realm we are under the authority of government (Romans 12:1-4). Also, government exists under God’s ordination and is accountable to God. The Bible teaches the authority structure of God, Christ, man, woman, and then the children (I Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:1) for the Christian home.
In our work, we are subject to our employer (Ephesians 6:9). In the church, there is also an authority structure of God, Christ, Pastor and leaders, church members. Everyone is under authority in society, family, employment, and in the church.
Another area of authority mentioned in the Bible is the military. The centurion who came to Jesus said, “For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant do this and he doeth it (Matthew 8:9).”
In our relationship to the church, we are told in the book of Hebrews 13:7, “Remember them which have rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Also in Hebrews 13:17, we read, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
From these verses we learn that we are to :
1. follow the leadership
2. obey the leadership
3. submit yourself to leadership
4. remember the instruction of leadership
To rebel against God given authority is warned against in the Scripture. I Samuel 15:23 says, “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft.” Proverbs 17:11 says, “An evil man seeketh only rebellion.” According to Webster’s dictionary a rebel is “one who resists the lawful authority of a government.”
At a recent seminar for pastors, the seminar speaker pointed out eleven of the steps that Absalom took in leading a rebellion against the authority of his father King David and subverting the nation of Israel. This tragic story is a reminder of how subtle rebellion and rejection of authority can be and how tragic the results.
“Absalom used an innocent sounding evil report to steal the hearts of almost an entire nation and lead it in revolt against his own father, King David. The report emphasized his ‘concern’ for suffering people, his ‘deep desire’ that justice be done and his ‘ability’ to be a better administrator than his father. Actually Absalom was bitter because his father did not bring judgment to Absalom’s half brother for immorality, so he took matters into his own hands and was rejected for it (See II Samuel 15).”
Note the following scriptures from II Samuel:
“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him (Samuel 15:1).”
“And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate and it was so , that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him and said, of what city art thou? And he said, thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel (Samuel 15:2).”
“And Absalom said unto him, see thy matters are good and right, but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee (Samuel 15:3).”
“Absalom said, moreover, oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice (Samuel 15:4)!”
“And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him (Samuel 15:5).”
“…So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel (Samuel 15:6).”
1. He gathered an organized group that would be loyal to him, rather than to the one whom he served.
2. He was energetic and disciplined
3. He made himself available to the people.
4. He sought out those who had grievances.
5. He had a personal interest in people.
6. He took up the offense of those who had been hurt.
7. He alienated people from their authority by giving an evil report about his leadership.
8. He offered to be the representative to make sure things were done right.
9. He would use his new position to increase his loyal following.
10. He desired acceptance and recognition as well as authority.
11. He carried out a tragic take over of the nation with the help of those who were defiled and infected with an evil report.
Absalom came to a violent and tragic end as result of a judgment from the Lord (II Samuel 18:9). Let us pray for our nation, our families, our employment, and our church. For those in leadership to recognize their accountability to God, and for ourselves to apply the principles of I Thessalonians 5:12-15, in our relationship with other persons.
Satan works in the same way even today! We need to be alert to the way he works, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us! For we are not ignorant of his devices (II Corinthians 2:11).”
The elders of the church at Ephesus were told in Acts 20:28-30, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
Psalms 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”