“A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed. I say: ‘Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.‘ Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. For there is a time and a way for everything…“ – Ecclesiastes 8:1-6
I love the bold truth in today’s YouVersion devotional by Terria:
Solomon urges us to submit to the authority that God has placed above us. We are responsible to God in all things, but we must also submit to the civil, government, and work authority that God has placed us under. That is unless that authority contradicts the Word of God. We have to remember: believers have dual citizenship. This world is not our home. While we are here, we must act as valuable and productive citizens, but always with our eyes, our heart, and our actions turned towards God. Believers have a calling to pray passionately for those in our government, in our work leadership, and for those in authority over us that they too may turn their hearts towards God.
Spend any time around the water cooler, across the dinner table, or on social media and you’ll quickly find that submitting to those in authority over us is often not a welcomed concept.
There’s no question that God’s Word tells us to honor and submit to those who are placed over us, but what about those times when under authority we are also called to boldly stand up for what’s right? It’s a tricky balance for sure, but God never calls us to do hard things without supplying the wisdom and strength to follow through with the task. My mind immediately goes to the book of Esther, where we could learn a thing or two from this unlikely beauty queen who just happens to move the heart of the king and change the course of history by knowing the proper time and the just way…
Check out THREE ways we can learn from Esther and how she approached the king:
1. Be Available. “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” – Esther 4:14
Like Esther, God has placed each of us in a specific place, in a specific time in history, and in a specific sphere of influence to be catalysts for His purposes. Where you are and whose authority you are under is no accident. Are you seeking God’s wisdom and available to be used by God to speak Truth where He has placed you, or are you rebelling and hoping that with enough stalling He’ll move on and chose someone else? Perhaps this is the moment…
2. Be Prepared. “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king…” – Esther 4:15-16
Before she can even think of approaching the king, Esther spends time fasting and in prayer, and she calls for an army around her to do the same. Man, I love that. In a world that tempts us to rush and move forward on our own strength, Esther challenges us to first prepare ourselves under God’s authority: to enter His presence, to seek His wisdom, to be willing to wait on His timing, and to humbly admit our need to rely on His supernatural intervention.
3. Be Obedient. “If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king… let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.” – Esther 5:8
For whatever reason, it took two banquets for Esther to submit her bold request to the king. She made herself available, she took time to prepare, but something about the timing of the first banquet just wasn’t quite right. Esther knew there was great significance in acting at the proper time and in a just way when approaching the king! How many times do I plan my approach but fail to listen to the Spirit’s leading in a situation where He may be willing to act if only I would lay down my will – my plan – for His? Probably too many to count.
*Let’s Talk: Where is God calling you to greater obedience today as you submit to the authority He has placed over you?
There is a time and a way for everything. When it comes to submitting to those in authority over us, we can either be known for our bad attitudes and constant opposition, or we can do it God’s way and be known for our willing submission and humble reflection of Christ.
I don’t need to tell you which one will shine brighter in the darkness…
At His feet,
Week 6 Challenge: Spend every day this week praying for someone in authority over you. Pray for opportunities to be available, prepared, and obedient to shine Christ as you humbly submit to the leadership under which God has placed you.
Week 6 Video:
Week 6 Reading Plan:
Week 6 Memory Verse: