“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor”,
Social media is blowing up over the topic of taking a knee and showing respect to the National Anthem and the flag. Now let me get this out here right now, I agree that everyone has a right to protest but in the right time and place.It all started with a NFL football player started taking a knee out of protest in a country that oppresses black people and people of color. The issue expanded and is now including other professional sports. Add to this frenzy is the coaches who are publicly supporting players that take a knee. On the other side is the team owners who are threatening action if their players take a knee.
Plain and simple, take a knee and you are disrespecting our country, our national anthem, our flag, and our God.
The simple version of this would be that the Lord commands us to respect the highest authority and here on earth that would be our government and its representation of the flag. However, the commandment also says that there is no higher authority than God as pointed out in Acts 5:29
Unfortunately, it is not that simple.
As believers know we are only to obey God and God commands us to submit to the human authority that he created as outlined in 1 Peter 2:13-17. However, we also know there is only one God and he is the utmost authority as stated in Psalm 2:11-12.
Verse 13:2 tells us that those of us that resist the authority that God has in place here on earth is committing a sin.
God has created many different avenues of authority such as:
- We are to adhere to the government and the rules they put in force;
- Our Church and its leaders;
- Our Parents
- Employment or Education leaders
The sinful nature of our human authority leads them to misuse their authority for their own benefit thereby those that should benefit lose out. We see this in a conversation between Jesus and Pilate in John 19:10-11.
Verse 4, he says the government has the authority to punish law-breakers such as:
- We go to jail for stealing;
- Grounded for not listening to our parents;
- Fired for not listening to the boss;
- Suspended for fighting at school; and
- God’s disappointment when we disobey him
This all does leave a question with regards to bad laws or bad government.
What do we do when our government commands us to do something that is against God’s word? An example of civil disobedience would be the Sanhedrin which may be an assembly of twenty-three to seventy-one men appointed in every city in the land of Israel. They ordered John and Peter to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. They replied in Acts 4:19-20 and when commanded again they replied in Acts 5:29.
Scriptures tells us we should overcome evil with good as we are commanded in Romans 12:21.
Our next section, verses 3 & 4 shows us that authority is there to protect the law-abiding citizens and punish the law-breakers. The story of Paul in Philippi where he was badly beaten, thrown in jail without a trial even though he was a citizen of Rome. Paul stood up when the error became cleared and they tried to sweep it under the rug as is stipulated in Acts 16:35-40 as well as Acts 22:25.
If an unlawful action is occurring against you, go ahead and notify the authorities. If the matter is either in your church or by a member of your church, notify the leaders of your church. Paul shows us this in the scriptures 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.
Scriptures have told us about capital punishment all the way back in the first book of the bible Genesis. Moses tells us what should happen if someone deliberately murders another person:
Verse 5 tells us that we should do as we are commanded in this verse because it is the right thing to do. In short, obeying the human authority is also obeying the highest authority.
The last two verses deal with respect to authority. We must remember that human authority are servants of God. The acts of honor, respect, paying taxes, and submitting is what Paul message is.
It could be implied that “Respect” could be translated to “Fear”. The theory being not fear our God in this context but fear the consequences should we not respect our human authority.
We also need to confront the evil authority as John the Baptist stood up to the issue of Herod’s taking of his brother’s wife which is wrong in Mark 6:18.
Because we are commanded to respect the higher authority, this means that we should respect the representation of the higher human authority being the flag of your country.
This translated means that we respect the human authority so long as it is not contradicting God’s laws. We must always remember there is only one God:
1 Kings 8:60
“That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else”, 1 Kings 8:60
Human authority is created by God and he commands all to subject to the governing authorities. Again, Paul points out in the book of Acts that above all, our number one allegiance belongs to GOD. See Acts 5:29.
As the issue of this message is honoring the flag, the bible has other issues we must honor as well. We have learned that there is only one God and we are to obey him above all men.
We are to honor our parents.
Today’s scripture reading commands us to submit to all authority created by God here on earth. This would also include teachers, bosses, coaches and sports officials.
The book of Timothy says we honor and respect pastors and church leaders:
1 Timothy 5:17
God has just one law. It is for all men.
- Must a Christian pay taxes?
- May a Christian show respect for his nation by saluting the flag and singing the national anthem?
- May he vote in an election?
- May he serve in a government or political office?
The answer to all these questions is “yes.” However, a Christian must put God and His kingdom first as commanded in Matthew 6:33.
He must also be honest in all things as in 2 Corinthians 8:21.
“And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi”, Exodus 17:15
One of the names of God (used by Moses) in the Old Testament is “Jehovah Nissi” which means in English “the Lord our Banner”. In the King James Version (ancient English translation), “flag” is used in the sense of the plant, but the word “banner” appears 6 times
Banner (33 instances)
Signal (31 instances)
Standard-Bearer (4 instances)
What are the reasons that you show respect and honor to the flag of your country?
- Could it be from you were raised and taught that it was the right thing to do growing up?
- Could it be that you fought for the flag to obtain our freedom?Could it be that you lost a love one fighting for our freedom?
Whatever the reason, and I am sure that each one of you have a sentimental reason why you respect the flag. We use the flag as a sign of respect in several ways as you can see the list below that is not in its entirety:
- We honor the flag on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Remembrance Day;
- Flag day
- Martin Lutheran King’s Birthday
- Lincoln’s birthday
- Washington’s birthday
- Arm Forces day
- Constitution Day
- Columbus Day
- We remember the tragic events of 9/11
- Neil Armstrong placing the flag on the moon
- We stand to the flag at the start of sporting events;
- Council meetings pledge allegiance to the flag before starting;
- We draped coffins of our heroes during their funeral;
- We lower our flags half-mast;
No matter where each one of us stands on the issue of the flag and the national anthem, God commands us to honor, respect, and obey a higher authority and that does not include taking a knee.