Authority, Honor and Rewards in the Age of “Snark”

Posted: January 19, 2009 in Authority, Full Reward, Honor, Pathway of Blessing
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authorityhonorrewardHonor is a lost thing in America. Everyone is in love with themselves, they seek their own. We have entered an age of skepticism. There is even a new term for it: “Snark”, a combination of snide and remark. A snark is “biting, cruel humor or wit, commonly used to verbally attack someone or something.” Snark is a way of life in political commentary, news reports, editorial writings. We have made “dis-honor” funny and even trendy! God revealed to me in a dream (nightmare actually) that this age of “snarkism” is the fault of that great American show ‘Leave it to Beaver’.eddie-haskell

Most of you are thinking…didn’t Beaver honor his parents and Miss Landers? Yes, he did. But in episode #six America was introduced to a guy we know as Eddie Haskell. Eddie Haskell was the original “Snark”. He made dishonor funny. He made disrespect OK and even cool. The disappearance of Honor and respect for authority began in 1957 with the introduction of Eddie Haskell. It has been downhill ever since. Here are some examples of Eddie-isms:

Eddie Haskell: Wally, if your dumb brother tags along, I’m gonna…

Oh, good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just telling Wallace how pleasant it would be for Theodore to accompany us to the movies. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

Eddie Haskell: Gee, your kitchen always looks so clean.

June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.

Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here. -“Leave It to Beaver” (1957)

full-reward1I pray that we will rediscover the value of Honor in our lives, in finding God’s Pathway of Blessing. In order to restore Honor to our lives, we need to remember that God’s ways are so much higher than ours, but they are so much better. If we experience and know God’s ways, if we submit to following God’s ways, God promises to show us His Pathway of Blessing. God promises to Reward our lives with His Rewards. Consider again what John wrote: Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. (2 John 1:8)

I’m not talking about heavenly rewards. I’m talking of the rewards of our Life in Jesus Christ! Jesus came to give us an abundant standard of living! There is meant to be rewards for following Jesus! We’ve lost sight of the Power of the Path of Following Jesus! When the apostles preached the doctrine of Jesus, people were changed, lives were energized, rewards were poured out upon the people. It was powerful to be a follower of Jesus Christ. That Power affected their work, their home life, their marriage, their possessions, their way of living. it also affected their outlook toward struggles, toward persecutions, toward thieves, towards personal losses. Why did followers of Christ subject their lives to such drastic changes, changes that effected every aspect of their life? Because of the REWARDS!

God’s Way is a Pathway of Blessing, it is a Pathway of Prospering.

The Honor Principal

  • Honor: “to value, see as weighty and precious”
  • To honor a person in authority means to regard them in your heart as well as in your actions with respect and even reverence.
  • Webster’s “to revere, respect, to treat with deference and submission, and perform relative duties to”
  • Submission to authority is an aspect of true honor.

False Honor

To say we honor authority and not submit and obey it is to deceive ourselves. Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord and do not the things I say?” The Roman Centurion was a man who submitted to authority. It was a part of his being, it was in his heart. As a result he honored Jesus, knowing that Jesus had greater authority. Somehow he knew that Jesus had authority over all things, even sickness and disease. He honored Jesus, and believed in Jesus authority to speak and command the servant to be healed. As a result, the Centurion received a full reward!

Four Divisions of Authority

Christ established his Kingdom when He was here on earth. It is not yet visible, but it is here, in our hearts. The powers for this Kingdom are Heart powers. Your ability to see the Kingdom of God depends upon your heart responses to this world we live in.

Let every soul be subject to the (higher) governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Rom 13:1,2)

  • This is a Command: “every soul”;
  • This is a Promise with a Condition: God promises us that no authority exists without His approval and appointment. NONE. Since this is true, He assures us that if we do not honor the authorities, we resist the ordinances of God, and we will bring judgment on ourselves.

Who are the “governing authorities”?

humanauthoritychisel1You could say this verse only relates to governmental authorities, yet I believe that it is much broader than that, and I believe the Scriptures will back me up. In considering our relationship with governing authorities, we can find Four distinct divisions of delegated authority that effect our lives: Civil, Social, Family & Church.

Years ago I used to draw this little drawing which Bill Gothard taught in his seminars. This little drawing irritated more people. He told the story of a teenager and his parents. This teenager was resentful of their rules and rebelled. The pressure of his mom and dad increased until he finally had enough. He left home and joined the army! Guess what, the hammer and chisel got bigger. But what irritated so many people was associating the hammer with the man and the chisel with the woman.People considered it a statement that it’s ok for a man to beat on a woman etc. That wasn’t the point. The point was that God is behind authority, and he uses authority to shape our lives, to produce that beautiful jewel that He sees for each of us.

Whether you don’t like authority or think you are justified in disobeying authorities for whatever reason; Jesus gives us a choice, and that choice is stated in Matt 10. We can chose to honor the people God brings into our lives, whether you consider them and authority or not, and the way you honor them WILL determine the reward you have in life.

Matthew 10:40-42 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”

In Matthew 10, Jesus spoke of three levels of people we encounter, prophet, righteous man, and little ones. The way we honor them determines our reward in this Kingdom of God. The Bible gives specific guidelines for each authority, but many counsels of God’s Word cross the borders and extend to all the areas of delegated authority.

Let me say one thing: I have learned the hard way that my number one problem in life is honoring authority. Most of the hard but but fruitful lessons of my life have grown from my encounters with authority.tompkinspaving

One thing I learned from my 15 years in asphalt and concrete, many of the guys who worked for me, and I had all kinds of guys, had some kind of problem with authority. I think that was why God put us together, so I could learn the value of honoring authority. No matter what the situation of the guys who worked for me, I came to respect them. But it always pained me to see certain guys having the same problems over and over again because they resented and even rebelled from authority.

I will lay it out plain and simple for you. The Bible says “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft (divination)”

For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Samuel 15:23 (ESV)

rebellion-sin-of-witchcraftRebellion (merî) is a word derived from (marah) bitterness. Truly rebellious people are hurt people, they are bitter people. Rebellion is the visible manifestation of their hard hearts.

When you get bitter over confrontations with authority, when you allow that bitterness to harden your heart, when you allow that hardness to manifest itself in visible rebellion, you might as well get the black witches hat on and start hopping around on a broom. You might as well start gazing into a crystal ball. It’s time to start looking for eye of newt and toads and a cauldron. Start reading the “horror scope”, holding seances, start calling on the devil. Rebellion is the sin of witches, divination, those that seek after the devil. When you rebel you are opening yourself to Satanic influence.

So whether you agree or disagree, God uses authority in our life, he has established authority in our lives.

Civil Authorities:

While Jesus spoke of a Prophet, which could also refer to church authority, this truth extends to civil authorities. Paul makes this plain as we continue in Romans 13:6. I like The English Version for its understandability:  “That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.” Civil authorities are appointed by God and are working for Him. In honoring them we honor Him who appointed them; God in turn will honor us. It’s the Honor Principle.

Social Authorities:

“Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed.” 1 Tim 6:1. We might understand this better if we said: Let all employees under hire count their bosses or managers worthy of all honor. Let all students under education count their teachers worthy of honor. It would be the same for athletes and coaches or any other relationship that involves submitting one to another.

Family Authority:

Ephesians 6:2-3 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” This is a promise with a condition. The promise of wellness and long life requires you to honor your mother and father. And might I add, your father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Church Authority

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NLT) “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.”

The Kingdom

You may not see it, but we live in the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is just that, a Kingdom. There is order according to God’s rules. There are delegated authorities. American Christians have a hard time understanding the Kingdom of God because we have such a democratic mind-set.

We are trying to understand Kingdom principles with a democratic mind-set. This Kingdom is not a democracy. If we bring our democratic values into God’s kingdom, we will not relate properly to His authority and so we will be without the protection of His authority and will miss out on His rewards.

We disregard authority in our culture. We question authority. This is the age of “SNARK”. This is the fruit of “Eddie Haskell”. Why else do you think there is such a spiritual and moral decline in America?

With loss of authority comes loss of honor.

All legitimate authority is from God, and is given for protection, provision and peace.

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” John 18:36 (NKJV)

We are to walk by faith, we are to see by faith. We see and live in God’s Kingdom by FAITH. We follow God’s Word and Christ’s Commands because we realize we live in a SECRET INVISIBLE but ALL POWERFUL KINGDOM! There are REWARDS to all those who live according to Christ’s Commands!

All who name the name of Christ should have respect and honor for authority. Jesus says we will know His believers by their fruits. John the Baptist said you must bring forth fruits of repentance. So called Christian sects that teach civil disobedience are an affront to God’s Kingdom principles. To deny authority is to deny the God who established that authority. God in Romans 13:1 says that authorities that exist are appointed by God. You may think they are elected, but God casts the final ballot. Appointed means to assign, ordain or set. There is no “by chance”, there is no surprise to God when there is a coup or a new dictator assuming power.

Many Evangelical Christians were not pleased with the election of Barack Obama. Worries about Supreme Court justices, abortion, crime concerned us. God in His purpose caused Obama to be elected. Whatever happens will be for God’s purpose. We are commanded to pray for Obama and to honor Him. In so doing we will live peaceable lives. In so doing we will honor God and enjoy the rewards of His Kingdom. Now this does not mean that abortion will stop, and righteousness will prevail. In many countries there is persecution that is going on and God says He has established all authorities.

There are two kinds of persecution

Self-Inflicted: For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? If tomorrow you see flashing blue and red lights in your rear view mirror after speeding through a school zone, don’t blame the devil. Why-because this is one reason God has set up authorities- to punish evil doers. Obey authority and you will have no problems. 1 Peter 2:20a (ESV)

For Righteousness Sake: There is persecution that happens even though you did nothing wrong. 1 Peter 2:20b But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. There may be times when you have to follow convictions that honor God and His word. This is going on throughout the world as we speak. Christians are suffering death and torture because of their public faith in Christ. Or perhaps you face a milder form of persecution. If you work in a non-Christian environment, and are persecuted in some way, God says you are blessed when you endure it. When you are mistreated and continue to be a good employee, a good student, civilian, church member, this is honor at its highest.

There is no excuse for behavior that is against what Jesus commands. If you suffer for disobedience when you are wrong and against Scripture, that is not true persecution. There may be persecution when you chose to obey God rather than men. But that obedience must me in accordance with God’s structure of authority. Only the fear and reverence for God in our hearts would allow us to continue to treat as valuable those who have mistreated us. Even Jesus honored a corrupt civil and religious authority. He reubuked but he never rebelled. Even when they were beating and crucifying Him, he honored them by saying “Father forgive them”.

in-his-stepsMany Christians have the attitude that “I am free in Christ, I am to obey God alone, I don’t have to put up with this! I’m out of here!

And so we get rid of teachers, spouses, pastors, youth leaders. I know parents that have moved their children out of one teachers class just so they can get a better teacher. I have been in churches where the pastor was dishonored and trampled upon for no godly reason, I have seen youth pastors vilified by parents because of some oversight toward their teenager, I have seen marriages crumble and fall apart because one or both simply can’t stand the other person anymore. Paul wrote in Galations 5:13 “For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. We are called as Christians to regard and react to unfair treatment correctly. Listen to what Peter goes on to say in verse 21: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”

What was Jesus example? He was punished by authorities for doing wrong when all He did was right. Yet He still honored their authority!

What About Ungodly Authorities and when they mistreat us?

ungodly-authoritiesI know that in each of your minds a picture has popped up. That picture is someone in your past, an authority that God had in your life-it could be a boss, a manager, a pastor, a ex-spouse, a government agent that you thought was the biggest jerk in the world and there was no way in HECK that you would ever honor them. Why they did so and so…They treated you like dirt and there was nothing that you did wrong. It is true, many authorities are mean, tyrannical and unjust jerks. The Bible is full of them in fact.

But God’s Word tells us that all authority is of God, but it does not say all authority is godly. God’s Word reveals that He has put ungodly men in authority:

Pharoah:

Ex 9:16 “I have raised you up”. Paul confirmed it in Romans 9:17 “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Nebuchadnezzar:

“Behold I will send and bring Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, MY SERVANT, and will set his throne: (Jer 43:10)

King Saul:

“I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night”. 1 Samuel 15:11

David, the only person called in the Bible “a man after God’s heart” was placed under Saul’s authority. Saul treated David with kindness and favor in the beginning.

Saul Tries to Kill David

king-saulOnce Saul perceived David to be a threat to his throne, Saul became violent with jealousy. He made it his personal mission to destroy David. For the next 14 years david was forced to live in caves, in the wilderness, even in a godless foreign land. From the ages of 16 or 17 until 30 or 31 David could not go home not even for a visit. He lived as a fugitive on the run.

Why would God do this to a young man after God’s own heart? A man who killed Goliath only for the honor of God’s name? How did David react? Did he conspire to launch a coup d’état to get rid of King Saul? No, David honored Saul.saul-tries-to-kill-david

You Say NO WAY! How could mighty David, who killed his 10,000 Honor a man who was out to kill him? Why, if he could kill Goliath with one stone, surely he could have killed King Saul. Yes he could have. In fact I Sam 24 details one situation:

After Saul returned from fighting the Philistines, he was told that David had gone into the wilderness of En-gedi. So Saul chose 3,000 elite troops from all Israel and went to search for David and his men near the rocks of the wild goats. At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! “Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’”. 1 Samuel 24:1-4 (NLT)

David Cut’s Off a Corner of Saul’s Robe

david-cuts-off-robeNow the men were pleading “King Saul is a maniac, he’s destroying Israel, he has murdered innocent families and priests. The prophet Samuel anointed you to be our King. God is for it. Now David, if you don’t kill Saul, he will certainly kill you. David was not convinced, but he did do something. He crept up to where Saul was and cut off a corner of his robe. He could use this to try to convince Saul that his heart was pure, because he could have killed the King, but chose not to. But even after doing this, his conscience was bothered. He knew that he had dishonored the King.

“The Lord knows I shouldn’t have done that to my lord the king,” he said to his men. “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king and attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul. After Saul had left the cave and gone on his way, 1 Samuel 24:5-7 (NLT)

Saul left the cave and went to his 3000 men. As he did, David called out to him:

“Why do you listen to the people who say I am trying to harm you? This very day you can see with your own eyes it isn’t true. For the Lord placed you at my mercy back there in the cave. Some of my men told me to kill you, but I spared you. For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’ Look, my father, at what I have in my hand. It is a piece of the hem of your robe! I cut it off, but I didn’t kill you. This proves that I am not trying to harm you and that I have not sinned against you, even though you have been hunting for me to kill me. “May the Lord judge between us. Perhaps the Lord will punish you for what you are trying to do to me, but I will never harm you. 1 Samuel 24:9-12 (NLT)

david-holds-up-robeDavid honored Saul. He even called him “my father”. Saul was amazed at the goodness of David. He even started crying. And He said: “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil“. 1 Samuel 24:16-17 (NLT)

Did Saul leave David Alone?

Unfortunately, David would be tested one more time. After David had done the honorable thing, bring Saul to tears, Saul once more proved the kind of man he was. After hearing a report that David was hiding in the hills of Hakilah, Saul took 3000 of his elite killer forces and went to hunt David down in the wilderness of Ziph. David had to realize the truth, Saul was nothing more than a cold-blooded murderer. Even the most forgiving man would have become enraged! “This is how you treat those who honor you” Why you no good….You will really pay for this! His chance came, because David heard that Saul and his army were camped on a hill near Hakilah. The Lord had put the entire army into a deep sleep. David asked for a volunteer to go with him into Saul’s camp. Abishai stepped forward. He was the bloodthirsty brother of Joab. They found Saul in a deep sleep surrounded byhis closest body guards. Saul’s spear was stuck in the ground right next to where he lay in a deep sleep.

Abishai whispered to David: “God has surely handed your enemy over to you this time!”. “Let me pin him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I won’t need to strike twice!”

david-takes-spearI can see David hesitate. I can just see him thinking how this could be God bringing a deep sleep on Saul. This could be a sign from God that it was ok to take Saul out. After all he was a horrible man. He was a man who did not deserve to be honored. Saul had done all sorts of horrible things to David. He had even taken his wife and given her to another man. (I Sam 25:44) He took all of David’s possessions. I can hear Abishai saying “What’s going on David? Why are you not giving me the command to slay this monster?” Still no answer. “David, don’t you remember how you were anointed by Samuel to be the next King? He murdered 85 priests of Nob plus their wives and little babies in cold blood, just because they gave us bread to eat! David, give me the order and he’s toast! Why do you think God put his entire army into a deep sleep! God is giving you the go ahead!

Finally David said “No! Don’t kill him. For who can remain innocent after attacking the Lord’s anointed one? Surely the Lord will strike Saul down someday, or he will die of old age or in battle. The Lord forbid that I should kill the one he has anointed! But take his spear and that jug of water beside his head, and then let’s get out of here!” 1 Samuel 26:1-11 (NLT)

Why did God put the army into a deep sleep? He wanted to see what was in David’s heart! He wanted to see if he was still a man after God’s heart or if he had become aman like Saul who took matters into his own hands. God wanted to see if David would honor Him by honoring his appointed authority over Israel-King Saul. This was a truly life-defining moment for David.

God gave David His Full Reward!

“I have found My servant David; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him. I will beat down his foes before his face, And plague those who hate him. But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him…I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, And his throne as the sun before Me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.“ Psalms 89:20-24, 35-37

David saw beyond the cruelness of Saul and saw the authority given him by God. He Saw Him WHO IS INVISIBLE! David lived the Honor Principle.

break-chainsNow hopefully you have seen that God establishes authority. He gives us authorities that we are to honor. Now all authority is established by God, but their cruel behavior is not originated by God. That leader will give an account of his behavior, but we must give an account for our behavior. Are we willing to live in God’s Kingdom, where God is the authority, and our honoring our authorities brings a full reward from God? Or do we want to live in our own kingdom, man’s kingdom, where we do what is best for us, where we honor only those who have earned the right to be honored? What do you do if your authority is so harsh and insensitive that it is destroying your health, and affecting your walk with God? We will look at that next week.

What wicked King has God put in your life?

There is one wicked King you do not have to honor. Satan. Come to King Jesus, throw off the chain of Satan! Honoring Authority doesn’t enslave us, it frees us to let God Work! It frees us to enjoy God’s Full Reward!

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  1. […] Last week we saw from David’s life that yes, we are to honor even evil authorities, even when they… […]

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