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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 251

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From the Word: Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey, but I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way. (Exodus 33:3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

Concerning Civil Government

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no ruling authority except those established by God. Whoever opposes the authorities, opposes the rule of God; and those who defy them will receive judgment. For he does not wear the sword in vain. He is a servant of God, a punishing wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom 13:1–4).

Pulling It Together: It can be difficult to obey the will of God when we are busy listening to our own voices. This was the case of the people of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness. They were obstinate, unwilling to follow the Lord’s lead—especially when he was leading through his friend, Moses. Why should we follow him? We’re just as smart as him! Let’s go back to being enslaved in Egypt. At this point, we may be seeing the first shelter-at-home policy in place, as every person stood at the flap of his own tent when Moses went to meet with God (Exod 33:8).

When God uses his servants, religious or civil, to exercise his will for our own good, we would do well to listen and obey. This is a difficult lesson to learn, perhaps especially for Israelites and Americans.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for establishing civil government. Amen.

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