January 24: “When We Should Obey God Rather Than Man”

Today’s Bible Reading:

Genesis 50:1 – Exodus 2:10
Matthew 16:13-17:9
Psalm 21:1-13
Proverbs 5:1-6

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Exodus 1:15-17 (NLT): “Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: ‘When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver. If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.’ But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

There are two primary laws for the Christian citizen: the law of the land and the Law of God. Ideally, we live in a country where we can obey both simultaneously.

For instance, God’s Word says, “You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13). The United States of America also has the same law on its books. It is illegal to murder, and it carries a stiff penalty. So, as I live out my faith and comply with God’s Law of refusing to murderously take a life, I am also simultaneously complying with my country’s laws. This is the ideal situation.

That is why submission to the government is the default for Christians. Regardless of whether or not the governing officials are godly, our default is to obey them as long as we are able to do so (Titus 3:1-2, Romans 13:1-5).

Fortunately, I have been blessed to live in a country where I can generally obey both at the same time. Yet, when unjust and unrighteous laws are put on the books, the Christian citizen will be forced to decide to either obey the Law of God or obey the laws of man. For the sold-out follower of Jesus, that decision has already been made.

We see this played out in the verses for today. The Israelite midwives were commanded in the laws of the land to murder all of the newborn males. The Law of God (not yet written on stone but already written on their hearts) demanded that they value all life. So they obeyed God’s Law and disobeyed man’s law. In so doing, they gained the favor of God and were willing to take the consequences from man.

It doesn’t appear in the Exodus account that the midwives received any substantial punishment from the government. It tells us, instead, that God blessed them. In our lifetimes, I don’t believe we will be so fortunate. A sinful worldview is storming our society that is diametrically opposed to a Christian worldview. It may be that we will observe and experience, consequences of obeying God’s laws and refusing to comply with immoral government laws.

So what is our response to this truth?

  • Pray for our governmental leaders. We should pray that they only put into law those commands that will allow us to obey them as we also obey God’s Word.
  • Spend much time in God’s Word so that you know what it says and can obey it. You simply cannot observe what you do not know. Study your Bibles.
  • When God’s Word conflicts with man’s laws, calmly exercise civil disobedience. Many of the Civil Rights Movement leaders understood that this is how Christians draw attention to injustice or immorality.
  • Pray regularly for our persecuted brothers and sisters who live in countries where obeying God’s Word puts them in direct opposition to the laws of the land and the government that enforces them.
Photo by Aaron Kittredge on Pexels.com

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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