History of Redemption: Blog Post 14
Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. - Judges 2:16-17
We who proclaim Jesus Christ as our Lord are called to live lives of submission. We are commanded by God to submit to Him (James 4:7), to our church family (Ephesians 5:21), to our church leaders (Hebrews 13:17) and to the government over us (Mark 12:17). We feel this desire to submit, yet we continually submit to all the wrong things. We chase after other gods, bowing ourselves down to them in worship, all the while ignoring the amazing grace that has been shown to us by the only true God. We are a proud and stubborn people, who think we know what we need and deserve, so much better than God, who is the height of knowledge. So it was with Israel. God raised up judges for them to protect them and guide them in times of war, out of His graciousness and kindness. We are told a few verses later that, “Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge” (Judges 2:18). God is sovereign and He can and does work through the leaders that HE has placed over us. How often do you pray for the leaders over you? How often do you pray for President Obama, or your congressmen, or your mayor, or your boss, or your elders and deacons? How often do you joyfully submit to those above you, in your family, in your church and in your job? God in His providence has placed these “judges” over you, and we hold firm to the truth that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We need to embrace “submission” as part of our DNA, and to see the beauty and the purpose in it.
How does one joyfully submit, when our flesh constantly tells us not to? The foundation of biblical submission is humility. It is only by a better understanding of how broken we are, and then by seeing how perfect God is, that we are truly humbled. We should seek humility daily, asking God for a greater portion of this. We live in a culture which tells us we should be proud, and that humility is for the weak. Yet the word of God, tells us exactly the opposite. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). And it is only once we accept this true and right order, that we will experience the peace of God.
We need to remember often, that it was Jesus Christ who ultimately submitted His very life to secure our salvation. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus was obedient to the point of death! This is our savior! He did not come as a rich and noble government official, but as a servant! He came in humility, and obedience, and in total submission to His Father. In response to this, we should live lives of humility, and obedience and submission to Jesus Christ, our great high priest.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:7-10).