Thursday, January 14, 2016

Friday, read Genesis 9 - God's Regulators

God's model in Eden was ruined by Adam. However, God's model after the fall seems to have retained some remnants of the way things were in the garden... at least by comparison to the way things are now.
Before the flood, life on this planet was very different. There was no rain, men lived exorbitantly long lives, men and animals were vegetarian, there were no nations or governments (as we now know of them), the rainbow either hadn't been seen yet or it had no significant meaning, and men didn't have God's permission to execute justice in His name. However, after the flood, there was clearly a major paradigm shift.
Let's just focus on the origination, purpose and strategy of human government. Before the flood, though Cain murdered his brother, he was protected from any human vindication attempt. Yet, after Noah's voyage, God not only gave permission for men to execute judgment upon one another, He commanded it! It's a familiar verse, "Whoso sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." This insertion of capital punishment into human society was an indication of God's new program of human government.  He gave men the authority (His authority) and power to require lawfulness of each other.
Interestingly enough, the grand coronation of governance was followed by a simple illustration of why government is useful. Noah got drunk. Drunkenness led to lewdness. Lewdness led to domestic hostility. How much of our government's money and manpower would be saved even today if mind altering substances of every kind weren't used and abused?
Now, while government is obviously not just a necessary evil (see Romans 13:3), the hierarchy of who gets to govern and who doesn't is actually somewhat of a curse. Noah's three sons became the fathers of three great people groups. While in this modern age these group lines are becoming increasingly blurred, it's very clear that throughout most of history there has been a distinct difference.  Here is how it has panned out: spirituality in the Semitic line, a propensity for ambitious conquests among the descendants of Japheth and a sad oppression endured by Ham's offspring.
It's not that God wants us to be promoting this segregation, it’s just that Noah prophesied that this is the way it would be... and He was right. But, obviously, the existence of government can't feel like much of a blessing for the ones who endure the hardships of being on the bottom of the pecking order. Praise God, the crowned prince of Shem's family has brought equality back to Noah's family... at the foot of the cross!

So, "...the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1). Now, how should they exercise their responsibility? Ecclesiastes 8:11 summarizes it best, "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

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