Furthermore I said to the king,"If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River, a that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple, a for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy."And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me. – Nehemiah 2v7-8
The more I read scripture and study man’s interaction with government leaders the more convinced I am that we have a responsibility to walk in submission to their authority. The king had already given Nehemiah permission to return to the Jerusalem to build the city walls, but now Nehemiah presses the issue and asked for a letter promising protection and even supplies to do the work.
There seems to be a tendency amongst God’s people to see human authority as our enemy or has something that we just naturally stand up to and oppose and go against. We can think that doing God’s work can never go hand in hand with being good workers or good citizens.
The truth is that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord. Though we cannot always understand all the ins and outs and workings God uses human authority.
Nehemiah was not only subject the king as a subject of his kingdom, the king was also his boss. So many of us might have just run off to ‘God’s work’ and forget about our ‘secular’ responsibilities. Instead, he carried on with his job and asked the king for permission to do what God wanted him to do.
I like this picture of submission and respect for human authority. Image the impact that Nehemiah had on the king as opposed to if he had just told the king, ‘I am going to so what God wanted me to do!’
Does God have the power to bless our submission to human authority?