Joshua 22:21-34; Luke 20:9-26; Psalms 89:14-18; Proverbs 21:1-2
NT: “They watched closely and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, so that they could catch him in what he said, to hand him over to the governor’s rule and authority. They questioned him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach correctly, and you don’t show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” But detecting their craftiness, he said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” “Caesar’s,” they said. “Well then,” he told them, “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” They were not able to catch him in what he said in public, and being amazed at his answer, they became silent.” (Luke 20:20-26 CSB)
The man that ruled as Caesar during this time in Jesus’ life was Tiberius. By the time that Jesus was questioned about the poll tax, Tiberius had degraded into a demented and obscene man, randomly having people accused of wrong-doing and then torturing them and ferociously killing them. The reign of Tiberius was anything but righteous and just. When given the opportunity to denounce Caesar and the payment of taxes to Caesar, Jesus refused. Even though Jesus had every right to civilly disobey the edicts of Rome’s immoral and tyrannical leader, He did not. Instead, Jesus said that God’s people are to both respect governmental laws and honor the commands of the Lord God. We are taught in scripture, that it is only when governmental edicts require you to disobey God’s law, that you are allowed to disobey the government. Otherwise, we honor governmental authorities and comply with what they would have us do. What does Jesus’ answer to the question about honoring governmental authority – even when that authority is demented and obscene – say to us as believers in our current time? Do the governmental mandates cause to disobey God’s word, will, and ways? If not, then we comply and live to fight the fights that truly matter.
Psalms: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you. Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Lord, they walk in the light from your face. They rejoice in your name all day long, and they are exalted by your righteousness. For you are their magnificent strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. Surely our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalms 89:14-18 CSB)
Righteousness (that which is right and just) and justice (the execution of what is right and just) form the foundation on which the Lord God’s power and authority is established. He is righteous and just, and all that He does is righteous and just… and the same is true of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Checed (God’s zealous goodness, kindness, and faithful covenantal love) and emeth (the sure, reliable, stabile, continuing truth of God’s words and ways) always precede His righteous judgements. God, the Three in One – Father, Spirit, Son – can do no wrong and will do no wrong, but is ever merciful and always reliable. The people who are familiar with the joyful sounds of worship and praise are also the people who are familiar with the joyful sounds of victory. If we make a practice of coming before the Lord in submission… in worship… trusting Him completely and obeying Him fully, we become people of His Kingdom – and no matter who is at the seat of political power in our land, we can live in peace, joy, and abundant blessing and favor.