Advent Day 4: Understanding God’s Authority

Read Genesis 2. Today we’re going to take a look at God’s authority. God creates and places man in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Then He gives Adam a command, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (v. 17-18). This command was for their good. Their protection. The boundaries of God are to keep us out of harm’s way.

God’s Ultimate Authority

Throughout the Old Testament, we see orders from the Lord. The Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20:

  • I am the Lord thy God! Thou shalt have no other Gods but me!
  • Do not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain!
  • Keep the Sabbath Day holy!
  • Honor father and mother!
  • Do not kill!
  • No one should commit adultery!
  • Do not steal!
  • Be careful not to bear false witness against thy neighbor!
  • Do not let thyself lust after thy neighbor’s wife!
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, nor his farm, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.

All of these commands are summarized for us in the New Testament as Love God, Love Others (see Mark 12:30-31).

When God speaks, we listen because He has the final authority. God speaks to us through His Word, which is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). As pertinent as His Word was 2,000 years ago when it was written…it holds the same authority to us today. It’s not a history textbook or romance novel or dry ink on a page.

Why Should I Obey the Word of God?

It is important for us to understand that we live in God’s universe. He has authority over us. It is His land. Our temporary bodies are residing here but for a moment, like a vapor (James 4:14). We don’t know what tomorrow will hold. We belong to God and as such, He has the final authority in our lives.

For example, as a citizen of the United States, I must obey the laws of the land. I must pay taxes. I must stop at red lights. Littering is a crime. Jaywalking is not okay. Likewise, with a broader perspective, I am residing in God’s universe. I am His creation and I must abide by His rules.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:10

But that being said, my heart affections must be stirred towards obedience. Because I am like Adam and Eve, my heart bucks at the word “rules” unless I gain a deeper understanding. Naturally, we don’t like anyone telling us what to do and when to do it. We want to do things our way. We want to call the shots.

Stirring My Heart Affections

But, if I know more about God and more about His nature…I am more likely to respond in obedience. Yesterday I was driving around town and came across a construction site unexpectedly. I was required to slow down and wait until the road crewman waved me through the oncoming traffic. I was inconvenienced at a crucial time and sat twiddling my thumbs on the roadway. However, as I got closer to the situation, I realized there was a large pothole that would have done severe damage to my car had I avoided the warning sign. I was grateful that I heeded the law.

The Bible is not merely words about God…it is the active word of God. The Word of God is God’s voice in print. And if we listen, we will hear Him speak. 

I must remind myself of who God is.

No one understands you like God does. He knows your deepest thoughts and concerns (Psalm 139:2). He knows your waking and your slumber (2 Kings 19:27). Furthermore, He knows the things that keep you up at night, and your biggest dreams and desires. It is He who knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). And not a hair on your head goes unnoticed (Matthew 10:30). He keeps tracks of your tears (Psalm 56:8) and has not forgotten you (Psalm 105:8).

I must remind myself who I am.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

What lies are you currently believing about who God is and who you are? What objections do you have to God’s authority?