by Jake MacAulay, posted Oct. 29th, 2011
The Bible acknowledges many types of governments. For example, 1 Peter 2:13-14 says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
Ordinance (Kitisis): the act of founding or establishing the thing created. Peter is referring to the TYPE of government. This includes a king (or monarchy) like David, or a Republic like we have in America, and what Israel enjoyed before they sinned and desired a king. Peter was not concerned (neither is God) about the form of the government system; the Bible is only specific to the function of government, “the punishment of evildoers.”
Notice that God can bless a monarchy, as in the case of David, Hezekiah, Josiah, etc., or He may curse the monarchy in the case of Ahab, Manasseh, or Saul. The reason for pleasure or displeasure of God is not found in the type of government, but rather in the actions of the government. If government fails to “punish evildoers” as Peter states here, or Paul states in Romans 13, then government may expect the curse of God. And we all know as our government is blessed or cursed, so are we as citizens of that government.
In 1 Samuel chapter 8 we see the children of Israel prospered and became complacent as a Republic comprised of different tribes with no king to govern them, only law and rulers of select demographics. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21). As a result of this complacency they desired to give up their autonomy (which represents responsibility) and adopted a new form of government: a monarchy. 1 Samuel 8:5 says, “…make us a king to judge us like all the nations”. They wanted a king that would take care of them. We don’t want the responsibility of God’s government, which would require us keeping up the standard of God in our own lives and our elected leaders lives all the time. Verses 19-20 says, “… we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
The sin was not the form of government, the sin was found in verse 7; “…they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” In other words, they weren’t interested in their government upholding the judgments of God (the Lord is known by the judgment which He executes: Psalm 9:16), they were interested in what they could get out of government.