Using God’s authority the right way
Although David was anointed by God and appointed to be King, for many years he remained under the hand of Saul. He did not stretch out his own hand to institute his own authority. In the same way, if God ever appoints you to be an authority you too should be able to bear the opposition of others. But if you are not one who is ordained by God, any effort you make to set up your own authority will be painfully futile.
I do not like to hear some husbands say to their wives, “I am God’s established authority; therefore you must listen to me”; nor do I take any pleasure in hearing the elders of the church say to brothers and sisters, “I am God’s appointed authority.” Beloved, never try to set up your own authority. If God chooses you, receive it with humility; if God does not call you, why should you strive.
Any attempt to set up oneself as an authority must be totally eradicated from among us. Let God establish His authority; let no man ever try. Should God really appoint you to be an authority, you have two alternatives before you; ether you disobey and recede spiritually or you obey and receive grace.
When delegated authority entrusted to you is being tested, do nothing. Do not be in haste, nor strive, nor speak for yourself. They rebel not against you, but against God. They sin against God’s authority, not against your authority. The one they thus disgrace, criticize, and oppose is not you. If your authority is really of God, those who oppose it with find their spiritual way blocked; there will be no more revelation to them. The government of God is a most serious matter! May God be gracious to us that we may know what authority is, fearing God and distrusting ourselves!
Do not listen to slanderous words
They questioned Moses; Do you alone speak for God-you who have married a Cushite women? Has not God spoken through us also? How can a seed of Shem married to a seed of Ham continue in God’s ministry? Can we not minister, we who are children of Shem and not children of Ham?
Of all this the bible records, “And Jehovah heard it.” It was as if Moses never heard it. Hence we find a man who could not be touched by man’s words, for he was beyond the reach of slanderous words. All who desire to be God’s spokesmen and desire to help the brothers and sisters must learn not to listen to slanders. Let God do the listening. On your part, do not pay any attention to how people criticize you; do not get angry because of others’ words. Those who are disturbed and overwhelmed by words of slander prove themselves unfit to be a delegated authority.
Make no self defense
Vindication or defense or whatever reaction there may be should come from God, not from man. He who vindicates himself does not know God. No one on earth could be more authoritative than Christ, yet He never defended Himself. Authority and self-defense are incomparable. The one against whom you defend yourself becomes your judge. He rises higher than you when you begin to answer his criticism. He who speaks for himself is under judgement; therefore he is without authority. Whenever one tries to justify himself, he loses authority.
Paul stood before the Corinthian believers as a delegated authority, yet he said: “I judge not my own self” (1 Cor. 4:3) Vindication comes from God. The moment you justify yourself before a person, he becomes your judge. As soon as you try to explain, you are fallen before him.
Numbers 12:2 records that God heard the slander, and in verse 4 God took action. But in between comes verse 3 as a parenthetic statement: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all men that were on the earth.” Moses did not strive, because he realized he had erred. God cannot appoint a stiff necked person to authority; He will not delegate authority to an arrogant person. Those whom He sets up in authority are the meek and the tender—and this is not ordinary meekness, it is the meekness of God.
We should never try to establish our own authority. The more we try, the less we are fit for authority. It is not the violent or the strong but s msn like Paul—whose bodily presence is weak and who’s speech is of no account—whom God will establish as His authority. The Lord said His kingdom was not of this world therefore His servants need not fight for Him. Authority attained by fighting is not what is given by God.