What’s your plan for the 4th of July? A day at the lake? Grilling brats and burgers in the backyard? A bike ride? Camping? Time with family and friends? Getting caught up on some yard work? And fireworks, especially if you have children? All of these can be great ways to spend your 4th, but it might also be good to consider spending 10 or 15 minutes reminding yourself and your children about God’s great gift to us called “government.” What we in the USA call “Independence Day” should in reality be called “Dependence Day,” as we acknowledge that it is ultimately God who establishes thrones and rulers—or removes them at His will.
It’s important to teach our children some basic things about government. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13. He lived under Roman rule—a government that promoted pagan beliefs and persecuted the early church—and yet he reminds us of the following…
- God establishes governments, and they rule under God’s authority (Romans 13:1).
- Governments and rulers are God’s servants, established for our benefit, to reward good conduct and punish wrong conduct (Romans 13:3-4).
- We are to submit to the governing authorities, and strive to live peacefully under their rule (Romans 13:2, 5; 1 Timothy 2:1-4).
- We are not to submit to governing authorities in situations that would require us to sin as the only option (Acts 5:29).
- Ultimately all governments and rulers serve to accomplish God’s good purposes (1 Corinthians 2:7-9).
Activities to Do with Your Children:
- Talk about the form of government established in your own country (USA = Constitutional Republic). Make a list of reasons that you should be thankful to God for this type of government. Make a list of at least five influential leaders in the country. Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and 1 Peter 2:16-17, and have a time of prayer together.
- Read together the first, second, and last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence of the United States http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html. In what ways does this document demonstrate a right understanding of God’s intention for the role of government? In what ways does it show a wrong understanding? Has God used even these wrong ideas to serve His good purpose? How?