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God and Government

Daily Reading: Luke 20

Scripture Focus: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. (Luke 20.25)

Devotional Thought: Oh, how they wanted to argue with Jesus! Instead of being drawn into their political argument, however, Jesus made a simple, yet powerful declaration: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” If you are a citizen who benefits from being in a city, a state, or a nation, then part of your responsibility is to pay taxes. Everyone – from the richest to the poorest – should bear part of the burden required to keep the government operating.

But there are some things that belong to God and to God alone. To God you give such things as:

· Unflinching trust

· Unbending obedience

· Unequaled loyalty

· Unparalleled love

· Unleashed worship

So, government is not bad, and supporting the government is expected. It is a problem when we give to the government those things that belong to God alone, and we expect from the government those things which God alone can provide.

I think that Jesus knew the temptation to conflate government and God, and so he encouraged keeping them separate. But, they do not exist side by side with equal status. Instead, our loyalty to government exists within our larger fealty to God. So, pay your taxes, but place your ultimate trust in God alone.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, it was said of you, "The government shall be upon his shoulders." You alone are faithful to fulfill all God's purposes. I trust in you. Help me, within my Christian faith, to give what is right to the government. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 143.7-12

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord! I have fled to you for refuge. 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life! In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble! 12 And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant.

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