No God but me

hirsch-643340_640Hosea 13:4: But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. (ESV)

Here, the Lord is laying claim to the children of Israel, and rightly so. He got them out of the slavery in the land of Egypt. He made a covenant of preservation and elevation with their father Abraham and kept his word. He promised to give them the land of promise and he did.

He is not just the Lord God who demands from them but who also gives to them, he is not just interested in their doing the right thing; he wants to give them good things, put them in a good place.

Having the Lord as our God definitely have its perks. David wrote that he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91:1-2). In another place, he tied his continuous supply of provision to the Lord being his shepherd (Psalm 23). Somewhere else, he expressed his conviction that God was going to guide him, praying: for your namesake, lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).

Paul prayed for the church in Philippi: my God shall supply all your needs, according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). God is concerned about our needs. God knows that we need guidance; that is why he gives us the Holy Spirit. As many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are sons of God, Paul told the church in Rome in his time (Romans 8:14).

Being led by God enables us to be close to him. He is not a God afar off but one who seeks to be close to us, that is why he made his words available to us. (It was a time of darkness when the word of God was scarce in Israel [1Samuel 3:1-3].)

For the purpose of fellowship, relationship, God made man to be like him. He made him to have dominion, to have the final word on the earth. But that did not last because man fell into the temptation of the devil.

What the devil had from Adam, because of his sin, was the earth for a specific time. The devil is now called the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:4). But the devil did not have the authority that God gave Man. Authority means the right to act in a certain way. Authority is always specific for a determined outcome. But it can become twisted leading to the wrong outcome. Since the gifts and calling of God are without repentance the authority God gave Man is the same (Romans 11:29). It is not transferable or reversible.

Saul was conferred with authority in Israel when he was made king, but when he lost connection with God, an evil spirit came torment him, with the Holy Spirit leaving him (1Samuel 16:14). He lost the presence of God, lost his power but will retain the position which was respected by David and others.

And Jesus said to the people in his time about the Pharisees: obey them because they sit in the seat of Moses (Matthew 23:1-5). They have the position but not the power because it is a relationship which allows God’s power to come through. Having just the position means they have twisted authority. Jesus said about them: they make people twice a candidate of hell as they are (Matthew 23:15).

Man had the right to act (authority) in ways that bless the earth. He was told to guard and tend the garden; he was to be a blessing to the animals (Genesis 1:26-28). He had that authority but the power was not inherent in him, it was in God, and the continued relevance of the authority needs a continuous connection with God in a relationship with him.

The book of psalms says: power belongs to God (Psalm 62:11). And when Man lost his relationship with God, he became just a little more than a beast which perishes (Psalm 49:20).

From the story of a Roman soldier in the bible, we can understand further the difference between power and authority. The centurion asked that Jesus should come and heal his servant, but that he does not have to come to his house to get the job done, but to only need speak and his servant will be healed (Matthew 8:5-13).

The centurion knows something about authority. He says words that are obeyed. Why? Because he represents an authority of Rome (the headquarters of the empire) at that time. His words: I am a man under authority and I have people under me, who I tell things and they do them. In other words, because I do what I am told, people do what I tell them. It is all about an hierarchy of control. He does not wield his own authority, but the one conferred on him. Jesus said that he has great faith because he recognises the authority he bears.

The power is resident in God and authority in individuals who are appointed to bear it to get a predetermined result, in different spheres.

Faith is the recognition of the authority in the word of God (Jesus is the word of God). Paul said: faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith is recognising what happens in the unseen realm based on the word spoken. Faith is recognising that when we pray, God answers even if we do not immediately see the result in the natural.

In the Garden of Eden, man lost the power when he lost connection with God, but the devil gained a power, called the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Where does death come in? It is really an enigma that will be solved at the end of the age when death which is called the last enemy will be thrown into the lake of fire (1Corinthians 15:26).

But for now, we know that the devil wields the power of death. He becomes the source, the embodiment of it. He applies the judgment of death which man fell into. Therefore, death gives room for the devil to operate, carry out his evil intention on the earth.

But the bible says: the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1). Death culminates in eternal separation from God while faith is recognition of the power of God now to set us free from death in all ramifications. Faith is what overcomes death in all its expressions (1John 5:4). With faith, the authority given to man at the beginning is restored, and we can truly have dominion here.

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