Jump Start # 3114
1 Timothy 2:12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
Our verse today comes from the King James Version. It accents the roles God has designated within His kingdom. Not everyone can be a king. God is. Not everyone leads. Some are to follow. Different roles, different responsibilities. This has nothing to do with who is better, smarter, more talented, or special than others. It’s simply about serving where the Lord wants us to be.
The King James uses a word here that we don’t hear much any more. It’s the word, “usurp.” Here is how other translations express this:
· NASV: exercise
· NIV: assume
· CSB: have authority
· CEB: control
We get the idea. To usurp is to take something that doesn’t belong to us. It’s to assume a position that hasn’t been given to us. If the police were to pull me over for driving too fast and in my defense I said, “The speed limit has changed. They just haven’t put the new signs up.” And when the cop rightly asks me, “Who changed the speed limit law?” I said, “I did.” He would give me a ticket. I can’t change the speed limit law. One person does not have that right or authority. It has to go through the legislature, be passed, and signed as a law. To say that I changed the speed limit is to usurp authority. I don’t have that authority. I don’t have that right.
The principle of usurping plays a major, major role in our cultural war about morality. In all the arguments, debating and mountains of articles being written, it seems that everyone is beginning with a major assumption that has not been established, proven or shown. Here are a few examples:
· Marriage: who has the right to establish who can get married? Most would say the courts and the government. So any two consenting adults can get married, even of the same sex. What is keeping an adult from marrying a child? Or, what keeps a person from marrying his dog? The laws. If the laws were to change, those things would be allowed. But all of this is based upon the assumption that we, or the government, or the courts have the authority to say who can get married. Where has that right been given to us? Have we just taken or usurped that right from God? Until it can be proven that we have the right to define marriage, we cannot change what God has established in Genesis. God made marriage not us. Marriage is God’s idea, not ours. God invited us to marriage, not the other way around. The right to define who can get married belongs to God.
· Gender changing: A man wants to be a woman and a woman wants to be a man. Our culture not only allows that, but encourages that. Be what you feel like being is the flavor of the our times. If a person can change their gender, why can’t they change their species? Why couldn’t a person declare that he is a bear and hibernate all winter? All of this is based upon the idea that a person has the right to change his gender. The courts say a person can, but who gave the courts that permission? Has God not established our gender upon conception? Has the Lord given us the permission to alter or change what He established? Is this nothing more than usurping or taking something that belongs to the Lord? Where are we given the right to change what God has established?
· Abortion: This topic has fueled a lot of anger recently. Since the 1973 Roe verse Wade decision, there have been 63 million abortions in America. 63 MILLION. It is viewed by many as nothing more than an elective surgery. A tummy tuck. A removal of a tattoo. An aborting of a baby. All viewed the same. The difference is that the baby is not the same as the mother. The baby may be a different sex, blood type, eye color and have it’s own unique fingerprint. Who has the right to end life? God gave the government the permission to execute the guilty. But the killing of the unborn, the innocent, who has that right? Is this something that we have assumed belongs to us? Have we usurped that authority?
· Changes in worship: Contemporary worship is more like a comedy club. Laser lights flash through the stadiums, with fog machines pumping out clouds of smoke and a full rock band blasts their music loudly through the air. Little thought is given to who preaches or what is preached. Fill the seats and make the people happy seems to the direction of the modern churches today. What we see is nothing like the reverent and Biblical worship of the New Testament. But people love the modern style. They don’t want doctrine. They don’t want rules. They want to laugh. They want to eat. They want to enjoy church. What’s wrong with the modern look? Why can’t that be the norm? It comes down to this word, usurp. Do we have the right to change what God has established? Do we make the assumption that we can do what we want in worship?
Usurping. Taking what isn’t ours. Assuming we have the right, when we don’t. Our in the countryside we see signs, “No Trespassing.” You don’t have a right to walk around on that property. It’s not yours. It belongs to someone else. It sure seems to me that so many of these cultural hot buttons are starting with an assumption that isn’t their right to assume. What gives you the right to do these things is a question no one seems to ask these days.
Some things are the prerogative of God and no one else. Some things belong only to God. The things of God we must keep our hands off of.
Usurp—maybe it’d be good to start using that word more often.