No question is more basic to family life, indeed to life in general, than “Who is in charge?” Satan questioned the authority structure of the universe when he rebelled against God by challenging His place as the “most high” (Isaiah 14:12-14), and there has been an intense battle on the earth over that question ever since.

Wars are waged as nations fight over who has authority over a piece of real estate and those who live on it. Individuals disagree about authority over possessions, and families and churches struggle with the question of who makes decisions, which is, at its root, an authority issue. Conflicts, from the minutest personal disagreement, to the largest world war, are generally conflicts in some way over authority.

God claims to have all authority as the rightful King over all the earth and He tells us that He has delegated His authority to His representatives who are to exercise it according to God’s law, thereby establishing a divinely-ordained hierarchical structure called the kingdom of God. However, Satan resists that delegated authority with all the rebellion he can incite by using the main weapon at his disposal, deception. He tricks his unwitting human accomplices into either exercising their authority improperly by using some means other than the law of God or by rebelling against God’s properly instituted authority.

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