Submission in our culture is looked at as one of those dirty little words, somehow it gets thrown in with feminism as a curse word of some sort. However, the greatest example of submission was modeled for us at the garden of Gethsemane where our Savior submitted himself to the will of God even unto death. Eve in her deception failed to understand that her decision caused her to be submitted unto the enemy and placed her in direct opposition to the one who made the command. Adam submitted to his wife, which caused him to be in direct rebellion against YHVH.
All throughout scripture we see scriptures that admonishes us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the Almighty. To submit to God, for husbands to submit to God, wives to submit to husbands, and for the body to submit to one another. There is a divine lesson that is being taught, and that is if we desire to be exalted we must humble ourselves as servants.
In the bible the English word “submit” appears twelve times, but the original Hebrew and Greek words for the English translated word has various meanings and appear more times in scripture under different English words.
H6031 appears 89 times in scripture and was translated as “submit” in Gen. 16:9. The strong’s meaning is:
anah – A primitive root (possibly rather identical with H6030 through the idea of looking down or browbeating); to depress literally or figuratively. If you were to do a word search in Strong’s you will see this strong’s number appear 83 times, but translated as “submit” only once.
The next Hebrew word that is translated as “submit” is Raphas:
Raphas (H7511)- A primitive root; to trample, that is, prostrate: – humble self, submit self.
This word appears 3 times
Kachash (H3584) – A primitive root; to be untrue, in word (to lie, feign, disown) or deed (to disappoint, fail, cringe): – deceive, deny, dissemble, fail, deal falsely, be found liars, (be-) lie, lying, submit selves.
Total KJV occurrences: 22
Now this last one appears to have a completely different definition from the other two. Though it appears 22 times, the consistent definition seems to be for the word “lie”. This last one is the only one that doesn’t seem to fit its use. For the sake of understanding the character of God it is clear we can delete the last definition from our view of the Hebrew word for submit seeing as YHVH is NOT a man that He should lie, nor son of man that he shall repent. (Num. 23:19) That said we know that there is no characteristic of God that can lie or fail. The second one fits perfectly as this was the characteristic we see of our Messiah who humbled himself even unto death, the death of the cross. (Php. 2:8)
Walking in love and in submission is a very easy thing to do when people are moving in accordance to the plans we already have or in accordance to our will. The problem comes in when there is conflict with the person in whom we are submitted to that is in contradiction to what we think should be done or how it should be done. Submission is often thought to be synonymous with obedience, but submission is more of a heart attitude rather than an act. This is difficult for me sometimes because I can often obey what I am told to do, but my heart is not in it. No one else but God and I may know it, but it is the greatest challenge in life that I must submit to the altar of YHVH. As it relates to things like food this is no big deal, my body may want a Big Mac, but rather than obeying or submitting myself to that desire I will eat what I know my body needs. This becomes a problem when it relates to those who God has given as a covering for me. The enemy’s tactic is to cause me to question their intention, but what I have to remember is there is a way that I can have a heart right towards God without obeying what those who are in authority over me request. For instance, Daniel is a great example of this, Daniel didn’t obey the King’s command not to pray to his God, but Daniel didn’t disrespect the authority that was over him. He didn’t boast in what he was doing, nor defiantly rebel, he peacefully disobeyed man and when he was caught he didn’t go off on those who enacted the penalty for that decision. We have to remember that even when we are standing on the right side of the issue we will be faced with punishment when it goes against the demands of an evil government.
Today we see this blatantly taking place as it relates to the President of our country. People have no qualms speaking their minds in direct disrespect towards the authority who was voted into power. One can disagree with the policies of the President without disrespecting or speaking in opposition of him. The fallout of such behavior has led to the open unsportsman like cutting under the belt type tactics that we have witnessed during this political season. Instead of watching possible contenders for President of the U.S. debate the issues that the people face with a clear direct plan and focus on expressing that plan we have seen name calling, and childlike behavior, with lack of substance that will benefit the people. Yet, come January we as a nation will find ourselves under the authority of one of them, and if I hadn’t learned the test in my home on how to continue walking in what Yah has told me to do, even when those who around me don’t understand, who are in authority over me then how will I deal with it when the power that governs me on a national level impact me? These are things to consider, however, the examples in scripture reveal that it is always in order to submit to authority, and always in order to obey God, and when the two are not at peace with one another the response must be it is better to obey God rather than man, and be prepared for the persecution that may come as a result of your stand.
Thought the natural inclination of the flesh when it comes to impending or even potential pain is to flee, there is no scripture that promotes that sort of behavior. We are to remain humble before authority even if it is wicked authority, but with full obedience and unwavering allegiance to the King of Glory, and if that ends in stoning like Stephen, or stripes like Paul, or being cast into lion’s dens and flaming furnaces so be it. Obedience without question to YHVH with submission without waiver to the authority He has put in place. For the heart of the king is in His hands and He can turn it withersoever he wills. (Prov. 21:1)
Lack of submission to appropriate authority reveals weaknesses in our faith in Christ, and reflect the areas in our lives where we have failed to die to our own will. Forsaking all for the kingdom of YHVH requires that we lay aside our way of thinking and submit ourselves to His way of thinking. This is why we are to pray without cease, it is in praying without ceasing that we learn the lessons of yielding to His Spirit. I had a love test this week that I know I failed, in my own hurt and disappointment I chose to allow my flesh to be satisfied with walking beneath the level of love that the Father has put in me. When we see such blatant ugliness and hateful acts purposefully poised against us the natural response is to retaliate. As I stated earlier it is easy to submit to those who submit to you, to love those who love you, to obey those who obey you. The test of if YHVH is in you is how do you respond to those who do the opposite? To those who despitefully use you, speak evil against you, and take under the table pop shots against you. Do you share the love of God with them or do you find yourselves lead by the same level of evil that they poise against you? Know in advance that for those types of people your love may continue to be returned with hatred, your service may yield no return from them, but your obedience to Christ in the face of such treatment will yield much reward in the kingdom of Heaven. So sons and daughters remember in whose character you walk, and in whose authority you are under. Submit to those who are in authority and walk humbly before your God.
- In what ways are you being challenged to submit to those responsible for your care (home, government, world)? What is your heart attitude towards those figures? If there is an area where you are failing read the stories of how Christ handled authority in the face of conflict and apply what He did to your life.
- Who is the authority in your life? Both direct and delegated. List them, and ask yourself if you are submitted unto them in the Lord?
- What is the difference between submission and obedience? Is it clear in your mind when you need to obey God rather than man? Remember the scriptural wisdom provided to us to battle the temptations brought to our mind, to first submit to God, resist the devil, so that he must flee! (James 4:7)