Examples Of Authority

By: Larry Payne


“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (I Corinthians 10:11-12)

God has given us some historical accounts in His Holy Word to be examples and illustrations for us. “As we look into these classic examples of men’s dealings with authority and obedience, let us examine our own hearts. It is possible to really believe we are working for God in a right way and then discover we were altogether wrong.

A. The Rebellion of Ham (Genesis 9:20-27)

Noah had been blessed and used of God to preserve the human family. Noah saved his family from destruction. After the flood had subsided and Noah’s family were living on dry ground, Noah planted a vineyard. This was a tragic mistake. If a person doesn’t intend to drink wine or fall into the snare of intoxication, he should not be planting vineyards. (We reap what we sow.) “…And make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

When Noah was in a drunken condition and uncovered in his tent, Ham exposed Noah’s nakedness. This was an opportunity for Ham to resist his own father, the authority figure in his life.

Noah was wrong, very wrong, in fact. Yet Ham failed to recognize his position and authority in spite of his wrong. The carnal man delights in exposing defects in authority, so as to throw off restraint and responsibility to authority. Noah’s authority was not diminished. Ham was not justified and he and his son, Canaan, were cursed. “…A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”

B. The Strange Fire of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2)

Nadab and Abihu served as priests under Aaron, their father. However, the Lord never intended for these sons to serve independently without Aaron. If Aaron made no move, then his sons should make no move either. To offer sacrifice without Aaron would be strange. These sons took their censers and went to worship with independence. True worship and true service may appear to look much like the strange fire. An independent spirit resists God’s authority. It is a tragedy to try to serve God with wrong motives and wrong attitudes.

Fire from the Lord devoured them and they died. Moses would not allow Aaron to even grieve at the loss of his own sons. “And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”

C. The Reviling of Aaron and Miriam (Numbers l2:1-16)

Aaron and Miriam were the elder brother and sister of Moses. In the home as a child, Moses may have been subject unto them. When Miriam slandered and reviled Moses, she touched upon the work of God, challenging authority. Moses did not answer in return. No one can take away God-given authority.
Aaron was even a priest and he and Miriam had official positions. Did they have a right to speak against Moses? “Has the Lord spoken only by Moses?”

“And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses and unto Aaron and unto Miriam, come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation.”

“…Were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them;”

We should never despise or ridicule God’s chosen vessels. Miriam became leprous and Moses cried unto the Lord for her.

D. The Rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Numbers 16)

Korah, Dathan and Abiram were Levites and famous men of renown in Israel.

1. “They gathered themselves together…” (team spirit)

2. “…Against Moses and Aaron…” (self-appointed)

3. “And said unto them, ye take too much upon you,”(judgement)

4. “Seeing all the congregation is holy, everyone of them,”

5. “And the Lord is among them,”

6. “Wherefore then lift ye up yourselves, above the congregation of the Lord?”

We have the same Holy Ghost as you do. I read the same Bible as you do. I’m as intelligent as you are. I’ve been in the church longer than you have. I’m in the majority. This mentality will have sure problems with authority.

Moses called them to the tabernacle with their censers. They refused to come, and when they finally came, they gathered the congregation with them at the door of the tabernacle.

The earth opened up and swallowed them. their houses and all the men that pertained to Korah, and all their goods. “…went down alive into the pit…” Then a fire came from the Lord and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

God could forebear their murmuring and unbelief in the wilderness, but He would not allow them to resist His authority.

“Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning and scatter thou the fire yonder; for they are hallowed…and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.”

E. David’s Knowledge of Authority (I Samuel 24:4-6, I Samuel 26:9,11; II Samuel l:l4)

Saul was chosen and anointed by God to be His delegated authority. Even though God rejected Saul and anointed David, he was still under Saul’s authority as long as Saul was King. Israel now has two kings! In the cave in the wilderness of En-gedi, David’s men suggested he kill Saul. He refused even though he already had been anointed King himself. He would rather delay his ascension than get out of his place and rebel. When cutting Saul’s skirt, his heart smote him. Backbiting and inward resistance cuts close and originates from rebellion. David still addressed Saul as “My Lord” or “The Lord’s Anointed.” Subjection to authority is not subject to a person, but being subject to the anointing which is upon that person, the
anointing comes from and is ordained by God.

David said to the Amalekite, “Wast thou not afraid to put forth thy hand to destroy Jehovah’s anointed.” He ordered this man to be killed. Because David maintained the authority of God, God acknowledged him as a man after His own heart.


1. Write out I Corinthians 10:11 __________________________________________

2. What was Noah’s tragic mistake? ________________________________________

3. What is the scripture location of “…and make not provision for the
flesh; to fulfill the lusts thereof? ______________________________________

4. What was Ham’s sin? ____________________________________________________

5. What does the carnal man delight in? ___________________________________

6. a. Give the scripture location of Ham’s curse __________________________

b. Write out what the curse was: _______________________________________

7. What was the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu? __________________________

8. What was the spirit they manifested? ___________________________________

9. An independent spirit resists __________________________________________

10. What happened to these sons of Aaron __________________________________

11. How were Miriam and Aaron related to Moses? ___________________________

12. No one can take away __________________________________________________

l3. Did Miriam and Aaron have a right to speak against Moses? _____________

14. Please write out in the spaces below Numbers 12:6-8 ___________________

15. What was Miriam and Aaron’s sin? ______________________________________

16. What did Korah, Dathan and Abiram accuse Moses and Aaron of?

1. ________________________________________________________________________

2. ________________________________________________________________________

3. ________________________________________________________________________

4. ________________________________________________________________________

17. What happened unto them? ______________________________________________
18. What was their sin? ___________________________________________________

19. What was the sign and memorial? Numbers 16:39-40 ______________________
20. Who chose and anointed Saul to be King? ______________________________

21. When cutting Saul’s skirt. his ______________________ smote him. Why? ______________________________________________________________________

22. Subjection to authority is not being subject to a person but being ____

23. Please write out I Samuel 1:14-15

(The above material was published by Word of Faith Ministries, Azusa, CA.)

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