by Del Tackett
I have come to be in awe of this attribute of God, for it reveals to us one of the most remarkable characteristics of His nature and, I would dare say, even the very heart of God. As such, it is not surprising that we see it deeply manifested in every aspect of life.
It is not a word that is literally found in the Bible, just as we will not find omnipotent or omniscient or triune, but the delegations of God are unmistakably revealed in both the Scriptures and throughout the general revelation of what He has made.
It was first manifested in creation…easiest to see when He created plants. He didn’t create them as mere endpoints, but instead delegated to them the authority and responsibility to bring forth new plant life. He created them for this purpose. He did the same with the animals and man. We were created and then equipped and sent to multiply and fill the earth.
Unfortunately, this is too familiar to us and we therefore may miss the enormity of this amazing aspect of His nature. God is infinite in creative power. He could have been the forever progenitor of every plant, animal and human throughout time. He could have not made us male and female. He could have made the plants without pistils or stamens. He could have not made seeds or fruit or bees for pollination.
He could have made everything sterile…with Him being the continual-Creator, creating each and every new plant, each new cub, each new baby…or rather each new mature life, for there wouldn’t have been a need for seeds to grow or parents to nurture cubs or fawns or babies. There would have been no seeds. There would have been no parents.
But He didn’t create this way.
In fact, I will go so far as to say that He couldn’t have made His Creation sterile, because that would be contrary to His own nature. God is the God of life, yes, but almost more importantly He is the God who delegates. And when it comes to life, He delegated to His creatures the authority and power and capability to, themselves, create new living creatures…after their own kind. For their delegated authority was limited. They were not given the power to create life after another kind. They were given the authority and the means to create life after their own kind…only.
And God was pleased with this. He was zealous for this.
He has a zeal for His creatures to flourish.
And this flourishing, this “fruit” of His creatures, brings their Creator great glory.
This is the God who delegates.
But He does not delegate authority just for the reproduction of new life; He also delegates the authority to carry out other aspects of His purposes and plans.
This too, is for His glory.
This is why He sends.
This is why Moses was sent to Egypt rather than God going to Pharaoh Himself.
This is why God chose to send Jonah to Ninevah…and Elijah to Ahab…and Paul to the Gentiles.
This is why you and I are sent. This is why we are commanded to agape our neighbor.
This is the God who delegates.
This is the God who created social order and delegated within those social systems the notion of power and authority as well as submission. The husband does not have authority because of his own worth. He has authority because God has delegated it to him. He must therefore use it wisely and in accordance with God’s design, with fear and trembling, for he bears that authority only as it has been delegated to him by God. If he uses that authority in accordance with God’s design, there will be great blessing. If he becomes arrogant or haughty with that authority or abdicates that authority, he will suffer divine consequences…and most likely his family as well.
The king carries authority and bears the sword only because God has delegated that authority to him. He is to use that authority to punish evil and to condone that which is good. If he rules with righteousness, there will be blessings. If he reigns with arrogance and pride, he will find himself in a pasture, insane and eating grass like a cow. Maybe not exactly like Nebuchadnezzar, but his judgment will come…sooner or later. If he thumbs his nose at the God of the Universe, if he rules with wickedness and evil, with oppression and theft, with injustice and bribery and selfishness…then he will suffer divine consequences…and his nation as well.
Every one of the social systems that God has created carries their design and authority because of the God who delegates. In fact, the entire universe reflects this aspect of God’s nature, for even the atoms were created with delegated functionality. Chemical compounds fulfill the delegated purposes of God. The sun and the nuclear reactions operating within it fulfill the delegated purposes of God. The combination of elements, like hydrogen and oxygen forming water, are a vital piece of fulfilling the delegated plans and purposes of God.
And you and I have been delegated one of the greatest responsibilities in all of creation. For you and I have been delegated the authority and responsibility to be witnesses…to bear the good news…to bear the fruit of the Spirit of God…to speak of Him, act of Him, live our lives as a testimony of Him.
Because He has delegated to us the responsibility of proclaiming who He is to the world around us. He could fully show Himself in all of His glory at any minute of any day. But He doesn’t. Why? Because He has delegated that responsibility to us. We have the privilege of manifesting His glory. And in some strange way, His glory is magnified when it comes through His creatures.
This is so contrary to our sinful lust for power and control. When we obtain power, we generally misuse it or crave for more.
God gives it away.
The king rarely gives up power and authority. He usually grabs all he can, consolidating authority and power until he bloats on it and the whole culture collapses.
But God delegates His authority and His power. He gives it freely and willingly so that His creatures might be fruitful and that fruit, in turn, brings Him glory.
Jesus was the perfect example of a “delegate”. The Father granted authority to Him. Somehow in the mystery of the Trinity we have this nature of God manifested eternally within the Godhead: the Father delegating authority to the Son; the Father sending the Son; the Son only saying what the Father gives Him to say.
And the Son, in turn, granted authority to His disciples…and to us.
This is where the king gets his authority; the husband his authority; the pastor his authority; the owner his authority; the child of God his authority to speak and witness and bear the truth of the good news and manifest the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place; light; salt…and who is equal to such a task?
Oh how awesome is our God, that He should delegate to us such a precious and valuable task!
If we were fully perceptive enough in all of this, I would suppose that we would then come to our senses and recognize why He has granted us the mysterious authority to ask of Him, to petition Him, such that if we do not ask, we do not have. Herein lies the great puzzle of the delegation of a perfect God to His imperfect creatures.
“For He seems to do nothing of Himself which He can possibly delegate to His creatures. He commands us to do slowly and blunderingly what He could do perfectly and in the twinkling of an eye.” C. S. Lewis
(I took this picture of the Paper Weights we were growing inside our house before transplanting. Canon 5d Mark II, Macro lens)
Verses to ponder throughout the week:
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people. Daniel 4:17
Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes. Daniel 4:25
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. John 12:49
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Matthew 28:18
…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2
Did he not make them one…? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. Malachi 2:15
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Rom 13:1
…and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:29-30
For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. John 5:26
For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. John 17:2
As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. John 17:18
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; John 17:22
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence… 2 Peter 1:3
But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. Deuteronomy 8:18
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? 2 Corinthians 2:14-16