Today's first reading can seem at first glance outdated. Addressing those in authority it says:
Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High,
This and other statements in the Bible have been historically misread, and led to such things as the theory of Divine Right of Kings.
Do we believe that those in authority in some way rule by God's willing or at least allowing it? Yes. But this is part of a larger whole. Everything that any of us accomplishes in life we accomplish, because God gave us the ability to do so. It is always a collaboration: talent from God, and human effort.
The larger point this reading is trying to make is that judgment will be more severe for those who are in charge at any level. The poor man or woman with no education and few to no resources, and lives under miserable tyranny will be more easily forgiven his missteps.
Those of us who have education, resources, freedom and in particular those who lead (from a team in an office to President of the United States) will be judged more sternly.
As we hear in Luke's gospel:
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.
From a global perspective, those of us who can read this blog are all among those who have much.
Today's reading continues
Terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted
Before we look at this scripture and see in it proof that God is going to strike down our least favorite politician, I would suggest we look in the mirror, and do a self-examination. I may not be president or even governor, but as I sit in my nice warm house, with a frig full of food, internet, cable, and shelves of books, my life looks pretty exalted.