In both the Old and New Testaments, God laid out for every man, woman, and child a hierarchy of command. Do you know it?
To quickly understand a large quantity of information, pictures help, right? The following diagram is extrapolated from Romans 13 and Ephesians 5–6.
Why should you know this hierarchy? Well, if you have ever worked a corporate job, you understand the importance of going to the right person to get your problem solved. You don’t go to HR with a billing question, and you don’t go to a coworker about a problem with another coworker. So it is with God. If the wife has an issue with her employer, she is supposed to discuss it with her husband and then either the husband or wife discusses it with the employer, but neither should complain to their pastor! However, if the wife has a spiritual issue, she is to first ask her husband then and only then, if he does not know the answer or perhaps is an unbeliever, should she take it to an elder or pastor in the church. This keeps family matters inside the family and allows the question or issue to be resolved in a practical manner. Far too many people testify they just wait for God to reveal the answer in prayer or try to deal with an issue in silence not realizing God intended us to receive help from the people around us. “Ye have not, because ye ask not,” can be expanded far and wide to simple questions about the meaning of a Bible verse or an employment opportunity (James 4:2).
But, what if my husband or pastor tells me the wrong answer?
God has made his answer clear in Numbers 30. Once the husband or higher authority is made aware of the problem, it is that person—not you—who will answer before God. For example, when this author worked as a cashier at a major restaurant, the author requested to not work on Sundays. One week, the manager made a mistake and scheduled the author to work during church hours. When the author could not find another cashier who could swap hours, the author went to work guilt free because the manager, not the author, had to answer to God for her inability to attend church that day. Of course, the author had a discussion with the manager who scheduled the shift and made sure it was resolved before the next Sunday. However, if the manager had refused to accommodate the author, she would have sought employment and secured employment elsewhere before resigning. The point? Do what you can, but have a clear conscious before God if you have properly used the hierarchy and tried your best to honor God. God will take care of the rest, and he will hold you blameless if the person in authority leads you wrong.
Additionally, the Holy Spirit will intercede in any issue that will affect salvation. For example, if you go to your pastor not certain if an act is a sin, and it is, but the pastor tells you the act is fine, the Holy Spirit has an obligation to convict you so you know your pastor is wrong. (See John 16:7–14.) So, do not fret about being misled; utilize the authorities God has placed in your life and trust the Holy Spirit and the Bible to let you know when you are being misled.