13:3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good.
I remember the days before I started driving the speed limit. Everytime I’d see a police car, my heart would start racing and my foot instinctively would reach for the pedal. I was driving in fear.
But years ago I stopped purposefully speeding and what I’ve found is that over time I no longer experience any fear at seeing police cars, my heartrate doesn’t change and my foot doesn’t flinch anymore. And I’ve even gotten some good driving commendations!
I think that’s the basic idea of today’s passage. Sure we could find exceptions when an ungodly government has punished people for good conduct, but I think it’s speaking more proverbially here about a general truth. Life is generally smoother when we obey the laws of the land.