We are hearing more and more about the Kingdom of God these days. I’m noticing, too, that there are many more songs having to do with “the King” and “King Jesus.” That’s great, but I’m concerned about something, that is, if we Westerners REALLY considered Jesus to be our King, wouldn’t we act differently toward Him?
Truth is, we aren’t that familiar with monarchies. It’s not within Western DNA to even think that way. An Emperor is a completely foreign concept to us. Instead, we understand Presidents and Prime Ministers – figureheads, in many instances, who can be elected, impeached, disdained and protested by the populace.
Kings, on the other hand, are born. Nobody chooses them; they stem from a royal lineage. In 1 Samuel 8, we read of how the Jewish elders wanted a king just as all the other nations had. Samuel was the prophet who spoke for God Himself – but that wasn’t good enough where the Jews were concerned. God, in essence, told Samuel (1 Sam 8:11-18), “OK, they want a king, they’ll get a king. But warn them that he will tax them silly, use their sons to make war against other nations, and take their daughters and their animals.”
Despite this warning, the Jews persisted, “We want a king!” They got stuck with Saul.
God had actually established some boundaries for kings. Read this job description and see if it sounds like any kingly ruler you’ve ever heard of:
Deuteronomy 17:14-18 (NLT):
14 “You are about to enter the land the Lord your God is giving you. When you take it over and settle there, you may think, ‘We should select a king to rule over us like the other nations around us.’ 15 If this happens, be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner.
16 “The king must not build up a large stable of horses for himself or send his people to Egypt to buy horses, for the Lord has told you, ‘You must never return to Egypt.’ 17 The king must not take many wives for himself, because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. And he must not accumulate large amounts of wealth in silver and gold for himself. 18 “When he sits on the throne as king, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. 20 This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.”
No, no one comes to my mind. Yours? I can’t think of anyone on Earth who would measure up to that standard, not even King David – a man after God’s own heart - who used his power to have his mistress's husband killed in battle.
The Queen of Sheba was quite impressed with what she had heard about King Solomon. His subjects ate well and dressed well and Solomon even impressed the Queen with his worship. Even Sol over-taxed his people and eventually led them into idolatry.
Whether it’s the President of the USA or a tyrannical dictator of some Banana Republic or 3rd World nation, time and again we hear the people groaning, “Who put that knuckle head in charge?” Frankly, WE did that – we humans, that is – who are forever desiring an earthly king.
Psalm 24:1 reminds us that, “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.”
Folks, we actually HAVE a King, a real King - a King of kings, that is, God Himself. I recently heard theologian Wolfgang Simson say that some of the best Christian disciples you will find are ex-mafia, former gangster and radical Muslim jihadists. These are people who understand monarchies. When the king says, “jump” they ask, “How high?” We Christians struggle to even obey the Ten Commandments. When we hear the still small voice, we shrug it off, preferring the comfort of our own flesh instead. We say we wish the Father would speak to us but we wrestle to even read His Word or pray. Jesus said, “If you love me, obey My commands, (Jn 14:15)”
Well…how’s that coming along?
When we think about the King, we mustn’t forget that He has a Kingdom. Jesus said (Lk 17:20), “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation…” In other words, the Kingdom cannot be seen. In verse 21, Jesus continues, “…behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
You see, the Greek word for “kingdom” is basilea which translates as “dominion.” Wherever a king goes, so goes his dominion. Everywhere the king’s Ambassadors go, so goes the kingdom as well. To illustrate, I heard a story about a missionary who, while walking in Africa with a guide, was grabbed by the guide and dragged low to the ground as a man ran past them carrying a baton. Startled, the missionary asked what had just occurred. The guide explained that the runner represented the king of the next village as long as he held that baton.
If it’s true that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells within us (Rom 8:11), guess where the Kingdom resides? Yes, within you. All the power, all the authority…it all belongs to you. However, we can become just as corrupt as any earthly king ever has DESPITE that truth. Unless a king takes the things of God seriously, he will lead his nation into sin, and judgment will come upon him. His kingdom wind up like all the other nations, unblessable and, therefore, unblessed. Israel and Judah both did exactly that in following the evil practices of neighbouring nations. No one can reject God or pay Him lip service and expect God to bless them.
Whether a nation repents in sack cloth and ashes, or an individual dismantles the kingdoms he/she has built for himself and dethrones the anti-Christ within their own souls, well… anything with two heads remains a freak of nature. Either Jesus is Lord of every aspect of our lives, including our pain, guilt, shame and sorrow – past, present and future - or He isn’t. “Cast all your cares upon God,” 1 Peter 5:7 says.
Yes, we have a King - a King who desires to provide FOR you, build His Kingdom WITH you, and work THROUGH you to help others.
Let’s worship the King for He is worthy! Be not deceived, however, for worship is a lifestyle, NOT the Sunday morning sing-along into which we have made it. Check your checkbook and examine the way your resources and time are being spent, invested or wasted. The very things to which we give our all may well be the kingdoms that need to fall.