It’s Good to Be the King

Who doesn’t love Mel Brooks?  This particular song was from the soundtrack of History of the World: Part I.  The idea of a king ruling over us is not particularly well received here in the US, or is it?  Our nation was built on Judeo-Christian principles.  We were firm believers that our rights come from God, not man.  However, over the past few years many of our citizens either have forgotten or no longer believe that.

History teaches us when you have a ruler who controls the population it never ends well, which is why the Founders gave us a Republic so that man could rule himself with as little government interference as possible.  To quote Abraham Lincoln, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  So what happens when these people decide they want a king or queen?

I’m reminded time and time again of 1 Samuel 8, when Israel rejects God as their king and demands a man to rule over them.  Even when God, through Samuel, tells them they will relinquish many of their freedoms, they still demand a king.  They want to have what other nations have—a false sense of security at the price of oppression and loss of liberty in service to the king.

As a serf in a kingdom you are entitled to what the king or queen bestows upon you.  However, many don’t realize what the king or queen gives you—the king or queen can take away.  If you’re a friend of the ruler it means a lofty position, land, money, all on the backs of said serfs (you).  Serfs get to work for low wages and pay high taxes to the ruling family to provide their “free stuff” but more importantly to provide a lifestyle fitting for a king and his royal friends. Sounds familiar?  Yeah, but this ruler will be different.  This ruler will take care of us.  He or she will protect us from the bad people who say mean things, or want us to follow the Constitution, or want to do us harm.  So we give up our God-given rights in the false belief that the ruler will bring us security.  After all, he’s going to build a huge wall around the castle!

What images appear in your mind when you think of a king? A  crown, huge castle, opulence, greed, trumpets and great fanfare, a dungeon to jail those who speak out against the monarchy? You think huge, you think loud, and you think extravagant.  There is no question the boisterous voice is heard over the quiet, but does that mean what comes out of the loudmouth is always correct?

Let’s take a trip in the time machine back to 1960’s.  We all remember the riots, the days of rage, Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, as well as the civil rights movement—Malcolm X and MLK.  Did the violent win over the peacemaker?  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, a man of God, stood for the rights of Black Americans.  Was he vulgar, ostentatious, or violent?  No, he was the exact opposite; actually making his followers pledge an oath of nonviolence.  Did he promise African-Americans free stuff?  No.  He looked to a day when people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.  Did he say rise up and demand the rich pay their fair share?  No, he said whatever you become, become the best at it. If you want to be a garbage man, be the best garbage man. And yet he won.  Why? He had truth on his side—God’s truth.

Unfortunately, the history revisionists have left out the religious side of Rev. King.  It’s quite remarkable since almost all his speeches and writings were steeped in scripture.  Was he perfect? No.  None of us are.  He will be remembered as a modern day Moses.  How many rulers or overlords can you say will be remembered as such?

As America turns further and further away from God and instead turns to a king for a false sense of security, there are days I feel like the prophet Jeremiah, reluctant to speak yet compelled to do so.  Feeling I am not qualified to state the obvious yet I hear Him whisper in my ear, ‘Fear none of them, for I am with you and will keep you safe’ Jeremiah 1:8.

I have quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer so many times but never before has his words had more meaning than they do now.  “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us innocent. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”  I know when I meet Jesus face to face I can tell him I spoke out.  I did my part.  I tried to be a good watcher on the wall (Ezekiel 33:6).  Jesus told us, “I am the truth, the light, and the way,” (John 14:6) “and you will know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).

As we approach Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, it’s good to remember that the King of Kings entered the world not as a flamboyant king, but as a humble, defenseless child.  He didn’t live in a castle; He was born in a stable.  His parents were not wealthy aristocrats.  We do know He never condemned or threatened those who spoke out against Him or those who even plotted His death.  He didn’t join the local Occupy Jerusalem movement or support Jewish Lives Matter.  Instead of a gold crown He was given a crown of thorns. He stood in silence as His own people mocked Him, spat on Him, and humiliated Him.  He did not raise a hand against those who tortured and crucified Him.  Instead, He forgave them all.

Jesus accepted everyone, even tax collectors and prostitutes.  He also cured a Roman Centurion’s servant and offered life giving waters to a Samaritan woman.  You don’t have to be a biblical scholar to know prostitutes, repentant thieves, tax collectors, outsiders, and a soldier from a conquering empire not your own would not be welcome in a king’s court.

Where we go as a nation I have no idea.  I can tell you if we stay as divided as we are now it will only bring about disaster.  “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25.  However, I have hope.  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Who would you proclaim as your king and savior?  A man, or the King of Kings?

 

Advertisements