Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Slain King

It must be "power and authority" week, or maybe that's just the nature of lessons we take from 2 Kings.

In 2 Kings 14, we have another king who is killed by his own people. Now, I'm assuming (from human history itself) that it takes quite a bit of dissatisfaction and rebellion to kill one's own king, but the people do. And then, they bring the body of the king back and bury it in the tomb of the kings. 

Let that sink in for a minute. The people are so unhappy with their king that they decide to kill him, due to his ineffectiveness and disastrous rule. But then, they do their due diligence to bring his body back and bury it with the other kings, his fathers, in the special place set aside for their leaders. 

There are a couple of lessons to take from this, but the one perhaps most important to pick out is that your power and authority don't protect you.

A lot of us spend our time trying to get influence in the world. We want to be in a position that nobody can take from us, a place where we feel safe and secure because of who we are, what we do, how important that is, or whatever it is that we use to judge such things. And it doesn't matter whether that's on a great scale or a small one - you can aim to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the head of the garbage man's union or the lead nurse on a hospital unit or whatever it is. We all seem to seek that place where we make it so that our world can't live without us, as though that is some kind of protection. 

But the truth is that this world can recognize who you are and still reject you. It can declare your power and authority and still kill it. It can come after you in a thousand different ways, and then give you all the due honor you thought you death. 

Power and authority are no protection for life.

If you need further witness to this, just look at the lives of the prophets. To a man, they were protectors of God's people. They were the ones who had the truth in the midst of the lies. They were the ones who knew the answers to the questions the people were asking...and the questions they weren't. The prophets were the ones who had the secrets to life, real life, and who were able to lead the people out of their disaster and back into God's good graces. If there was anyone in the world worthy of protection for their power and authority, certainly, it had to be the prophets. 

Yet many of the prophets suffered the same fate: they were killed. The people came after them and killed them. Elijah spent a lot of his life running from those who wanted to take it. 

And not because the people didn't realize these were prophets; they knew. They knew without a doubt that these men were prophets, but that wasn't enough to save them. In fact, it probably condemned them all the more. Tell the people they killed the prophet, and they're like, "Yeah, we know. We buried him with all the honor of a prophet." 

So, too, in the case of some kings. The people knew this was the king, but they killed him anyway. And then buried him with the kings because, well, he deserved that.

Your power and authority, your place in this world - it doesn't protect you. Others knowing who you are doesn't save you. You don't get a pass because of your position. In fact, it's entirely possible that only in death with others recognize you for who you are, knowing all along but not letting it influence them when it comes to your life. 

There must, then, be something more to life than power and authority, there must be something better than position and prestige. And there is. 

It's love. 

Go love somebody.

Love probably won't save your life, either - not if someone's out to get you. But Love already saved your life. 

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