Monday, June 17, 2024

God the King

For much of their history, the people of God had no human authority. Certainly, they had their prophets and their judges, but there were many years in between the rise of these folks where there was no one really in charge. 

And there didn't need to be. When the people had their hearts set on God and were worshiping Him properly, He led them. He was their leader. 

When they started to beg for a king "like all the other nations," Samuel told them what a king would require from them - and the things the king would take from them were the things they were currently giving to God. Their service, their offerings, their tithes. Of course, having a king doesn't exempt you from serving also your Lord, but the prophet needed them to understand that their king would require just as much, or more, of a portion of the same type as their Lord. 

They went with a king anyway. 

Just two kings later, they've had wonderous, glorious, fabulous years with David, the man after God's own heart. David has led them truly graciously and generously, not to mention honorably and well, as He followed the Lord and sought to not impose himself upon the people too much, trusting God to provide for him as He always had. 

At the end of David's life - two generations into the monarchy - he is giving a speech about his son, Solomon, preparing the people for the new king to take over and for all of the wonderful things Solomon is going to do. And in his speech, David says something that we should not just gloss over. 

He says that the kingdom is the Lord's. 

He says that the throne he sits on, that his son is about to sit on, belongs to God. 

He reminds the people that it is God who is their king; he, David, is just a shepherd boy. 

It's important to not lose sight of this fact, even for those of us who don't live with a king. Because we're just as tempted as Israel to put our trust in human leaders. 

For some of us, it's our government. Especially those of us who are blessed to live in well-governed, relatively stable countries/states/cities. Sometimes, we put the burden of the Lord's leadership on those we have elected. 

For others of us, it's our church leadership - our pastor or pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, preachers, etc. Anyone who holds a position of "authority" within the church is likely to be held as the Lord's elect, at least by some. Even in the most egalitarian of church families. 

Sometimes, it's pure age or experience or seeming wisdom that leads us to declare that someone is the leader by the grace of God. 

But let us never forget, as David reminded his people, that no matter who sits on the throne, it belongs to God. No matter who wears the crown, it is God who is our king. 


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