May I take you on a journey? Will you just give me a couple minutes of your time and follow me to the place a decision was made that has never once stopped affecting the course of time.
Come with me. I challenge you this journey is only for the true and brave.
This journey begins with our most current debate last night and the plethora of opinions on both sides of the fence. I have both liberal and conservative friends and I assure you that both sides equally throw around the name of God defining what He wants. When my God gets quoted and credited by everyone for what He wants (which of course always matches their narrative), it is time for some Fact Checking.
Let’s journey back in time. We will pass by every President before us. Do the issues change very much? Taxes, military (to war or not to war), rich vs. poor, the current cultural dramas at hand (currently COVID-19) and ultimately, who has the power and responsibility to solve these issues…the government or the people. Every President in our history of the United States has dealt with these same issues. The details vary, but the basis is the same.
As we journey past these Presidents, we journey on past our first President George Washington, past the signers of our Constitution and to the original shores where the Pilgrims and Puritans landed, but we will not stop there. We will wind back through Europe and Martin Luther the Reformation. We pass the stakes where men like John Wycliffe were burned to death for getting a copy of the Bible into the hands of the common man…to stop the religious abuse that was coming from institutional religion and its death grip over man.
We keep journeying and see the roar of the Roman government and their order. Let’s stop for a gruesome moment and watch the Coliseum games. Today’s game headline is “Christian vs. Lion…Who Will Win? Get your ticket now!”
We have arrived in the market place of Athens. It is a busy city! So much life. The markets are full of trade. We meander over to Mars Hill… “the happening spot” of human philosophy where all the great minds come together to figure out the complexities and meaning of life. We stop as we hear the voice of one, just one man who is proclaiming to these thinkers, that he noticed in the market they were selling idols to the “unknown God” and that is what He is there to discuss that day. To introduce them to their unknown God.
Now we journey a little farther and we are on a Judean hillside. We see a man named Jesus. Here we tarry for awhile. He intrigues us because we have taken quite a journey now and are tired. Weary. We have witnessed a lot of historical trauma.
We have already seen several horrific wars and such great loss of life…even if it was necessary…in our own nations very short life span. So much hate and division since we started.
We have witnessed institutional religion and crusades that terrorized the common man…all in the name of God and holiness.
We have witnessed the strict regime of law and order and superiority when we saw those that disagreed fed to lions.
We have witnessed the great minds of the time and their confusion seeking to understand life and an unknown God they knew nothing about.
And so here we are. Tired. Burnt out. Quite helpless. And He speaks.
His words are quite revolutionary. He speaks OF power and authority, He speaks WITH power and authority, He calls for us to follow Him, yet He has handed us nothing tangible to partake of in this thirst for power that we all suffer from. He tells us to believe and learn and trust Him. He invites us to a bigger picture that includes His Father and how they are one and we can be with them in a different kind of existence and life.
We continue to follow Him over the countryside, witnessing Him healing yet asking them not to tell. We witness the religious leaders twisting His words, falsely accusing him of being filled with Satan, yet He will not argue. We see the political powers try to twist His words and play the “smile to your face and stab you in the back” routine, yet he avoids that conflict. He just continues His mission which He says is His Father’s will.
We follow Him into a garden and watch his humanity and heartbreak pour out in great drops of blood and His earth-shattering suffering has already begun. Yet even then, He wanted His Father’s will.
The powers that be come and arrest Him as He was betrayed by one who called himself, Judas, a follower of Jesus. Big money corrupts again.
He now stands before Pilate…the Law heavy Roman who would pronounce life or death. His accusation? Pilate said, “You say you are a King?”
Why is this bothering the Romans…and the religious Jews so bad? The Jews don’t even like the Romans so why are they collaborating against this man and why are they so threatened He is claiming to be a King?
Jesus answers and it all suddenly becomes clear! His mission, His claim, where He is leading us and what domain does He rule and invite all of His followers to live in? You must read the court records for yourself.
Court clerk, can you please read us that answer again? We will get to that, but first, let’s go on.
That question about a King sends us farther back into our journey into a Judean hillside. We traveled past many wars, death, divided kingdoms, conspiracies, revolts and uprisings, and we keep traveling the line of legacy to where this “King” stuff began.
We see an old man. With stooped shoulders, weary from years of faithful service, it has been time to hand this heritage over to his children but they aren’t serious about God. They are playing the game, filling the “spiritual position” and are hypocrites. The people, disgusted by their life of lies, and constantly bent on doing things their own way instead of Gods, demand for this system of “God leading us through prophets” end. They don’t want it anymore. What they need…above all else…is a King. All the other nations have one, so why can’t we?
The old prophet, named Samuel, tried to tell them otherwise and went to the Lord in great distress.
“Samuel”, God said. “They aren’t rejecting you. They are rejecting me. Give them their way. Give them a king. But tell them…with that choice, they are also choosing these things that a king will now demand of them as his right….”
We lean in now a little closer. What are we agreeing to when we want earthly rulers instead of a heavenly one? What? I want to hear!!
“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer–sheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. (Military)
And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. (Rich vs. Poor)
And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. (Taxes)
And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. (We vary between love and hate on all of this depending on the “king” and how his choices affect us personally)
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. (We are tired of personal responsibility of morality and integrity dictated by God. So give us a leader we can either worship or blame.)
And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.”
1 Samuel 8:1-22
My friends….THIS is our heritage and where earthly kings took the place of the King of Kings! When we quote our “spiritual heritage”, let’s at least make sure we are telling the whole story.
Why DID Jesus come? Why WAS He proclaiming of all things, this idea of a Kingdom? What is He offering us? What is He leading us into as His followers? What is this new kingdom He speaks of and says He is King of? Pilate, you do have legitimate questions! And Jesus…you DO have the absolute, perfect and true answer.
“Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?
Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
For the sake of this post, our journey now stops. But our personal journey doesn’t. We will each one make a conscious decision which Kingdom we are consumed with, which Kingdom we will invest in, and which “King or Ruler” we will follow loyally.
Earthly kings and rulers will never, ever, ever have a plan or a peace treaty or policy that will not ask and demand of its people they rule over. There will always be unfairness, division, greed, and conspiracy everywhere.
But this is what we want. It is what we have chosen in our “spiritual heritage” since the old prophet told us not to that has elevated the role of a ruling man instead of a Reigning King.
At least, let our journey of spiritual truth be honest.