Friday, October 27, 2006

Who is Your King?

In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6; NLT).

In the book of Judges we are able to read the story of the nation of Israel and the settling of the Promised Land. The recurring problem this young nation dealt with was the unwillingness to surrender to God’s rule.

As long as God provided them with a leader: Moses, Joshua, and the various Judges the people seemed to do what was right, but once these leaders were gone the people seemed to always follow the religious practices of the kingdoms around them.

This unwillingness on Israel’s part to accept God’s rule led to the consequence of invasions by other kings. There was no Israelite king who ruled Israel, but they were kings ruling Israel. These kings were cruel and the devastated the nation and kept the Israelites in bondage. Because they would not accept God’s invitation to be King, God allowed the invasions to occur.

The Old Testament often gives us a picture of what historically happened as a metaphor of what happens to us spiritually. Just as Israel needed to surrender to God lordship, we too need to surrender to God's rule.

We may think we don’t need a king in our lives, we may think that we are free to do whatever we please, and we may think that we are not bound by the chains of a tyrant. But that would be an illusion of the Evil One. The reality is that you are chained and enslaved. The habits you cannot break are not the result of your weakness, but are slave chains given to us by a cruel master. The lust, selfishness, and greed of your heart are the chains in which you have been bound. “I am free,” you yell, and then you fall back into whatever addictions you have that bring you so much comfort.

The reason you get drunk, high, and pursue sexual pleasure is not because you are free to do so, but because you have been enslaved to believe that these are the things which will bring you happiness. Even though you have discovered that they are source of pain, and not happiness, you are powerless to break free. You are the slave of a cruel tyrant and he is out to make your life hell.

My King on the other hand did not come to enslave but to free. He does not steal life, but gives a life that is beyond our imagination. He invites everyone to accept His Kingship, and He promises to help us throw off the chains that have us weighed down. He promises to give us hope and purpose. He offers a relationship that is worth more than the life which we live.

While Jesus is offering all people the opportunity to accept His Kingship there will come a day when this invitation will cease. Jesus is preparing to return and on that day no one will be able to stand against Him. Everyone will bow before Him, either in absolute terror or in absolute love, and worship the King of kings.

Now is the time for you to defect from the kingdom of this world and become part of the Kingdom of Heaven. The day is coming soon when there will only be one King left standing, and on that day I want to be on His side.

With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those who are afraid, "Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you (Isaiah 35:3-4; NLT).

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching (2 Timothy 4:1-2; NLT).

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