Lenten Reader -- Day 10
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15a) ----------
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (1 Samuel 8:4-7)
It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. (John 19:14-15)
Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. (Matthew 27:27-29)
In the same way the chief priests, the teacher of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.” (Matthew 27:41-42)
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)
[Y]our kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
When Moses and Joshua led Israel, God was their undisputed king, and the people met with victory and success. But when they settled in the Promised Land, peace and prosperity came, and soon they forgot their need for God (like so many of us do when things seem to be going well).
What followed was tragic, but hardly surprising: everyone simply did what was right in their own eyes.
When we reject God as our King, we inevitably repeat an age-old cycle of sin, discipline, repentance, restoration and sin again.
God longs to be our one and only king, but we want a human to follow, so, sadly, God often gives us what we ask for. King after king after king failed to produce a people who could represent God’s kingdom virtues and values on earth. Some were better than others, but none were able to adequately rule the people of God after the manner of God. And none were able to accomplish God’s will for a king.
Eventually, God had only one choice: He sent his own son into the world to deliver them from their enemies. He set a star in the eastern sky and dispatched an angel to herald the birth of one who would be “the King of the Jews.” He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. He came in the form of a servant, and allowed those he came to rule to mock and ridicule him.
But, as difficult as this is to imagine, it was through the bloodied, disfigured and crucified King that the will of the Father was finally accomplished and we are brought into victory and blessing.
Lord Jesus, you and you alone are worthy of being called “King.” You are exalted above all things I can conceive or even imagine. You rule all things from the microcosm to the macrocosm. Your wisdom is without limits, and your power knows no end. You are the Lamb who was slain and whose blood purchased for God people from every tribe and tongue and nation. You are worthy to receive power and riches and honor and glory. The kingdom of the world has become your kingdom, and you will reign in righteousness throughout all eternity. You are called Faithful and True. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are King of kings and Lord of lords. And I join my petition with the saints of old in praying, “Maranatha! Lord, come quickly!” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.