After the period of the Judges (great warriors empowered by God to fight evil and temporarily free His people), the people of Israel rejected God as their king in favor of a king they could see, comprehend and manipulate (1 Sam. 8:1-6).
Now, God warned them that this would be a mistake (1 Sam. 8:7-18), yet He gave them the kind of king they wanted (1 Sam. 9:1-2, 15-17; 10:1) and when he tanked God then graciously granted Israel a king, David, that at least had a heart that burned for God’s glory (1 Sam. 13:13-14). Yet, he was an adulterer and murderer! One wonders what David would have been like without such a heart. God then gave great earthly wisdom to David’s son Solomon. Yet, he was ultimately a failure as well (1 Kings 1:38-40; 3:1-15; 11).
The Kings of Israel in the Old Testament all failed just as all our leaders have failed. None of our leaders have been perfect. All have failed us in some way. Why? Just like the Israelites, we have been wrong to look to anyone but God for leadership.
Yet, despite our sin, God has mercifully granted the universe a great, wise and kind King.
The Bible teaches that Jesus sits at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56) where he sits as king (1 Peter 3:22; cf. Eph. 1:20-22) where he receives our worship (Rev. 5:12), where he holds everything together (Heb. 1:3) and where he stands ready to judge (Matt. 25:31-46).
We need to stop viewing Jesus as sweet little dude who wants to give us all a hug! In the world in which the Bible was written, when Caesar (the king of the “civilized world”) died, imperial heralds would go into the city centers and proclaim something like “Caesar Augustus is dead. However, hear the good news (or gospel) that Titus, the son of God and prince of peace is Lord!” The message sent by these heralds was not “so, if you want to have a personal relationship with Titus then pray this prayer and write this date down in the back of your bible…NO!!! The message was “on your knees and declare loyalty to the King!” This is why Paul uses this language to describe Jesus because everyone will recognize Jesus as king whether voluntarily or not (Phil. 2:9-11; Rev. 19:16). It is not about having a “personal relationship with Jesus” it is about recognizing that He is the one true king and that we are to be loyal to him!
The really cool thing is that we share in that kingship now as part of our King’s Kingdom. Know that the Kingdom of God is an area or dimension that is directly ruled by God not some far off future event after the “rapture” and “great tribulation.” I don’t believe in any of those things but we’ll get to that at a later date.
The Kingdom is here and for those of us who belong to it it is important to remember that our King has given us commands to carry out (Matt. 28:18-20 and 25:31-46) and He will reward us for our faithfulness (2 Cor. 5:10).
Let’s get busy.