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. -John 18:36-37, KJV
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As we round out the third week of Advent, we shift our focus from the earthly ministry of Jesus to His Kingdom.
This world will never fully see the Kingdom of Heaven, just a taste through its subjects, we Christians who spread the Kingdom throughout this fallen world. We carry His voice to every corner of the planet.
And what is Jesus saying through us?
“You have rebelled against your Creator, and your sins are immeasurable. But I came to redeem you back to Me, to cleanse you of your sins, and one day I am returning to bring you home.”
Be of good cheer, dear Christian. You are cleaned and redeemed, and He is coming again soon!
King Jesus, continue to make us faithful citizens of Your Kingdom, and move through us to reach this world for Your glory.
The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Proverbs 25:3, KJV
There are three ways to understand this verse, I think:
Very few throughout all of history can understand the pressures, stresses, and rewards of leading a people as ruler or even elected official. Some of us may get an inkling of some idea, but without doing it we will never have a full understanding. (Consider the presidents and prime ministers who enter office with dark hair that turns gray during one term.)
God, the Creator of all of space and the Earth as well as our Eternal King, can never be fully understood. How can finite creatures understand that much power and majesty or that this God would want to save people who willfully rebel against Him? It will never happen.
As I mentioned the other day, Christians are are a royal priesthood following our King of kings and High Priest. Unbelievers will try to understand all of space and our Earth, but they may never understand how we can believe in the One who made it all. They will barely if at all attempt to search out our heart for our King.
Most of us will never understand leading a nation, and none of us will ever comprehend the fullness of God.
If we are wise, we will seek out God and contemplate His truths and all He has done for us. We may not understand all He has done, but diving into those unsearchable truths will only bring us closer to and more like that God.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. -Proverbs 25:2, KJV
We are wise to remember that Jesus is the Son of God, and therefore He is God.
Jesus spoke in parables so that those who are willing to listen and see can find the truth, but those who are unwilling to listen and see the truth will ignore and even hate truth. (Matthew 13:10-17)
We are co-heirs with Christ, our King. (Romans 8:17) We are called priests – servants of God – but even a royal priesthood. (1 Peter 2)
As Audio Adrenaline put it, “boys become kings, girls will be queens,” so we are tasked with the honor of searching out the truths of God as revealed through Scripture.
Do not neglect your royal priestly duties as a Christian. Study the Word of God for yourself. Rely on those saints on whom we have the labors of faithful study that divulge the deep truths of the Bible. Go to church and be fed by your local shepherd and brothers and sisters in Christ.
Do not merely say a prayer and attend a church. Make your Christianity your own, and seek Christ with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
And then love your neighbor by sharing that truth. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life. (NLT)
When I typed the question ‘how many countries are there in the world?’ into Google I expected the answer to be around the 200 mark. One website provided more information than others naming dependent and disputed territories in the answer:
Since South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, there are now 195 independent sovereign states in the world (including disputed but defacto independent Taiwan), plus about 60 dependent areas, and five disputed territories, like Kosovo.
That makes 255. I grew up in the island of Guernsey, which is one of the dependent areas, being a Crown Dependency of the UK. Systems of government vary widely across the spectrum of states, dependent areas and disputed territories. One thing that seems common to all systems is the requirement for someone to be in charge. In Guernsey the Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor and a Bailiff. In the UK the Queen is a constitutional monarch who is represented in parliament by the Prime Minister.
The teaching in this proverb appears to be directed to monarchs, prime ministers, presidents, governors, and the like. We don’t have to look far in our world to discover that many of the leaders of the 255 nations and dependencies have either never heard this proverb, or have chosen to ignore it. In many countries, perhaps even our own, politics has become a system of power that enriches the incumbent politicians to the detriment of much of the remainder of the population. Perhaps that is why it was God’s preference for Israel not to be like other nations and be ruled by a king? When the prophet Samuel warned the people that a king would draft their sons into his army, and their daughters into his service, they ignored him. Even warnings of slavery to the king and taxation failed to change their minds (1 Samuel 8:10-20). The people’s response was; “Even so, we still want a king, we want to be like the nations around us.”
Isn’t that true for us too? We want to be like those around us? We forget that God calls us to be different. If we keep one foot in the world then we will be corrupted by it. If you think about it, what the world has to offer is a form of oppression. We don’t need a prince or a politician to oppress us, because the ways of the world will suck us in and keep us in servitude, oblivious to all that God has to offer. Do you want a king? Then you need to look beyond the world and the voices that try to drown out the gentle whisper of the true and incorruptible King.