The Choices of Kings
We are called to be King-Priests and need to make choices daily whether at work, home or play (not that much play goes on with COVID-19 restrictions). The trouble with choices is that they have consequences.
It might seem a nice thought to live without consequences. Life would be so easy, wouldn't it? Yet, if we had no consequences, could we follow Christ? Think on Luke 9:23, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
Without consequences we would prefer following our own desires instead. We wouldn't really deny ourselves much at all, would we?
When Moses went up on Mt Sinai to speak with God, Israel's consequences went with him. Aaron didn't have the strength to deliver judgment and nobody else had the authority. Therefore, many sinned greatly until the consequences walked back down the mountain.
Until we completely surrender to Christ through love, it is often only consequences that stop us from disobedience.
Our main decisions are those which affect our spiritual life and pathway, the ones that can alter our fate. All else is secondary. What are some of those daily decisions? We choose more suitable words before we speak, more righteous actions before we act, and more virtuous thoughts before we begin pondering.
The Bible is laced with scriptures about making choices, as God helps us make the right ones. He is keen to be involved in our decision making and loves to counsel us. He doesn't want us to fail.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible in its most basic form is a book of choices made by various people, and guidance on how to make godly ones.
Genesis is about the choices of Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, and others, and of course our Biblical women.
Exodus to Deuteronomy are about God creating a tighter framework to help people choose the things that pleased him — the One who either allowed or denied them entry into Heaven. It is also about the choices those people made even after that framework was given, and how they ignored it most of the time.
Scriptures get ignored more times than they get followed.
The books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles are about the decisions of God’s anointed royals, as are many of the writing of the prophets. To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). This means the Lord was expecting godly decisions. To help them in that endeavour, each King was expected to write out the Law (God’s decisions) in their own handwriting, so it would get into their hearts. For us today, that task would have been like reading the Bible right through, something many are reluctant to do.
Those Kings enjoyed what many preachers now seek — riches, fame and wisdom. The trouble with most of them was that they kept the riches and fame, but disregarded the counsel of wisdom.
Think about what the Lord would expect from the Kings during their reign in the Old Testament. He wrote down in the Law what he would choose to do if he were a human being living with them — if he were King in their place. He wrote down his own counsel for personal living, civil duties, and for worshipping correctly to obtain favour, e.g. how to get on with people, how to stay in favour with Him, and how to keep the nation free, safe, and clean.
How marvellous is that counsel?
What is troubling for us today is that their lives almost mirror our own. The Lord calls New Testament believers to a royal priesthood. What counsel do you take from God now, and what expectations do you have for yourself? Do you employ God's word to help you arrive at your conclusions?
A big problem with today's gospel is that Salvation is preached as being the pinnacle, when it is merely the beginning. Like the youthful kings who had to grow into wise and practical national leaders, similar to Moses in Pharaoh's palace, all the protocols of office were taught as a child. We are also on a pathway of royal development, simply called discipleship. Yet, we don't treat it like we are kings in the making because of the simplistic gospel message. Many of us remain spiritual infants, unworthy of Kingship, neither understanding the height or burden of our true calling. The Apostle Paul said of himself,"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness," (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
What do we think that means? Paul used the life of a king to show us he went on beyond basic salvation. He grew into a spiritually-minded king keeping his faith, and expected to be crowned for his efforts on judgment day.
Most of the kings of the Old Testament were seduced while in their roles. Along with the Kingship came many temptations. Imagine for a minute, that you could have anything you wanted. You summon a servant and your wish is swiftly fulfilled. Most kings didn't realise that Satan himself was in their courts serving them personally to ensure all their worldly desires were fulfilled and God's desires removed. Do you think it was only Jesus who got tempted? Every King got tempted on the throne, and most fell to the desires of their minds and bodies, which was exactly the opposite of the Law they were meant to write out and follow.
Let's look at the writer of Proverbs 3:1-7, My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in theLordwith all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear theLord, and depart from evil.
It was written from one king to his successor son. Solomon wrote to his son Rehoboam, hoping Rehoboam would choose the Lord’s counsel. The trouble was that Rehoboam had seen his father ignoring it throughout most of his life, so what was the point of words now? It was too late for Rehoboam. The instructions should have been given by example when his son had a fertile mind in his childhood and youth.
Rehoboam looked at all his father’s wives, all the temples he built for them, all the money he gave them from taxes, and everything he had accumulated to himself, and those were the seeds sown. Words of wisdom were worthless when stacked up against actions. They could not penetrate after that. There was no room for words in the garden of his heart, as the actions took up all the ground.
Proverbs 16:7 says,“When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
When our choices meet the favour of God, they bring peace, mercy, truth, wisdom and understanding to our own lives, which are royal attributes, and we dispense them to others. God grooms us to make decisions based on his word. He wants us consulting his word daily so when decision-times come we already know the answers. This is how the Godly kings operated.
Romans 10:17 says,“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
We can see from this New Testament verse that the Kings also would have increased their faith had they remained within the counsel of God.
We are called to have the faith of a King, the spiritual wisdom and knowledge of a Priest, and the pleasant humanity of a fellow walker in Christ. God rejoices when we follow his word. He is pleased when his instructions are put into practice. Our lives become richer, more pleasant, a sweet smelling savour to the Lord, and our praises for his wisdom are as music to his ears.
Let's look at the Bible through the eyes of people making choices, and see it as a treasure chest full to the brim of riches beyond measure, the treasures of which are to be freely taken when needed.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the choices I now see in the Bible. When I look at your word from the perspective of decision-making, I see the reason for peoples' failure much more clearly, and how easy it would have been to succeed. Please help me with my decisions, as I know they are as crucial to me as to any king of the Old Testament. Please strengthen me to follow righteously.