"hath made us kings and priests"
The scriptures are truly inexhaustible in imparting wisdom, knowledge and all we need so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. That we may be scribes likened unto a man which is a householder which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. ‘Ready to distribute’. For the word of God has many dimensions to all and sundry regardless of who we are and where we live.
In the last few months that we went past, our first portion of readings have been exposing us to the kingdom of Israel. Kingdom of Israel which was one but running as two states for a good while. Separated and yet one, for they were all children of Jacob that make up the twelve tribes, to which pertaineth the promises.
The primary reason why they ran as two kingdoms was because of their kings.
The kings were meant to lead and guide the nation to achieve unity and dedication towards God. Unity of the faith as was in the days of Moses. Yet we see one by one how they failed to lead the people, instead how they were influenced by their circumstances to live a life in direct disobedience to God’s ways in light of all the admonition that they would receive at the hands of the prophetic corrections.
One king after the other would start of good and would eventually be his own master and Lord. If we were to draw a graph. The graph would be so easy to predict and focus. For measured against time with prosperity, they soon faltered as they could not contain it within themselves that success is from the Lord. For the tendency were driven by greed and selfishness. Human nature at its best is nothing but corrupt.
If only the had confided in the word of God they would have learnt of the ways of their father David who was humble and whose heart was right before God. Whose thoughts and prayers are known to all for in gratitude to God He said:
“Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever”. (1 Chron. 29:11)
“Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1Chron. 29:12)
“Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all”. (1Chron. 29:13)
“Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” (1Chron. 29:14)
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee”. (1Chron 29:15)
“For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding”. (1Chron. 29:16)
“O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.” (1Chron. 29:17)
“I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.” (1Chron. 29:18)
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
They are some today who strive to attain world peace, massive agricultural outputs and mining productions that are plenteous some even foresee unequalled travel and communications methods so improved to help mankind out of all his burdens. No human achievement can and will remedy the predicaments we have put ourselves in. For all things done have consequences and all human efforts are nothing but a matrix of irrelevant meddling of things that belong to someone else.
They think the answer lies in developing policies called constitutions and electing individualswho will champion ideas and provide all things necessary so as to attain a elevated state for mankind to glorious levels.
The kings of Israel attained more than most people can comprehend. They were in their days of favour truly blessed by God. They hand their heart’s desire taken care of and in the language of scripture, every one lived under his own fig tree. They had the Most High on their side and all things were ‘good’. The blessings were of such magnitude that it can be sufficiently said they had peace on every side.
Yet, in all this comfort human nature found a way to turn against God. In all its ambitions our sinful nature can only but seek that which pleases self. The times of peace and plenty were soon a cause for being overfed and unconcerned. Noted by the preacher in the book of proverbs when he was careful to ask only for his daily bread , least the plenty can lead to ignorance.
You can almost see the proportionality of fat and ignorance, how they fattened themselves in blindness, the spirit describes this as fattening for the day of slaughter.
The things written were written for our learning. There are things we have to learn and our wisdom coupled with obedience, curry favour, if we have ears to hear and not keep hearing and never learning. Take heed therefore how ye hear: The less frequent we have things repeated to us the less we annoy whoever is delivering the lessons. For the apostles speak often of us leaving the basics and moving onto the meat issues which gives strength relative to age (measured in exposure to the truth Luke 7:32, John 9:23) and task at hand.
We learn from the life of the kings that it is not by favourable conditions that we are better positioned to serve God, rather it is working with God in walking with him in all we do. It is more of the steps we take with Him everyday than our desire to get there. It is not only getting things done but how and why as well. Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord knowing ye shall receive a reward.
Each king was soon overwhelmed by that which surrounded him. we can assume they were willing victims of the situation and feel comforted in that folly. If we, apart from God’s word, aim to overcome that which surround us we will soon be swallowed, that is if we have not be taken in already. Constant enquiry, study of God’s word will benefit us in nurturing a humble and contrite attitude that is right for continual growth to sustenance. Our circumstances might look natural or not challenging to our way that we are called to live. This is because it is already too let for us, we have blended in and have been taken in as one with our surroundings. For of a truth the world will not change. We have to change and when we change it still does not change. It was the same world in Ahab’s days and it is still the same world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. The word ‘lust’ denoting a continual pursuit of the longing to have without attaining gratification.
In the days of the Judges the Benjamites were so corrupt that when certain of them abused a fellow Israelite the rest of the Benjamites could not see any untoward doing in the act. This is because they were the same potentially with the offender. We will not see any wrong doing amongst were we live if we have become one in mind with them. Rather we will see the members of the body of Christ as offensive, we will even accuse them of trying to be over righteous. They will even appear abnormal, sound abnormal and behave awkward. We might even suggest to them to loosen up a little bit and not to take this whole thing to seriously. Instead of our souls being vexed in the world in which we live we find the fellowship causing us discomfort and so seek a little livening up. This was the kings lives they wanted to be like the other nations around them. They got tired of the offerings at the temple they even got tired of the passover and soon forgot all about it. They were pagan festivities that were more pleasing to the flesh, maybe in today’s language this is what we call entertainment. Something real that distracts your mind but has no spiritual bearing and adds no value. In some languages the word entertainment can be substituted by the word pastime or distraction. Distraction from what?
Not all things are beneficial although permissible ,so we learn, but things got so enticing the Mosaic festivities were soon history. Your portion is your portion, we sometimes do not have time to debate about issues, for maturity teaches us that when you are engaged in certain matters you can not involve yourself any more on the other side without risk of condemnation. Rules of engagement, hands to the plough.
The kings were also found of foreign women, in direct disregard of every warning they had had. But this was already too let, for in their pursuit of being like other nations they roped in a whole network of problems that naturally bring in diverse sub-problems and other derivatives of complications. Often when we are forbidden from something, we treat it as if God begrudges us and it is not quite that but we can actually do it like this or that and it will be ok. We are limited not only to the confines of time in our space but lag also in appreciating values as they are put before us. We should be content like Abram and move on to see later what God will put before us. Long after David was anointed king and openly shown that Saul has been rejected that he actually became king. This is just one example how we ought to take things as they come and not add to alter or hasten the outcome to achieve our own glory.
This was the down fall of most of the kings, they one by one manipulated the course of things and not only did the fail to see that they cannot change anything but they passed on the wand one to another.
We also run two kingdoms in our times as well. One part thinks and would like us to naturalise our call just as did natural Israel. We would like to believe that all is well and some of Christendomwould like to us to believe salvation is secured upon personal acceptance of Jesus as your savior. The other part is Jerusalem where the truth is potentially present but in danger of some from within slowly adulterating the gospel to suit the times. To align the gospel with modern challenges. As stewards we have been merely entrusted with the vineyard and to produce in our occupation to show fruits for our tenure. It does not help to change the object and prove a good result of what we have been tasked with, the duty is to take charge of the sheep and not to go after something else. Obedience in it nature involves a set of instructions per given space and time.
The kings were often called uncaring shepherds.
He hath made us kings and priests, we are God’s representatives here on earth. It such a high calling. Let us look at the life of the kings with resolve. We shall be kings in the kingdom and it is what we shall be that we ought to be now. In all points that the kings failed, we should mark them very well, for our learning.
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
Pro 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Responsible decisions are our challenges. Kings make decisions, we are decisions makers. Decisiveness is our strength of key note.
We are called to lead, to lead people to righteousness. We are the light of the world in that we lead the people to Christ. If we are to lead, we have capabilities to stand as individuals who will promote the truth in the society we live, as individuals standing out for and in defence of the truth.
Tendai Gombera Sibanda