Saturday, April 14, 2012

Why We Need a King

I'm starting a sermon series on the book of Judges tomorrow. It is a confusing and sometimes offensive book to many. Murder, treachery, immorality, slavery, sorcery, genocide fill its pages. Why do I think this book deserves a close study? Why would I even say it is needful in our day? Because our time is much like their's when "everyone did what was right in his own eyes." In both places where this phrase occurs (17:6 and 21:25) it is linked to the telling statement: "there was no king in Israel."

This points to the theme of Judges, an apology for the Davidic monarchy. Without a righteous king to rule, people slide into ruin, apostasy and chaos. Indeed, as the book progresses, things go from bad to worse. The only hindrances to hellish conditions are the judges that God raises up when the people cry out for deliverance.

If we are not able to rule ourselves righteously, we will be ruled by another. If we do not master ourselves, we will be mastered. Our efforts to govern ourselves (in the political sense as well as the personal) have fallen woefully short. Just read the book of Judges to see what happens when people "do what is right in their own eyes" and compare it to our present society.

Do we need a dictator to come in and clean up our mess? Certainly not. Can we at long last make "a clean sweep" of the corruption in Washington, Tallahassee, Miami-Dade, the city counsel? Not a promising prospect.

Why is government (and especially monarchy) discounted or even despised throughout the world today? The only legitimate reason that kingship is not attractive to us is because in this age and this world the only kings available are finite and sinful. Listen to C. S. Lewis describe why he believes in democracy:
I am a democrat [proponent of democracy] because I believe in the Fall of Man.I think most people are democrats for the opposite reason. A great deal of democratic enthusiasm descends from the ideas of people like Rousseau, who believed in democracy because they thought mankind so wise and good that every one deserved a share in the government.
The danger of defending democracy on those grounds is that they’re not true. . . . I find that they’re not true without looking further than myself. I don’t deserve a share in governing a hen-roost. Much less a nation. . .
The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows. Aristotle said that some people were only fit to be slaves. I do not contradict him. But I reject slavery because I see no men fit to be masters.
       —C.S. Lewis, “Equality,” in Present Concerns 
If there could be a king who is not limited in his wisdom and power and goodness and love for his subjects, then monarchy would be the best of all governments. If such a ruler could ever rise in the world—with no weakness, no folly, no sin—then no wise and humble person would ever want democracy again.

The question is not whether God broke into the universe as a king. He did. The question is: What kind of king is he? What difference would his kingship make for you?

The theme of my series on Judges is that we need a king--the king who bore the cross for us, now wears the crown and will come again to put the world to rights.

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