A GOOD KING HAS LOYAL FOLLOWERS
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”
Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV
I’m not your typical woman in that I really love action movies. I was re-watching a familiar favorite, The Lord of the Rings, and something struck me about it this time, the beautiful loyalty of the men following their kings, even to the point of death during seemingly hopeless battles. It got me thinking why this trait is so inspirational and stirs something within us. We are not familiar with kings and long-term loyalty here in our country. We have leaders that are only temporary, so we don’t get invested in them and certainly don’t think of sacrificing for them. In the movies or in true stories of heroes the common theme is that these men or women inspired loyalty by their own sacrifices and the good actions done on behalf of others.
King David had a special bond with Jonathan. Jonathan gave up his own right to the throne and faced the wrath of his father for the sake of the Lord and for David. When David was in exile, he had 30 mighty men that risked their lives over and over again doing mighty feats to further the cause of David and protect him. It is such a rare thing to see someone sacrifice their own rights, safety, time, possessions, and even their lives for another that we must acknowledge it as unique and special.
I desire to be totally devoted and loyal to my King, Jesus Christ. And it’s exciting to share how the Lord will produce that in me and in you. Since we are unfamiliar with loyalty to kings, it’s helpful to see what a good king looks like and how our King Jesus meets and exceeds those standards. As we see how wonderful He truly is, loyalty and devotion is produced, just as it is in the physical realm.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.” Colossians 1:13
A good king protects His people and saves them from enemies. He steps in and does for them what they cannot do on their own. Isn’t that why we look to our leaders in government today? We know we need help from one that has more authority, power and resources than we have on our own. Jesus has battled the ultimate enemy for us, sin and death and given us victory for all eternity.
"Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come, And My righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1
Recently the theme of God’s justice has been heavy on my heart lately. There have been some recent incidents in the lives of my friends where it appears evil has triumphed for a season. I get angry that evil gets any victory at all while the righteous suffers. And part of my personality wants to go and fight in my own way for the injustices committed against them. That sense of justice that rises up within me is from the Lord. He has placed His Spirit of righteousness within us that cries out against evil.
When I speak with women in abusive relationships, I get angry. When children are victimized, exploited and manipulated, I get angry. When crimes are committed and people get away with it and don’t suffer any consequences here on earth, I get angry. And God is angry at evil too. He desires righteousness and to see justice done here on His earth.
“For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrong…” Isaiah 61:8
The caution here is to not let that anger turn into sin. Taking revenge into our hands or having hate towards the people who commit evil now puts us in the wrong and does not please the Lord. Thankfully God has made a way to channel that unrest in our spirit of seeing injustice all around us into steps of action. Prayer is our weapon for us all to see our Mighty God intervene in the lives of those around us. We can use that agony in our souls to cry out to our Deliverer, our Savior to intervene on behalf of us.
“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
God also calls us to fight on behalf of others who cannot fight for themselves. Many of us are afraid to step into the battle of another’s lives because it can be messy and scary. But the very God we cry out to for help when we need it is also commanding us to do the same for another.
“Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed.” Jeremiah 22:3
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26-27
So my son Nick and I started watching one of my childhood TV shows Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon's character of Pa was such a great Dad in the show that it had me curious about his life. I wanted to know if he was saved. I was heartbroken to find this quote from him shortly before he died from cancer.
"All along, & especially recently, my beliefs have deeply disturbed some of my children, who have been terribly afraid that I will not have a place in God's house because I do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. ... I have my own way. *
This answered my question definitively. Despite all his "good" works or inspirational characters or shows, (ironically including a show called Highway to Heaven), in the end he rejected Jesus Christ and at this very moment is in hell suffering anguish and torment. My imagination runs away from me as I think of that moment that he entered hell and the shock and disillusionment of what he thought he would experience based on his beliefs and the reality of hell that set in. To see him crying out with anguish wishing he could tell his kids how wrong he was, so that they wouldn’t follow in his footsteps and not being allowed to, just like the parable of the rich man begging Father Abraham to tell his brothers. He's been dead for 25 years now and all that time been in torment and will be for all of eternity. It's very hard for my mind to truly grasp the enormity of the reality of hell.
So I had an encounter yesterday with someone who worked at a store. I saw a verse on the wall and they were playing Christian music. As I was checking out, I commented how great it was to hear the music. And then... that was it. I didn’t say or ask anything else. While driving, I was pondering of why I didn’t. I'm not a natural talker and such a terrible evangelist and that area always frustrates me to no end. I feel so much condemnation for not doing and being more or better at it. But then a different fear came up as I was driving, “but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” Matt 10:33
I thought if I’m such a chicken to speak to strangers who might be Christians, how will I ever endure these last days and persecution? I fear I will deny the Lord and be denied by Him. All this fear came on so suddenly and didn’t know why, which led me to pray, “Lord, if there is any shame in my heart of you, please forgive me and help me repent. If there is any fear of people, Holy Spirit give me courage like you did for the Apostles. And if it is I just don’t know how to talk to people about you, please teach and instruct me what to do.”
After praying, the Lord revealed and comforted me with this truth that it is about love. When I am so fully and desperately in love with my Jesus, there never will be any fear of being ashamed of him or of denying Him. When we are in love, all we want to do is show off the one we love and are never ashamed of them. And I will love what He loves, people in this world.
What about fear? “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 This is not talking about how much love I have for God, but knowing and fully grasping His perfect love towards me. Such safety and security that brings to our hearts and what the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance to give us courage. We have confidence that no matter what or who we face – that we are deeply loved and accepted despite every failing and weakness we see in ourselves.