Friday, July 9, 2010

John 19 -- Sezar'dan başka kralımız yok!

This is a key verse for understanding the Kingdom of God, and the plight of Israel. In the book of judges, several times, we read the following explanation for Israel's misbehavior: "There was no king in Israel in those days, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

First of all, they refused to have God as their king, and drifted into all kinds of immorality. In the Kingdom of God, we govern ourselves, reign over and rein in[1] our own unruly appetites, leave our neighbors at peace, and sit "every man under his own vine, and under his own fig tree, and none can make them afraid."

As things got dicey, Israel could have repented, and come under God's gentle yoke again. Instead, they opted for Plan B -- "We want to have a (human) king, to rule over us, and to lead us in warfare against our enemies." Samuel warned Israel about the consequences of what they were demanding -- see I Samuel 8. A human king would eventually start demanding more than God Himself requires of us, a tithe on our "increase." God required Israel to kick back and loaf for one year out of every seven. A human king would demand his taxes, seven years out of seven.

Jesus, God's messiah, came along and took up the message John the Baptist: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." We can find all that is most wonderful in this life and the next if we start with personal submission to the Heavenly King. The title of today's post reflects Israel's answer then -- and, all too often, today:
Sezar'dan başka kralımız yok!
Caesar than / other / our king / there is not!

We can govern ourselves. Or, we can be ruled by tyrants. As John Wycliffe, an early translator of the Bible into English explained, "This Bible is for the government of the people, by the people, and for the people." An American tyrant, who deliberately provoked the bloodiest war in our nation's history, a war that left 600,000 combatants and innumerable civilians dead, perverted that sentiment in his Gettysburg Address. Forget God. Forget the Bible. We have a new deity -- "This government of the people, by the people, and for the people."


[1] Reign (to rule) and rein (noun: strap attached to a bit used to control a horse. Verb: to govern, to curb, to control.) both are pronounced like the word rain. Reign has more expansive, positive connotations.

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