Week Seventeen, Day Two
The Israelites believed that Yahweh was Melek, or King—not just over Israel but over every nation on earth. They understood that the temple in Jerusalem was the earthly symbol of God's heavenly throne, and they expected a coming Messiah who would one day save his people from their enemies, establishing his rule over the whole world.
The New Testament presents Jesus as the King of kings, whose perfect obedience ushered in the kingdom of heaven. For the last two thousand years, God's kingdom has continued to spread through every nation, tribe, people, and language, as men and women accept Christ's rule. When you pray to YahwehMelek, you are praying to the God who watches over the whole earth and who will one day come in glory to usher in an eternal kingdom of peace and righteousness.
Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
He will judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
The mountains will bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness. (Psalm 72:1-3)
PRAYING THE NAME
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD...
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them... The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:1-3,5-6,8-9)
Reflect On: Isaiah 11:1-9
Praise God: For he is the true King.
Offer Thanks: For the ways God has already used you to build up his kingdom.
Confess: Any tendency to live as though this world is all there is.
Ask God: To fill the earth with the knowledge of him.
Several years ago I nearly met a king. I was touring Israel and Jordan with a small group of editors and writers interested in learning more about the intractable problems of the region. During our time in Amman, Jordan, our tour director attempted to arrange a meeting with His Majesty King Hussein bin Talal, known to his people as Al-Malik Al-Insan, "The Humane King." But the king was busy that day. So we met, instead, with his younger brother, His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal, who was then the crown prince. Afterward, we crowded around on the steps of the palace to have our photograph taken with him, commemorating our one brief brush with royalty.
Like most Americans, I find the idea of royalty exotic, romantic, and rather antiquated. And no wonder. Monarchs and monarchies have suffered a long decline throughout the world. If you doubt it, try an Internet word search for "king." You are more likely to turn up "Burger King," "B. B. King," "Martin Luther King," "Stephen King," "the Lion King," or even "Elvis Presley" than the name of a reigning monarch.
But the Bible pictures God as the greatest Monarch of all. Far from being in decline, God's rule extends over the entire universe. Though challenged by the one Jesus called "the prince of this world," God still reigns.
Isaiah presents a shocking though beautiful image of what the world will be like when God's rule is perfectly and permanently established: "The infant will play near the hole of the cobra"; "the wolf will live with the lamb"; "the leopard will lie down with the goat"; and "a little child will lead them." The world in perfect harmony. No violence, no hatred, no hurt. Nothing out of sync, out of control, off kilter. The weak and the strong living happily together, world without end. Evil will vanish, becoming merely an archaic word in the celestial dictionary.
Next time you read the newspaper or watch the nightly news, contrast Isaiah's vision of the world as it will one day be with your vision of the world as it currently is. Pray for the grace to perceive more deeply and to participate more fully in the work God is doing to build up his kingdom right now. Remember the words of Jesus shortly before his death: "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be" (John 12:25-26). Then join your prayer to his: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)
For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com. Be sure to check out Ann's newest book, Praying the Attributes of God: A Daily Guide to Experiencing His Greatness.