Week Seventeen, Day Four
 

The Name
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.

Key Scripture
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)

***

Thursday
PRAYING THE NAME

God is the King of all the earth. (Psalm 47:7)

Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said,‘Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

"‘An enemy did this,' he replied.

"The servants asked him,‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

"‘‘No,' he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" (Matthew 13:24-30)

Reflect On: Psalm 47 and Matthew 13:24-30

Praise God: The King of the whole earth.

Offer Thanks: For God's patience.

Confess: Any complacency you may have regarding the return of the King.

Ask God: To hasten the coming of his Son.

If God is King of the whole world, why is the world such a mess? Couldn't an all-powerful God do something about the poverty, crime, and suffering that have been part of the world's story from the beginning? Wouldn't an all-loving God want to? The question nags. It's hard to ignore. It demands our attention.

Perhaps it will help if we consider two things: First, there's opposition. Satan (the word means "Adversary") is a spiritual being, a fallen angel, who opposed God's rule and in so doing ushered sin into the world. And sin is at the root of every misery the world has ever suffered.

Second, though God could have instantly destroyed Satan and sinners (that's all of us), he decided to take the long way round, quelling the world's rebellion not by brute force but by the power of divine love. That strategy requires restraint. It takes patience. It means justice in a final sense has to be delayed. It means evil is played out to the bitter end so that love can draw as many people as possible into the net of the kingdom. To say it another way, the weeds and the wheat are allowed to grow up together until the world's last day.

On that day Jesus will no longer hide himself but will step boldly into history, not veiling his power, but appearing in all his brilliance as King of kings and Lord of lords, judging the world with his justice and establishing his reign on the earth.

As we wait for the King's return, let's spread the kingdom by sharing the good news, feeding the hungry, serving the poor, and loosening the bonds of the oppressed. Also, let us allow the values of the kingdom to shine forth in us by the way we think and act and pray. Then, anticipating that final day of the Lord, let us bow down and worship, proclaiming Jesus as our King and Lord forever.

For more from Ann Spangler, visit her blogspot on Christianity.com.