Day 179: June 28, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 5:2
2 Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to You.

Psalm 44:4
4 You are my King, my God, who ordains victories for Jacob.

Psalm 74:12
12 God my King is from ancient times, performing saving acts on the earth.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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I Am a Monarchist
by Lee Swartz, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

On the rare occasion that I find myself in “political” conversations, I confess that I have enjoyed the puzzled reactions and responses when I say that I have no party affiliation—that I am, rather, a monarchist. And while these are not the fighting words they were in the 18th century, in a time when it is expected to express a devotion to one ideological notion or another, it is admittedly, a curious position to take.

This is not to say that those who are puzzled or even skeptical of my thinking are without some justification. Where our imaginations have not been disturbed by the wicked rulers of fairy tales, the pages of history fill our reality with the misdeeds of despots and autocrats. Certainly having grown up in a nation that was born by revolution against the tyranny of an overbearing sovereign, we have this belief imbedded in our perspective.

We moderns, who hold the notion of rights and freedom so dearly, don’t take too kindly to the idea of being “ruled,” at least by anyone sitting on a throne. We live in a time when anything except self-governance, a term which barely avoids oxymoron status, is considered oppressive. It should come as no surprise then that the world has a distorted picture of what leadership is and what criteria we should use to choose our leaders.

While the bulk of the Old Testament, and particularly the history of the nation of Israel, is filled with a long line of kings that ranged from the incompetent to the downright wicked, nevertheless mankind looking for deliverance from other men was never the plan. God promised His people a Messiah, but it was the people who demanded a human king, proving that our confusion about leadership is much older than we care to realize.

And the world will never understand the difference between mankind’s record of self-rule and the establishment of God’s Kingdom and the Kingship of Jesus Christ, until it understands the difference between power and authority. And by power, I don’t mean the power (dynamin) received that is referenced in Acts 1:8, but the one (yad) translated as “my hand” throughout the Old Testament.

The exercise of human power, in all forms of leadership, is very often fueled by fear and desperation and results in violence, deception and mockery. Time and time again, as history attests, human rulers have used their power to advance their own agendas. The example of Christ, the True King, used the authority He was given to advance a plan that was greater than Him.

The response to worldly power is often outrage. The only appropriate response to authority is humility. And to a humble heart is given the keys to the Kingdom.

The exercise of power is the only recourse for worldly rulers in the face of opposition, but an established identity rooted in the authority our True King renders worldly power impotent. And because of the cowardly nature of the exercise of power, others must be sent to do the dirty work. God came Himself and became our filth to demonstrate the assurance and the effect of His authority. He came, not to lower Himself to our level, but rather to lift us up.

As it is, the list of reasons He redeems and defines the term “king,” and exposes man’s folly of self-sovereignty, would fill up a millennium’s worth of daily devotions. He alone is worthy of our submission and worship. And the statement, “I am a monarchist,” is not meant as a political stance as much as it is a way to transition the dialog toward something—or rather Someone—more important, Someone who is as significant and relatable to the events of our days as He has ever been.

As I read through the Psalms, I hear real human beings with real struggles, both within themselves and with the world around them. In every case I’ve read—whether they’re crying out for help, expressing gratitude for deliverance, admitting failure, or celebrating success—there is the acknowledgement of His Kingship and His sovereignty.

His Kingship can be ignored but it cannot be avoided and our acknowledgement of Him in every moment of our lives has an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.


From Thomas Merton’s, Praying The Psalms

...the Psalms are songs of men who knew who God was. If we are to pray well, we too must discover the Lord to whom we speak, and if we use the Psalms in our prayer we will stand a much better chance of sharing in the discovery which lies hidden in their words for all generations. For God has willed to make Himself known to us in the mystery of the Psalms...

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.