Friday, March 16, 2012

For You Kings and Judges Out There

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalm 2:10-12)

While these last three verses of the second Psalm are fairly straight forward and easy to understand, they contain some thoughts that are quite interesting. First of all, kings and judges are instructed to serve the LORD. And of course this speaks not of just any lord, but here "LORD" is translated from the Hebrew name Jehovah, which means self existent and eternal. While this command is certainly agreeable to any Christian, for anyone else it is by nature repulsive, and how much more so for those in authority?

Kings and judges (that is, those in authority) are accustomed to their word being supreme. Others generally serve them. Obviously monarchs from non-Christian nations will reject this command out of hand, just as they reject the living God who authored it. However, it would be no easier for the "christian-in-name-only" leader to truly bow to this greater power. After all, most of those in authority were either born into it, or worked very hard for their position, both of which tend to give one a sense of entitlement. Even the command to "be wise now" and ""be instructed" are likely to offend them. After all, what book is this that dares infer that they need to be instructed, or that they are not already wise?

And if that were not enough, here these kings and judges are told not only to serve Jehovah, but to do it with FEAR! Same issue, but now it seems that Jehovah has doubled down. Those in authority are used to being feared, or at the very least shown respect. It is a real blow to their pride to be told they need to fear someone else.

Most kings and judges will never get beyond this point without stumbling. But for those who do, they are told to "rejoice with trembling." Certainly joy and rejoicing is one of the hallmarks of true Christianity, but that joy will always be tempered with fear; at least if one has a proper view of the glory and majesty and holiness of God. Many would prefer to leave this concept in their rear view mirror, along with the rest of the "Old" Testament. They may be willing to give lip service to serving a god who loves everyone unconditionally, but to one who demands fear and trembling? No way!

About now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with you and me. After all, this is addressed to kings and judges. The answer, if you've not already guessed it, is simple. There is an old saying that every man is the king of his own castle, and there is some merit in the principle behind that. Each of us does have our own sphere of authority, whether it be in our home or work, or even just in our personal lives. Each of us is called to make judgments for ourselves each and every day on an untold number of issues. In that respect, you might say the command to "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling" applies to us all. If that’s a thought that is foreign to your nature, then it might be time that you put your trust in the LORD: you will be blessed if you do.

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