The king came to our neighborhood last week. The first we knew of it was in the morning when we went out and noticed that overnight the lines on the street and the curbs had been painted. When the king comes, things get spiffed up.
The next we knew, around noon, a policeman appeared at the of our street to prevent cars or people going into the main road. Everything was made ready so there would be no traffic problems, no parking problems, no disturbances. It would be smooth sailing all along. Every street along the king’s route had a policeman standing guard.
People came out to watch.
Then came the waiting and waiting and waiting. No cars came by. Then some vehicles came past. A few motorcycles. One black mercedes, then another. Everyone wondered, is it him? Is it the king? Which black mercedes is his?
Suddenly, there he was, with the window down, waving to the crowd lining the route. People began to cheer. One hundred, two hundred feet. Then he was on the main road speeding along. A day’s worth of preparation for a thirty-second trip past the neighborhood.
Then life returned to normal. Within a few days, the paint began to fade from the road, the curbs got scuffed.
Once again, living in this country has helped me understand what it was like back in the day of Jesus. A king was a big deal, bigger than a president or a prime minister. Think of it. The king’s word was law. What he said, happened. There was no debate or discussion. Disloyalty was punished by death. Subjects owed the king a tribute. Loyalty, money, honor, reverence–this is what a king was owed .
And in this modern kingdom, you can be imprisoned for publishing disrespectful cartoons about the king, or for speculating about his health. Once a year, to commemorate his ascension to the throne, government officials publicly bow before him and renew their loyalty. He is not to be trifled with.
It’s easy in our democratic age, to minimize this aspect of God’s character, and to emphasize Jesus as our friend rather than our king. But the visit of the king to our neighborhood has caused me to reconsider what it means for the King of kings to be in charge of my life.
What deference do I want to show Him?
What tribute can I bring to Him?
How do I want to prepare the way for Him,
How can I make His entrance easy and honoring?
It seems to me that praise is a good place to start.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to Him a psalm of praise.
God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on His holy throne.
The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
He is greatly exalted.