Last week the king came to our neighborhood. The first sign we had of it was when we noticed that the curbs had gotten a fresh coat of red and white stripes. Tall poles with large flags had been planted along the road too. Across the street, two men were painting a long white wall. When the king comes, things get spiffed up.
The next morning, several policemen took up posts along the road. Their job was to make sure no cars parked there. Later they kept pedestrians off the street too. When the king came, there would be no traffic problems, no disturbances.
People came out to watch.
Then they waited and waited and waited. For a long time, no cars came by. Then some vehicles drove 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 on a side street with the window down, waving to the crowd lining the route. People began to cheer.
Then his car turned on to the main road and sped away. A day’s worth of preparation was over in a thirty-second flash.
Life quickly returned to normal. The policemen left. Within a few hours the flags were taken down. Soon the paint on 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 .
In this modern kingdom, government officials publicly bow before the king and renew their loyalty every year. A person could be imprisoned for publishing disrespectful cartoons about the king, or for speculating about his health. He is not to be trifled with.
It’s easy in our democratic age to minimize the royal aspect of God’s character. We prefer to emphasize Jesus as our friend rather than our king. But the visit of the king to our neighborhood 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 will I prepare the way for Him?
How can I honor Him?
I think 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.