I Just Can’t Wait to be King

I’m gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware!
I’m gonna be the main event, like no king was before!
I’m brushing up on looking down, I’m working on my ROAR…
Oh, I just can’t wait to be king!”

I’m sure many of you recognize the lyrics to Simba’s theme song in the Disney production of “The Lion King.” This is the story of a young lion cub who desperately wants the fame, fortune, and attention that comes with being the king. Simba succumbed to the temptation of wanting praise and adoration for his bravery, and the seduction of knowing what was in the forbidden land. This information would give him superior knowledge over all of the animal kingdom, and he wanted that power. Simba’s ambitions set a series of events in motion that resulted in his father’s death and the young cub’s exile from Pride Rock. (Don’t miss the double meaning of Pride Rock: A pride is a collection of lions, and it was pride that led to Simba’s downfall.) Eventually Simba returned after a long period of humility and isolation that resulted in a realistic understanding of what kingship entails. He became a good king, and the story has a happy ending.

In our Scripture today, King Solomon’s story had a similar trajectory, but without the happy ending. Like Simba, Solomon succumbed to his temptations, ego, and ambitions. Pride was also a factor here, as were the seductions of wine, women, and song that attended a king of his stature. Solomon’s fall from his own “Pride Rock” was dramatic and devastating, resulting in the invasion of stronger armies, the fracturing of the Kingdom of Israel, and ultimately their exile from the very land God had given them. 

1 Kings 11:4-13 (Common English Bible)

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods. He wasn’t committed to the Lord his God with all his heart as was his father David.Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s eyes and wasn’t completely devoted to the Lord like his father David. On the hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a shrine to Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and to Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. 

The Lord grew angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from being with the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. 10 The Lord had commanded Solomon about this very thing, that he shouldn’t follow other gods. But Solomon didn’t do what the Lord commanded. 11 The Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done all this instead of keeping my covenant and my laws that I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 

Clearly, God ain’t playin’. It had always been the plan that God would reign as king, and the people of Israel would live together in peace and harmony. But after a series of prophets and judges overseeing them, they grew restless, hostile, and jealous. Finally they demanded that the prophet Samuel give them a king ”so that they could be like the other nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5). These stories remind us that we reject God at our own peril. Was there ever a time in your life when you rejected God? I bet it didn’t go well.

Even still, God’s amazing grace, his unfathomable mercy, and his unconditional forgiveness are offered to Solomon:

12 Even so, on account of your father David, I won’t do it during your lifetime. I will tear the kingdom out of your son’s hands. 13 Moreover, I won’t tear away the entire kingdom. I will give one tribe to your son on account of my servant David and on account of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

God preserves a part of Israel and the lineage of David in spite of Solomon’s sin, and that lineage led us to Jesus.

Christmas is a time to consider kings and kingship. Who is your king? What is on your throne? Have the foreign idols of celebrity worship, the blind following of popular politicians, hours upon hours of screen time, and reading more social media than your Bible become the things that you worship?

We are called back to the manger to worship the King of Kings, who is the Lord of Lords. Jesus is our one and only king, and he deserves our complete attention and obedience. To do anything less will result in danger and exile.

It is never too late to turn your heart back to God. Only then will you receive the blessings of the Prince of Peace.

King and Queen of the Animal Kingdom by Mark Poblete

Oh, I Just Can’t Wait to be King

The Disney classic The Lion King tells the story of young, ambitious Simba, a lion cub who dreams big dreams. Simba foolishly thinks that when he becomes the king of the land, it will be the answer to his problems. Becoming the king will be the fulfillment of all of his young, ego-driven potential:

I’m gonna be a mighty king, so enemies beware
I’m gonna be the main event like no king was before
I’m brushing up on looking down, I’m working on my roar!

Oh I just can’t WAIT to be king!

The reality is much different, of course. Being the king of ornery animals who are stubborn, duplicitous, uncaring, and in some cases downright EVIL is not the majestic existence he dreamt of as a young lion. Simba quickly learns that kingship is filled with tragedy and sober responsibility.

In 1 Samuel 8, a major change happened in the way Israel was run. Up to this point, they had been ruled by wise judges and prophets who leaned very heavily on God for instructions on how to lead and manage the people. But then came the time when the prophet Samuel was about to die, and his sons proved to be of no use to the nation. In addition, the other nations had KINGS. This turned the heads of the Israelites. Why can’t we have a king? they ask.

1 Samuel 8 (Common English Bible)

So all the Israelite elders got together and went to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “Listen. You are old now, and your sons don’t follow in your footsteps. So appoint us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” It seemed very bad to Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” so he prayed to the Lord.

The Lord answered Samuel, “Comply with the people’s request—everything they ask of you—because they haven’t rejected you. No, they’ve rejected me as king over them. They are doing to you only what they’ve been doing to me from the day I brought them out of Egypt to this very minute, abandoning me and worshipping other gods.

This is a heartbreaking moment. If you remember your Old Testament history, what follows next is the ultimate downfall of Israel. The fact that these people, who had been loved, nurtured, and saved by God, are now rejecting him is unfathomable.

Or is it? Do we ever reject God in favor of a “king” we have put in God’s place of authority?

So comply with their request, but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 He will use them as his commanders of troops of one thousand and troops of fifty, or to do his plowing and his harvesting, or to make his weapons or parts for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, or bakers. 

14 He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will give one-tenth of your grain and your vineyards to his officials and servants. 16 He will take your male and female servants, along with the best of your cattle and donkeys, and make them do his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and then you yourselves will become his slaves!

18 When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose for yourselves, but on that day the Lord won’t answer you.”

God offered the Israelites a cautionary tale about the potential disruption and corruption earthy kings can bring to the nation. They ignored his warnings and pushed for a king instead…much to their peril.

Have we learned this yet?

The invitation today is to refocus our hearts on worshipping the true king, Jesus, and allow him to reign over our lives in every way. Earthly leaders will ALWAYS let their people down. Who is your King?

Look up, and you will see the Lord seated on the throne, right where he belongs.

Queen of the Boat