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

And So It Ends

(This is a re-post of a devotional I wrote on Jan. 1, 2020. It is interesting to read this with the eyes of experience. It was impossible to know what 2020 would bring…did I hit the mark? Did I miss it entirely?

Notice that in offering examples of “things that distract us from God” I mentioned Netflix and too much screen time. I now find that HILARIOUS. Netflix may have just saved our sanity in this pandemic, and “too much screen time” was the only way to go to work/go to school/attend staff meetings/go to church/keep in touch with your friends and family. There are truths in this writing and the scripture is just as relevant and fresh today, but I am obviously not a prophet!! Enjoy….)

According to the American Optometric Association, 20/20 vision is defined as:

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.

Today we begin a new year. A decade has closed, a year has been added, and a new beginning is offered. Looking back at the year just ended, what do you see? Joy, regret, growth, retreat, inertia, advancement…what did the last 12 months bring into your life?

Now looking at the next 12 months, what do you HOPE to see? And no matter what those hopes are, do you see God being active in your year? Does your vision for your life match HIS vision for your life?

One of my favorite scriptures on vision comes from Isaiah, Chapter 6:

Isaiah 6

6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 

Here is the quick take-away: King Uzziah was a great and powerful king. Isaiah served as his temple priest. If you look closely at the first sentence, you’ll notice that Isaiah says, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I SAW the Lord.” Kinda’ makes you wonder if the charismatic and powerful earthly king was a distraction. It took his death for Isaiah to see the Lord, who obviously was there all the time. Could it be?

In a smaller sense, we are all guilty of putting things on the throne that distract us from seeing the Lord. Indulgences of every kind, gossip-spinning, hours of Netflix, too much screen time, grudge-holding, over-indulging our children, vanity, laziness…fill in your own blank.

2020 is an opportunity to capture God’s 20/20 vision for your life. We get a do-over.

What earthly “king” is keeping you from God’s vision for your life?

What have you put on the throne in place of God?

What are you worshipping that has become a replacement for God?

Why are you so distracted?

When we clear out all the junk, vision becomes clarified. When we sweep away the debris of our past, we can capture God’s vision for our future. Putting God back on the throne of our hearts will enable us to enter the new year with hope, peace, joy, and love.

May 2020 bring us 20/20.

(Editor’s note: And may 2021 bring us healing, in the name of Jesus!)

A New Year Dawns by Michelle Robertson