O Worship the King

O Worship the King

What images and feelings does the word King conjure up in your mind? There may be a wide variety of answers, depending on whether one is a history buff, or fan of fantasy literature, films, or gaming, or if someone has ever met or lived under the rule of a king. One thing is for certain, the vast majority of us in the US have little or no direct experiential knowledge of what it means to live under the authority of a sovereign kingship, so much of what comes to our minds on this topic are conjecture and imagination.

In many ways this is a blessing, because historically most of the kings (or the equivalent, whatever they are called) do not have a fantastic track record for doing right by their subjects. In the US, we spend a lot of time criticizing our leaders, and voting them out, if we’re really dissatisfied. Imagine living under a kingdom where such talk would get the offender prison or death. We need only think about life in North Korea to give us a glimpse of what living under a sovereign despot is like. In our current culture it seems that laws are rather fickly enforced, and many people thumb their noses at laws, seeing how far the law will stretch before they’ll break it. But imagine what it would be like to live under someone whose sovereign edicts needed no representatives of the people, no consulting with other counselors, no checks and balances, and can change on a whim. It makes us want to bless our Founding Fathers for getting us out from under the framework of kingship.

The downside to never having experienced living under a sovereign ruler is that we do not understand well the Kingship of our God, and the necessity to respect, honor and obey Him fully. We don’t really fathom the importance of calling Him, Lord. Here is a King for whom there can be no criticism, because He is perfect (yet, in ignorance and arrogance, we still complain and even accuse Him). Here is a King whose word is intended to be fully obeyed, yet we too often rebelliously choose our own ways over His. Here is a King who has the power to created and sustain the Universe, yet we prefer to work in our feeble ineptitude rather than turn to and rely on Him. As Creator and Almighty, He has every right to all the authority in Heaven and on Earth, and yet daily we challenge Him for authority in our lives.

Jesus said, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say?” and, “Many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but I will say, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’” In part, the reason behind these terrible scenes is the fact that we have not understood the true impact of the name LORD. The use of the all-caps LORD is meant to indicate Sovereign God; it is the name used for Yahweh, so every power and honor associated with Yahweh is bound up in the name LORD. He is Sovereign and Almighty. He has all the rights to our lives, to order them, to use us as He sees fit. As much as our own prideful sense of self-determination chafes at that truth, that is the degree to which we have yet to come to acknowledge, in the core of our being, that He is LORD and King of our lives.

Jesus, although He is Lord, perfectly demonstrated to us in His humanity what it looked like for man to live in submission to the Kingship of God. He fully submitted Himself to the Father, depending on Him willingly, joyfully, and in every way, even to the point of death. He is our example of how to fully trust in the sovereign and good Kingship of God.

This Lordship and Kingship is not a case of us cowering under the heel of a despot just because he is big enough to impose his will. No! As Jesus demonstrated, it is a response of loving obedience to a loving, affectionate, and good God and Father. Our submission to our Lord and King is an acknowledgement of our trust in His character—that we believe He is good and loving in all He does, and all He brings into our lives, that He is almighty in all He determines to accomplish, and that He is holy, righteous in just in all His ways. His perfect love drives out all our fear that could result from His sovereignty and power over us. Our submission to our King is actually the path to freedom, peace and joy!

Whenever we confront the words Lord or King in our Scripture reading, prayers, or worship music, it should be a reminder to check our hearts to see if we are truly exalting Him as sovereign over us, and reorienting ourselves if He shows us places where we are not submitting fully to His Lordship. These words should also present us with opportunities to exalt Him in our minds and hearts to the place of honor and glory that He deserves—to see Him as high and lifted up in a way that no other person or being could ever be.

Reminding ourselves that He is King is not intended to make us chafe at our submission, but to be ever more reassured that a wise, good, just, faithful, loving, almighty, glorious, Sovereign King is on the throne of our lives and this world, and to give us a security we could never know under the rule of self or any other ruler. O, let us worship the King!