It’s good to be the king

Scriptures: 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5; Psalm 150; Mark 11:7-11

It’s good to be the king. Mel Brooks was a comedic writer. He wrote a lot of movies and things like that, and they tend to be crass, but they were funny. At one point he was interviewed and he said that he didn’t write things like Blazing Saddles and History of the World: Part I for critics and artists and intelligentsia. He wrote for the guy down at the pub drinking a beer.

In one of those, History of the World: Part I, they have the French Revolution, and there is a character played by Mel Brooks that is the king, King Louis. He usually does things that are abuses of power, and then, because he thinks he’s going to get away with it, says, “It’s good to be the king.”

He shows us, in many ways, the way we live our own lives. Israel struggled with who was king. We struggle with who is king. You see, for the Jews, God was supposed to be the king. He was sovereign. He was the creator of the universe, the one who founded the nation of Israel.

But, like the rest of the world, they wanted a king. So God gave them Saul. And that didn’t work out so well. But then He gave them David, who was anointed by God Himself, and David was very different from Saul, because David recognized who was really king.

This doesn’t mean he didn’t have his moments where he also said, “It’s good to be the king.” I mean, just look at David and Bathsheba, and that story. He was as sinful as any of us, no saint. But he recognized who God was.

As we look at the Scripture readings for today, I think we need to begin to recognize, in our own hearts and in our own lives, who is king. Are we really, in the end, trying to do things our way? We want things our way. We like things the way we like them. And therefore, “it’s good to be the king” of your own life.

Or do we recognize God as the sovereign Lord of our lives?

You could see that the Jews understood that God was to be sovereign. David’s first act, if you will, was to try to bring the ark into Jerusalem, once he was crowned king of all of Judah and Israel. His first act was to try to bring God’s glory, God’s presence, into the capital city.

He celebrated. He took thirty thousand men. That’s a lot! You’d almost think they’re expecting a battle. He brought them to celebrate, as they brought the ark toward Jerusalem. Now, it didn’t make it that time around, and we’ve discussed that before in a previous sermon. But his intentions were right. His heart was right.

The psalmist, too, understood who God was, because he talked about praising the Lord. He understands that God is the sovereign among us, the one we are supposed to be holding our allegiance to.

We’ve lost track of it so often. The Israelites lost track of it. We lose track of it in our own lives. The church has lost track of who is God, who is King.

You know, the whole idea of the Reformation was because the Church had begun to think of itself as the king. Not only did they rule in the religious life, but they also were ruling in the secular life. They had thought that they were so powerful that they were even offering things like the sale of indulgences.

Now, for those of you that may not know, what that meant was you went to a priest, and you paid him some money, and he gave you a writ of forgiveness on paper, that whatever sin you’re committing, or going to commit, you’re forgiven. You get your get-out-of-jail-free card.

Martin Luther and some of the other Reformers saw the need for a change that recognized who’s the one that’s supposed to be in the church. The leader that is not being led by God can’t be trusted. Jesus owns the church, thus He is the leader of the church. The church will only fulfill its mission when its leadership is following His leadership.

David was a great leader because he was a great follower. You’re going to be electing some new ruling elders today, new officers and new deacons. The ruling elders in particular are considered to be spiritual leaders, not just administrators.

They are to be people that, by there very definition, rule. But they’re not to be a king. They’re constantly seeking to serve, and always place their vision, what they believe God is calling us to do as a church, at the forefront.

We need to be there to support them in that, and also to remind them of that, who it is that we follow. We need to recognize our own parts as well, in our lives, as we witness by how we live our lives, as we share the Gospel with others, through the way we act toward them, as people see who really rules in our lives today.

No matter what position of authority you may have, whether it be ruling elder, whether it be the owner of a business, whether it be pastor of a church, whether it be president of the United States, or, as in Saudi Arabia, a real king, you are there by sufferance from God. He is the one who ultimately has the authority.

We need to recognize the authority of God, and we should do that in a number of different ways. We recognize the authority of God in our accomplishments as we’re thankful.

David was showing that. I mean, he could have said, “Look at what I did. I took a country that was fragmented by civil war, and I won. I went and took over the other half, and I won. Now I’m king over both halves. I’m a pretty cool guy. I’m powerful.”

But he didn’t. He recognized God as being behind it all. Even with his accomplishments, he was thankful to God, so he was offering praise and thanksgiving, as he brought the ark toward Jerusalem.

You recognize God’s authority as you have a humble attitude, and you remember that while it’s right to be proud of accomplishments, in a way that a farmer can be proud of crops that have come up, or a craftsman can be proud of some object he has made – I know we have some wood craftsmen here that are just incredible.

The gift came from God, and ultimately we are His servants, even as we use our gifts. So we humble ourselves.

You recognize God’s authority through your actions, as you declare and understand your dependency on God. Again, too often it’s too easy for us to think that it’s because of us. And to be honest, that kind of attitude has been inculcated in us from the beginning.

Have you ever heard the saying “Pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you”? Nobody has heard that? I grew up with that. It’s meant to be an encouragement of a work ethic, to push everything you can, but too often it leads to an attitude of self-sufficiency that refuses to recognize God.

I can promise you that if you pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you and then you claim that it all depends on you, then God is immediately going to give you something you can’t do. Not by yourself. Because He’ll remind you, who you depend on.

God is the source of blessings, and is the source of our gifts and the source of our authority. He is the one whom we should recognize. The authority of God must be respected.

Some of the evidences of people who respect God’s authority and greatness are these. First, we do that as we worship Him. Here, where we are, in the morning, singing praises, as we did in the first song, “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear his voice.”

We respect the authority of God as we obey Him and the commandments that He has given us, in His Word. And we respect His authority as we do things that are pleasing to Him. The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism says “What is the chief end of mankind?” And the answer is…?

To glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Yes, I see some of you are saying it – that’s great. We respect the authority of God as we glorify Him, as we please Him. And then, the side effect of that, if you will, is that we get to enjoy Him. We get deeper in our love and our understanding.

As the authority of God is regarded in our life, with our decisions and our actions and our accomplishments and our attitude, you can expect some things to happen. First of all, you’re going to experience an uncommon burden for God.

What that means is, as we move from the attitude of “it’s good to be the king” to “it’s good that He’s the king,” we begin to place His call, His ideas, His demands first. We have a burden for God. We don’t want to dishonor Him with what we do.

It may restrict some of what we do. It may guide some of what we do. And it may not be very popular in today’s culture and world. But we do it because we understand that the ultimate authority, the ultimate king, is God.

You will also, then, experience a unique fellowship with God, as your relationship with Him grows and deepens, as you come to understand His mind better, and His will, and the Holy Spirit empowers you.

And then thirdly, you begin to experience unbelievable blessings from God. Blessings from God. As you see God’s hand in your lives and you can celebrate where He has worked in your lives. And it’s not only the obvious good things.

At Morning Sun today, there was a testimony from someone who is in the congregation, about someone whom we’re praying for at that church, who has terminal cancer, basically. She had taken two friends of hers, who aren’t believers, to War Room – it’s a great movie. They talked with her and they asked questions, and at the end of it, her daughter gave them a Bible.

I think back to my own mother, when she died of colon cancer. She said she touched more people in the eighteen months that she had cancer than she had in the previous eighteen years. Because the understanding of her situation made her fearless for God. So she had great blessings, even in that time of pain and trial.

You will experience, yourself, unbelievable blessings from God, as you regard the authority of God in your life. And hopefully, as a church, we experience that as well, and we gain a renewal of purpose, and a renewal of mission, and a renewal of the common thread that weaves us together.

Because the common thread that should be weaving us together is the power and love of God, as shown in Jesus Christ. Then we work together to do witness to that, and we give praise and glory to Him, who is our king.

Next week is All Saints Day, and we’re going to celebrate those who have gone before, we’re going to remember those who have gone before, as we have Reformation Sunday today and we celebrate the birth of the Protestant church and a new direction and new understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God, in a personal way.

So my challenge to you this week is that you would examine yourselves and your own life and your own service, and you would recognize God’s authority, with love for His blessings, you have a burden for Him, and that you would seek ways to serve him.

Set aside your own desires. Set aside your own likes and dislikes. Set aside those things that may give you gratification, for the deeper satisfaction of knowing that you are doing what God has called you to do.

I believe that as each of us does this, and as we do this as a church, then we will begin to experience revival, and we will have a new lease on life, that only comes from God. And may He get the praise and the glory for the great things He has done.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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