Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we continue to investigate “The Story”. We reached a point last week where God's people are divided. God sends them numerous folk to try and get them back on course. Our sermon from last Sunday “God's Messengers”can be found here.
Following a time of revolution in the United States, George Washington had the opportunity to become king. He declined. Maybe he recalled the murder of Charles I following the English Civil War. Maybe his eyes were on France and the outcome of the revolution taking place over there. Or maybe he was familiar with the warning of the prophet Samuel, who told the people of Israel, that having a king wasn't such a great idea.
The people of the newly independent colonies seemed to agree. In an article titled “Is America a Christian Nation?” professor of Constitutional Law, Carl Pearlston, writes; “In a 1774 report to King George, the Governor of Boston noted: "If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ." The pre-war Colonial Committees of Correspondence soon made this the American motto: "No King but King Jesus." This sentiment was carried over into the 1783 peace treaty with Great Britain ending that war, which begins "In the name of the most Holy and Undivided Trinity... * "
The story of God’s chosen people might have been very different had they adopted that same motto. But, despite Samuel's warning, they had wanted a king. Over the period of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah there had thirty-eight of them Only five of them were good. Of the others, the refrain constantly repeated throughout the Old Testament is “They did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
Prophets appeared exhorting the people to turn back to God. God spoke through one prophet in particular, Isaiah, to tell the people of Judah that they would be captured and deported to Babylon, but afterward God would bring them back home. The purpose? “Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. Then the whole human race will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:23).
In Isaiah 53 the prophet depicts the coming Messiah. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” (Isaiah 53: 2, 3). God did not want the people to miss the Messiah. But they did. And still do.
The United States would have developed along a different route had Washington agreed to be king. Maybe he sensed what many others didn’t. That when we displace God on the throne of our lives, the outcome will go horribly wrong. When we place God on the throne of our lives, we put ourselves in the best possible position for faithful discipleship.
Adopt the motto “No King but King Jesus” in your life. Now that's a revolution! Or if you are uncomfortable with that kingly imagery, simply adopt the earliest Christian confession, and try to live into the phrase “Jesus is Lord.”
We can do that in so many different ways. Which is a great excuse to post a solid gospel song from Vanessa Bell Armstrong (with a little help from guest soloist Marvin Winans) - “He Is Lord!”
Rev Adrian J. Pratt B.D.
Note: The blog is on vacation for a couple of weeks We'll be back :-)