Yesterday, I started a series through Psalms and my plan is to go through the entire book, 1 Psalm at a time. You can read Psalm 2 here. In this Psalm, God is identified as the King of kings. He is the Ruler of the universe and has all authority in heaven and on earth. People are depicted in the psalm as trying to thwart God’s reign, but their efforts are a complete exercise in futility.
Because of the way our government is set up in America, I don’t know that we really relate to the idea of God as the King. Most of us are not huge fans of authority. We don’t like being told what to do. Even the way this country was founded probably contributes to this. We like to believe that we are in complete control of our own destiny. Nothing and no one can stand in our way and if we work hard enough, we can achieve anything. I’m not trying to say I’m not thankful for this country. I love the idea of manifest destiny and there is a lot about our cultural ideals that I really love. That being said, I do think we are at a disadvantage when it comes to the notion of authority.
It’s not terribly difficult for us to cozy up to the notion that God loves us and wants what’s best for us. We love sermons that talk about God wanting us to realize our full potential. They play into a lot of what we believe it means to be an American. Things tend to get a little uncomfortable however, when we start hearing about God having commands that pertain to us. When we hear that God isn’t just suggesting a financial plan, but rather commanding us to steward our finances in a certain way, we get a little on edge. When we hear that God’s word isn’t condoning our choices related to our sexuality, we’re not certain we’re on board. When we hear that God’s attitude towards gossip isn’t as lenient as we’d prefer, something rises up in us….”Who does God think he is? No one is going to control me. This is my life and I’ll do what I want with it. If God can help me in my plans, that’d be awesome….but if he doesn’t, I’ll get it done on my own.”
Whether we like it or not, the universe is not run by a democracy. The style of government we live under is a monarchy. There is an undisputed, completely sovereign and absolutely powerful King that sits on the only throne that really matters. This ruler is not some disinterested figurehead that just lets things play out the way they will. The Bible actually depicts God as being passionately involved in human affairs. He isn’t just cool with whatever, but has absolute definitions as to what is right and wrong.
It doesn’t really matter if we’re uncomfortable with this. We’re not being asked to follow him. His commands are not just suggestions that if followed, will lead to a better life. God does have our best interest at heart, but let’s not forget that he is not merely our big buddy up in the clouds. We live and breathe under the rule of a powerful King and we would all do well to learn what it means to submit to him at the core of who we are. Life will continue to not work for us until we learn this paradigm-altering lesson.