Early on in their marriage, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were crossing the Strait of Georgia to reach Vancouver Island on the western coast of Canada. The weather was a bit rough and the boat was rocking violent. Just as a young petty officer arrived in the royal suite, the ship lurched and the tray of tea cakes he was holding fell to the floor. Surprisingly, Philip jumped onto his hands and knees and helped pick them up. After grabbing a handful of cakes, he returned to his chair, turned to his wife the queen and playfully remarked, “I’ve got mine- yours are still on the floor.”
Later, Prince Philip was visiting an Australian University where he was met a couple who were introduced to him as “Mr. & Dr. Robinson”. The man explained, “My wife is a doctor. She’s much more important than me.” Prince Philip nodded and sympathetically replied, “We have that trouble in our family, too.”
Today, we continue our current sermon series- The Psizzlin’ Psummer Psalm Psermon Pseries- taking a good, hard look at the Old Testament Book of Psalms. This book is a collection of religious poems set to music. And in these 150 Psalms, every human emotion, every circumstance of daily life are captured. This 11-week series is carrying us through the rest of the summer…AND through the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows of life. Today we take a look at who we are actually talking about when we say: Here is Our King.
1Timothy 6:12-16 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, Who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, Who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in His own time- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who alone is immortal and Who lives in unapproachable light, Whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.
Possessions of the powerful or famous – no matter how common those possessions might be- can be seen as extremely valuable…some would say priceless. Several years ago, Napoleon Bonaparte’s toothbrush sold for $21,000. His toothbrush! His old, dirty, used TOOTHBRUSH!
Adolph Hitler’s car sold for over $150,000. People have paid extraordinary amounts of money for Winton’s Churchill’s desk, C.S. Lewis’s pipe, sheet music handwritten by Beethoven, and a house once owned by Ernest Hemmingway. Jackie Kennedy’s FAKE pearls sold for almost a quarter of a million dollars and JFK’s wooden golf clubs went for nearly THREE quarters of a million! All these things were sold at many times their intrinsic value. These items didn’t demand great sums of money because they had great intrinsic value. Instead, they demanded those prices simply because they once belonged to someone famous.
Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll. Garth Brooks is the King of Country. Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. Harry Belafonte is the King of Calypso. Sam Cooke is the King of Soul. Bob Dylan is the King of Folk. Benny Goodman is the King of Swing. Scott Joplin is the King of Ragtime. BB King is THE King of the Blues. Kenny Loggins is the King of the Movie Soundtrack. Luciano Pavarotti is the King of the High C. Johnny Carson is the King of Late Night. And LeBron James is, apparently, simply…The King! (Just ask him!) Lots of people claim the title of King, but who IS? Who’s at the top of YOUR list? Today’s Psalm focuses on that very question- who is YOUR king?
Psalm 93 The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea– the Lord on high is mighty. Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns Your house for endless days.
The Sunday School teacher said to her students, “We’ve been learning about how powerful the kings and queens were in Biblical times. But there is a higher power than a king or a queen. Who can tell me what it is?” The kids thought about it for a few moments, then little Tommy blurted out, “I know what’s higher than a King or a Queen! An Ace!”
In the Old Testament Book of 1Samuel 12:12, the people told God, “We want a king to rule us.” What they REALLY meant was that they wanted a man, a person- someone they could see and touch, who could sit on an earthly throne, wear a crown and tell them what to do. They wanted to be…like everybody else. So…God gave them a king. He gave them Saul, David, Solomon and many others. Some were good. Many were bad. In the end, it took defeat at the hands of foreign kings and being hauled off to a strange land in exile for them to understand that they HAD a King…all along. In exile, they no longer had an earthly king, so God became their king again. They were no longer ruled over by human kings, but by God.
Psalm 93 tells us one important thing: no matter what happens, God is still in charge. He is still King over everything! We need to remember that- especially when bad things happen. Let’s take a second and walk through Psalm 93.
Verse 1- The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
God reigned and is robed in majesty. In other words, He wears his authority and power like we wear our clothes. Those attributes are out there where everyone can see them. And nobody can take His power and authority away from Him- it will always be there. He will always be there. He will always make our souls safe.
Verse 2- Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity.
This verse tells us that God not only IS King- He has BEEN King since before time.
Verse 3- The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
This verse suggests that the waters of life get higher and higher … until they threaten to drown us! The pounding waves of life are hard to overcome.
Verse 4- Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea– the Lord on high is mighty.
This verse says that, while the powers of this earth, the powers of life might threaten to overtake us…God is stronger. He is mighty.
Verse 5- Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns Your house for endless days.
The statutes of God- His rules- are in the Bible. They’re not hard to find and they’re not hard to understand. But they ARE hard to live out day to day! We’re told that holiness adorns His house forever. In the Ancient Near eastern world, the house of God was traditionally seen as the temple in Jerusalem. When the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, they also destroyed the temple. But, after the Israelites returned from exile, they re-built God’s house. And since WE became the house of God when Jesus showed up at the beginning of the New Testament, then we are now the place God dwells forever.
God wanted us to live in a kingdom, to be sure- HIS kingdom. But what does it look like when we live in His kingdom? First of all, it means that we live with an awareness that His kingdom really exists. Many people live their lives as though this earthly, visible world is the only one there is. They seem to have no awareness that we’re surrounded by another world which is more real than this one will ever be. Repentance is the way we enter the kingdom of God. Once that happens, then His kingdom lives inside of us.
Luke 1:31-33 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.
Jesus came to fully establish God’s kingdom on the earth. His kingdom became “darn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” once He proved that the grave could not keep Him, that death could not hold Him. In that act, He showed, once and for all, His victory over sin and death.
Let me assure you- God’s kingdom is NOT in trouble- never has been never will be. We can’t make it stronger and, likewise, we can’t throw a stick in the spokes. We DO, however, have an invitation to be a full-bore, pedal to the metal part of it- an invitation that we have every bit of free will to turn down if we so choose. But if we DO refuse His offer…the only one we hurt is ourselves.
It’s important that we have an awareness of God’s kingdom. But it is JUST as important that we recognize that, for it to have any real impact in our lives, God’s kingdom needs to be…within us. The people of the Ancient Near Eastern world were looking for God’s kingdom to come in a huge, outward, visible display of overwhelming power. They thought God would throw out the foreign oppressors who occupied Israel and usher in a new age of peace- one that ALL would see. But God’s kingdom is, in fact, a complete 180 from what most people think. It’s NOT turning a right-side up world upside-down. Instead, it is turning an upside-down world…right-side up. There won’t be any stereotypical outward display of power and success. There won’t be any overt military victory or political coup. God’s kingdom is an interior kingdom, a kingdom of the heart.
He is changing the world by changing us. C. S. Lewis said, “God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself. He is beginning, so to speak, to ‘inject’ His kind of life and thought. . . into you; beginning to turn the tin soldier into a live man. The part of you that does not like it is the part that is still tin.”
God’s kingdom is subversive. Let me say that again- God’s kingdom is subversive- revolutionary and, frankly, treasonous in some circles. If we commit to being a part of the kingdom of God, we agree to be a part of a subversive, countercultural movement. As members of the kingdom of God, we live in a kingdom that runs parallel to the kingdom of the world, the kingdom of evil. And like the two sides of a train track, these two kingdoms run side by side…and they are in complete conflict. No matter how trite or hackneyed it may sound, we are engaged in a spiritual battle, with weapons like faith, prayer, righteousness and joy in our arsenal.
When we submit to God’s kingdom, God changes us. And AS He changes us…He changes the world. As things start changing inside of us, they also start to change around us. We start influencing the world. We start connecting more and more people to Jesus Christ. We start robbing the devil of his power. It’s more than just a subversive movement- it’s a full-blown Divine Conspiracy!
The fascinating thing about God’s kingdom is that, to an awful lot of people, it appears to be somewhere firmly lodged between little and nothing. But the truth is that God’s kingdom has tremendous power to influence, to change and to grow. It’s the seed in the crack of the sidewalk that fights its way through whatever stands in its way, fighting to break through to the sunlight. And as we all know, that tiny little seed eventually fractures and lifts the concrete. God’s kingdom does its best work while hidden and unseen. The tiny seed is hidden underground, but when God puts his life in it, it becomes a great tree. God works silently and in hidden ways, but what he is doing, quietly, is conquering the world.
We look at what goes on in the world and we think, “Why even bother?” But God is not beaten and discouraged. Instead, He is full of irrepressible joy…He IS irrepressible joy…and He wants nothing more than to share that joy with us. Your King hears you when you call His name. He supplies your needs. He helps you in times of need. He loves you and watches over you. You are the apple of His eye. He will never leave you or forsake you.
If we deny God and turn away from His power and authority, we will always…ALWAYS… find ourselves dominated by outside influences- influences that do NOT have our best interests at heart. We need to recognize and embrace God’s Kingship- His power and authority. We need to reflect that commitment in our marriages, in our parenting, in our jobs, in our church and in our witness to others about God’s glory!!
In their book Resident Aliens, authors Stan Hauerwas and Will Willimon talk about the fact that, sometime between 1960 and 1980, an old, inadequately conceived world ended, and a fresh, new world began. For them, the transition happened VERY specifically on a Sunday evening in 1963. That day, the Fox Movie Theater in Greenville, South Carolina, in defiance of South Carolina’s time-honored blue laws, opened on Sunday. Seven boys, including the authors, made a pact to enter the front door of their church…so they could be seen…then quietly slip out the back door of the church and head over to join John Wayne at the Fox Theater. That evening, and others like it, has come to represent a watershed in the history of Christendom. On that night, the Western world served notice that it would no longer be a prop for the church. There would be no more free passes for the church, no more free rides. The Fox Theater went head to head with the church over who would provide the world view for the youth of the country. And the Fox Theater won the opening skirmish. Those parents had never been forced to worry about whether their kids would grow up Christian. The church was the only show in town. Church, home and state formed a consortium, working together to instill Christian values. Most people believed that and lived their lives around that notion. But now, few readily believe it today. All sorts of Christians are waking up to the realization that it this no longer ‘our world’- if it ever was to begin with. It seems as if we are no longer a Christian nation- one nation under God and all. And for many, we are not only a non-Christian culture- we have become an anti-Christian culture. So what do WE do…us Christians…what do we do with the fact that we live in a world that has, in large part, abandoned God? What do we do when we realize that we are living in a completely different world than many of the people around us?
We need to turn away from the kingdoms of the world and fully commit our lives, and the lives of those dearest to us, to the eternal power of God’s kingdom. We need ask God to come fully into our heart and rule over our lives and our families with His spirit of love. We need to draw a line in the sand and let the devil, who tries SO hard to rule over the world…and us…through fear and manipulation, let him know that we will not be dominated by flesh or foe. He has NO stand in our lives and we will NOT be moved. We are NOT subject of the prince of darkness. We are subject of the King of peace!
Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!
Tomorrow- The New Norm