|Posted by HeartbeatAT Team on November 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM|
Musings on Current Events
Written January 2011
... and in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44)
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: ... Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 5:2; 6:9-10)
Like so many, I have been mesmerized by the current global scene in the Mideast and the North African upheaval coming through our televisions, only to be driven to the words of the prophet Daniel, written above. At every turn the Bible reminds us that it is the lot of the kingdoms of this world to vie for power. From the squabbles of our little private kingdoms to the clashes of nation-kingdoms, we are forcefully reminded that we have been driven out of Eden. One need look no further than 4,000 years of human history for empirical evidence.
Daniel finds himself exiled and under captivity in Babylon, serving in the court of king Nebuchadnezzar, when he is ushered in at the king's request to interpret a dream. He is to not only interpret the dream but, without prior knowledge, to disclose the content of the dream as proof of his authenticity. Daniel's words still speak to us, presenting us with a dual certainty this side of Eden: 1) the clash of earthly kingdoms and, 2) the certain triumph of God's Kingdom. The bad news of earth's kingdoms seals the good news of God's Kingdom. The intensification of war signals God's coming Kingdom. The greater the surrounding darkness, the more brilliant the dawning of God's Kingdom shall be.
Jesus stood on the prophet Daniel's dual certainty when He urged His disciples to pray to their Heavenly Father, "Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). The kingdoms of this world will rage but God's Kingdom is made manifest in its midst. So it is that the British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge remarks that "Jesus' good news, then, was that the kingdom of God had come, and that he, Jesus, was its herald and expounder to men. More than that, in some special, mysterious way, he was the kingdom."
This paradoxical truth is fleshed out before us on a familiar hillside, as an angel appears to shepherds declaring: "for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." At this announcement the angels broke out in song, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:11-12, 14). The manger is the advent and in-breaking of God's peaceable Kingdom into human history, made incarnate in His Son. The herald of the Kingdom is also its King. But we have chosen to be kings in our own kingdoms and crucified the Kingdom of God.
This ghastly reality is what the Bible calls the Gospel: Good news. How can this be? The crucified Kingdom, mangled on a cross, opens our eyes to the true condition of our little kingdoms. They are illegitimate kingdoms, rebel states. The King of Kings appeals to rebels, in the strongest terms possible, to be brought under His peaceable rule - not by the shedding of their blood, but by the shedding of His own. God has appointed that rebels such as I be reconciled to Him by the crushing of His Son's Crown.
We do not see our kingship and kingdoms as usurping God until we see the King of Heaven stripped of His robes and majesty hanging like a common criminal. We were created for allegiance to a kingdom, and we cannot have both ours and His. We need to let the prophet Daniel remind us that God will bring His appeal to an end. What He came offering peaceably, He will reclaim by the authority of His own hand:"...it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever" (Dan 2:44)
How then shall we seek the Kingdom of God? ...by seeking its Herald.
Ponder as you hike,
Categories: Sherlock's Blog