Hail to the King - Law and Order
My loves, and others, is it not an absolutely beautiful day? Today, I will be continuing the blog/sermon series titled ‘Hail to the King’. In the starting post of the series, I asked the question, “Who is your king?” I said, “That which rules us defines us and our lives.” That which rules you is your king. Then, I detailed what it may look like when we allowed or chose the wrong things to rule us (and our minds) compared to a willful submission to the authority and rule of God, our true king. We are His citizens. We are under His authority. So, what does that mean?
Common perceptions of kingships and kingdoms are of the medieval monarchies in west Europe, with giant castles and surrounding homes across the land for the royal guard, knights, and citizens. Perhaps your perceptions turn to the kingships of Saul, David, and Solomon. Depending on the terrain and resources, ones kingdom or territory could be broad with homes and citizens spread out across many miles and multiple towns or condensed behind one large structure or wall. The primary responsibility of a king was to maintain order and peace in his kingdom. This was done by establishing and enforcing law, protecting the citizens and the kingdom’s resources, finding new resources, and making allegiances with neighboring kingdoms.
Let’s talk about the establishment of law, and obedience.
God is our king. The heavens and the earth are within His kingdom, His domain, His territory. We are His citizens. As our king, the Lord has established laws, commandments. We are to obey. Our peace and order are contingent upon our willingness to submit to God’s authority and obey Him. I will rephrase it, and say it again. Our internal peace and order are contingent upon our willful obedience to God. If we are willfully disobedient to God, there will be disorder and conflict within us; and we will cause disorder and conflict among others. God's law is designed to protect us and bring us peace.
Proverbs 3:1-2 ESV – My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Do you want internal peace? If yes, pray for willful obedience and obey God.
Sometimes we are disobedient out of ignorance, immaturity, or impulsivity. Sometimes God is speaking to us; but we can’t hear Him because of our own limitations, sin. Yet, the Lord knows our hearts and spirits. Many of us are washed clean by the blood of Jesus, saved by grace. We love God, but disobedience creeps out because we’re imperfect. We’re still being developed, still unfinished. Now, Jesus has given us the in-dwelling Spirit; so it will work through us. We can read God’s word, pray for counsel and support, and regularly commune in quiet time with the Lord. By doing this, we stay in alignment with Him. Through the Spirit, and our active love for the Lord, we will stay intentionally obedient to Him and have internal peace and order, in spite of the disorder of the fallen world.
Now, there is willful, intentional disobedience. That is when you disagree with, or deny, God. That is when you know, with certainty, that what you are doing is wrong; yet, you choose to do it anyway. You harden your heart to God. The Spirit is not in you, but has left you or never entered you. You are then a slave to the enemy, sin, rebellion. You choose conflict. You choose the opinions of others or yourself over what is right. You choose the works of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21). You revile God. You decide to take authority over your choices, defy His righteous commandment, instead of humbly acknowledging His wisdom.
In the Old Testament, you see story after story of man’s rebellion against God. It ends terribly for all of them. They did terrible things to themselves and others. They were godless people who did perverse and violent things. They worshiped false gods and were possessed by demons. War and greed became a byproduct of a lack of love and faith in God or a need of cleansing. It has consumed our world for millennia.
Those who do not love God cannot and do not obey God.
In the previous post, I said:
The most common ruler for many is the self. When ruled by ourselves, we determined what is right or wrong, who is right or wrong, what we want, what we can or should have. From the beginning until the end of the day, it is about us. We are loyal only to ourselves, and demand that others be loyal to us. We focus on ourselves. We represent ourselves. We defend ourselves. We judge ourselves and others. We wage war on others or ourselves (self-punishment). We work for ourselves. We treat others as we want to treat them. We make our own rules. Our lives are ruled by selfishness, narcissism, pride, greed, and a multitude of other unsavory things.
Willful disobedience begins with rebellion, a self-establishment of law or rule, instead of God’s. It comes when you look at what God wants you to do and you think, “Well, I don’t like that. I don’t agree. I want to do it this way, instead.” Or, “I agree with this and this, but that rule isn’t really convenient for me.” Or, “It’s okay; everyone else is doing it.” You might even think some of God’s laws are not practical or doable (like abstinence before marriage). That is not submission to God’s authority. That is choosing your way instead of His way. God’s law is God’s law. When you choose your way over His way, you intercede on His authority. You are saying your way is the correct way, which is wrong. You are saying your choice or belief is wiser or greater than the all-knowing, all-powerful, absolutely perfect God who created the universe. That choice or belief produces disorder. That disorder sows conflict. That conflict reaps suffering for yourself and others. And the Lord, who loves you, will take measures to end that suffering.
Proverbs 14:35 ESV – A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
The goal is to live intentionally, humbly, obediently. We are to examine our choices with what God says in the bible, and in our prayers and quiet time through the in-dwelling Spirit.
What does God say in the bible? Many things, but since I’m talking about law, let’s just look at God’s law in the Old Testament and New Testament.
In Exodus 20:1-17, the renowned Ten Commandments are established by God to Moses and the Israelites on Mount Sinai. They are then repeated in Deuteronomy 5. Please open your bible or go to the link, I’ll share a cropped/summarization of them here:
Exodus 20:3-17 ESV –
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them…
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God…
“Honor your father and your mother…
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.”
Afterward, in Exodus, He goes into greater detail about laws of alters, slaves, restitution, social justice, and the Sabbath. There is significant emphasis on the “Law of Moses” from Exodus and Leviticus onward to Deuteronomy. At Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is the greatest commandment:
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV – The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
In the New Testament, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:37-40 ESV
Jesus established a new commandment, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35 ESV
Here is the take away: If you want internal peace and order, love God and love one another. Love is both an emotion and action. Love God and others with your heart. Love God and others with action. That is how you remain obedient to God.
Long after the Law of Moses, Jesus clarified God’s law and lived it, perfectly, compassionately. In His perfection and sacrifice, those who believe in Him have been granted reprieve from condemnation under the law. In other words, our God and king has established a ruling that the price of sin, rebellion against God our king, is death. However, to spare everyone in His kingdom death, He spares those who accept His Son, the heir to the throne. His Son accepted all of our sin, died, and rose from death. All you have to do is kneel before Him and accept His sacrifice and authority. Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and King.
Now, until death and/or a new life in a refined and perfect body, we are still on Earth. We are still in our imperfect bodies. We are still pressured and surrounded by temptation and dysfunction. We must still have our daily prayer, communion, and reading of the bible to stay willfully obedient. We must still actively seek His Spirit to guide our lives so that we do not conform to the disobedient ways of a rebellious world.
If there is anything you should take away from this, and my three previous posts, it is that you should love God. LOVE GOD! That is the greatest commandment. In John 14:15-17 (ESV), Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” The gift of the in-dwelling Spirit! He follows it at John 14:21 (ESV), “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Again, he follows that at John 14:23-24, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.”
Earlier, I said, “Our peace and order are contingent upon our willingness to submit to God’s authority and obey Him.” I rephrased it, and said it again, “Our internal peace and order are contingent upon our willful obedience to God.”
Well, our internal peace and order are contingent upon the greatest commandment, the willful and active love of God. Through that love, we have submitted to His authority and obeyed Him. Through the love and pursuit of God we receive the Spirit. Through the Spirit there is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no other way to peace but through Jesus, and God the Father.
If you seek internal peace and order, love God. Pray to God the Father that you can love Him. Pray that He reach down and touch your heart with love, softens it, and opens your ear to His Word. Pray for forgiveness. Do not conceal any sin, but admit your sin to God. He will forgive you. Your prayer and admittance of sin, needing Him, will open the door to a new life. Thank Him for Jesus, who died for your sin. Thank Jesus! Praise Him! Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and be saved. Go to a church and get baptized. You will be baptized then by both water and Spirit.
Read the Word. For many, it is easier to start with the New Testament. Build a close connection with Jesus. Speak to the Father and Jesus daily. Your King’s door is always open. He wants your love. He wants your company. He wants you to have peace and order for your sake.
If you want to obey God, but worry you don’t know if you are or are not, pray, read the bible, and seek out the wisdom of someone spiritually mature and more aware of what the bible says.
To close, that which rules us defines us and our lives. Our king is God. Our king has the authority of establishing law. Obey Him. Love is the law of the land.
Christians, and others, love and obedience are the greatest ways to glorify and praise God. Glorify God with your tongue AND actions, obedience.
I pray the Spirit of the Lord compels all of us to come closer to God, to love and obey. Father, please press upon all of us the desire for internal peace and order through You, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Let us live our daily lives intentionally, honoring you as our King. May your will be done on Earth and in Heaven. Amen.
Hail to the King!