The Freedom of His Rule
By nature, we believe we have the right to rule our own lives. We think that nobody has the authority to tell us what to do or to rule over us. We will decide for ourselves, define who we are, and mold our own future. Yet this is a dreadful path, and it leads only to despair. For when we look within, however much we have been told to think positively and to believe in ourselves, we are still confronted by our need, our failure, our frailty, and our inadequacy. And when we look without, we see a divided culture and flawed institutions. To what, then, should we look?
The Old Testament records Israel’s repeated rebellion against God’s rule. In an attempt to look just like the nations around them, the Israelites demanded an earthly king (1 Samuel 8:5). Tragically, all of Israel’s kings eventually crumbled to dust: the mighty Saul, the great David, and the wise Solomon all failed politically, morally, and religiously. Surely, the people in the streets were making the same complaints that we hear today: “This is not what we were led to expect when this person became our leader! There must be someone better than this!”
Indeed, there is someone better. Jesus, Son of Man and Son of God, is the Creator, Sustainer, and King of the universe: “For by him all things were created …. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). He is the King who will perfectly fulfill the demands of the role: “In his days … the righteous flourish, and peace abound[s]” (Psalm 72:7); He will deliver the needy, the poor, and the helpless (v 12-13); all nations will serve Him, and “the whole earth” will “be filled with his glory!” (v 19).
As question 26 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism explains, Jesus carries out His kingly office “in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.” He comes to reign over us in such a way that we find real freedom in giving up our autonomy and real rest in quitting from our efforts to make our own future. “Come to me,” He says. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
Jesus is the resurrected and ascended King. His claim on us is total, and our response is all or it is nothing. We must decide whether Christ’s right to rule and reign over the universe will extend to every facet of our lives as well. Only then will we find Him to be “our shield and defender.” It is as you bow the knee to Him in those areas of life where you find it hardest, trusting that His rule is better than yours, that you give Him the place that He deserves and find the freedom and the future that you long for.
Give the King Your Justice
1Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
2May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
3Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
4May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
5May they fear you1 while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
6May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
7In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
8May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River2 to the ends of the earth!
9May desert tribes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust!
10May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands
render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
11May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!
12For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.
15Long may he live;
may gold of Sheba be given to him!
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all the day!
16May there be abundance of grain in the land;
on the tops of the mountains may it wave;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field!
17May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him,
all nations call him blessed!
18Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!
20The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.
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