Cheap Trinkets or a True King
"The reality is, we all choose a king. We can’t live without one. Even if we think we don’t need or want a king, by default we will choose ourselves to rule over our own life. But lesser kings always get exposed. We can’t handle the weight of our own crown. Your flimsy kingship will be exposed and you will regret that you made yourself king."
Perhaps as a kid you were treated to a treasure chest of toys only to realize later that they were cheap trinkets. When that plastic ring broke or when you first held a solid gold ring in your hand, the toy version was exposed for what it really was—a flimsy substitute. In our series on the Rise and Fall of Kings, Israel’s chosen king, Saul, is being exposed as a cheap substitute. He over-promises and under-delivers. In 1 Samuel 15 God gives Saul a softball pitch to hit out of the park: go and defeat this little fringe group (the Amalekites), and establish peace and prosperity. This is what kings are supposed to do (1 Sam. 8:20). But he didn’t submit to God’s plan. He was intent on doing what he wanted to. He spared Agag and “the best of everything else” (15:9) and then rationalized and spiritualized his disobedience (15:15). Lesser kings always get exposed, as Matt reminded us. Consider what Samuel says to Saul in 15:22-23: Then Samuel said: Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king. Israel rejected the Lord as King (1 Sam. 8:6-7), and what they got instead was a cheap slap bracelet. Now the Lord has rejected Saul (15:11, 23, 26, 35). His kingship would be given to a neighbor who is way better (15:28). Only the true king is worthy of worship. The reality is, we all choose a king. We can’t live without one. Even if we think we don’t need or want a king, by default we will choose ourselves to rule over our own life. But lesser kings always get exposed. We can’t handle the weight of our own crown. Your flimsy kingship will be exposed and you will regret that you made yourself king. Do you really want to spend your whole life trusting in yourself? You know you. Isn’t there a better option? There is. You see him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in Matthew 21. “Behold, your king is coming to you” (v. 5). You see him hanging on the cross with the sign over his head reading, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (27:37). And then you see him breaking out of the tomb, confirming his kingship (Acts 2:29-36). You can’t live without a king. Make sure you’re submitting to the right one. Jesus is the true king, in contrast to Saul and every other flimsy substitute. But is he your king? If not, “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, [and] you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Then go public with your confession through baptism and reorient your life with Jesus as your king. If you realize you can’t handle the weight of your own crown and you want to learn more about how to transfer the crown to Jesus, let us know here. Reflection Questions:
1. Think about a time in your life when something or someone you trusted in turned out to be a cheap substitute. How did that experience affect your perception of what is genuine and trustworthy?
2. Reflect on the idea of choosing a king for your life. Who or what have you allowed to rule over your life? Have you placed your trust in yourself or other flimsy substitutes? 3. How has that affected your decisions and actions?
3. Consider the example of Jesus as the true king. How does Jesus' kingship contrast with the flawed leadership of Saul and other lesser kings?
4. Consider the steps you need to take to transfer your crown to Jesus. Have you confessed Jesus as Lord in your life? Have you made your confession public through baptism? What would it look like to reorient your life with Jesus as your king?