“The God of the Hebrews, Yahweh, was a king returned for His people – reclaiming His proper territory, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and His rule was FAIR and GOOD”
Last time we talked about the “missing piece” of the Kingdom of God from many believer’s faith. We concluded that LOVE for others is a sure-fire sign of that kingdom. However, we have yet to fully unpack what the kingdom IS. Well, as with any Earthly kingdom, the kingdom of God has it’s own rules. And, O, how we easily misunderstand them!
Most everyone has heard of the 10 Commandments, and many others also the Old Testament Law. Laws written directly by God’s hands, we assume they must be all-around unique. But, they’re not, and in what way they’re not is incredibly interesting. The style/format would’ve been immediately recognizable to the believers of the day. All of the Old Testament Law fits neatly within an ancient form of literature called a “Suzerian-Vassal Agreement.” In ancient times these were penned whenever a King took a new territory: they spelled out the expectations they had of their new subjects, and set forth their promise to watch over them, and the consequences if they did not carry out their side of the bargain. For people who were often ruled by self-serving megalomaniacs – mere humans convinced they were God, who had multiple wives, and harems the size of which would make anyone blush – the rule of this good King – who had freed his people rather than enslaved them – was unique and beautiful.
The analogy would’ve been immediately recognized: the God of the Hebrews, Yahweh, was a king returned for His people – reclaiming His proper territory, proclaiming freedom for the captives, and His rule was FAIR and GOOD! His moral law was for the well-being of His people, not their subservience, as all recognized. In Jesus’ day, when a good Jew was asked to summarize the law, the answer came easily, and was readily affirmed by Jesus: “To love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” That summary isn’t two things, but one: how we properly worship God & put Him first, is by loving others.
That is what proper Jews saw when they heard their King’s edict. This was a new kind of king. This was a new sort of law. The law of this new kingdom was love, unpacked. We may still be learning to apply this law – to truly live it out – but never-the-less, for a people accustomed to being slaves (as we all tend to find ourselves enslaved by something), this King’s rule is refreshing.
I pray you find yourself thankful for the freeing reign of your GOOD KING this week!