The Coming Birth of the Righteous King

As we are in the season in which we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, I find it is always good to focus daily on the meaning of this season of time. In an age where  holding to a Christian worldview is under increasing attack, in a time where leaving Christ in Christmas is being treated almost as if it is a sin against humanity (I find the world to be not only a sinful, dark and fallen place, but an ironic one at that), thoughtful people need make an almost concerted effort to meditate on Jesus and what this birth 2000 years ago means to our eternal destiny. We can read the Gospel accounts of His birth, and I am sure many a great sermon will focus on these birth accounts over the next few weeks.  But I would like to turn elsewhere for reflection today, I would turn us toward the Book of Psalms.

The birth of Christ has such potent meaning for us because of the death of Christ upon the Cross. His birth, if that was all that had passed in His life would not have the meaning it does without the salvation bought with His blood upon the Cross. I think it is the Cross that offends, and by association with the Cross at the other end of His earthly life, that the birth of Christ tends to offend many as well. That birth and that death will come full circle within earthly history upon His return. The work of Christ is finished on the Cross, but we will not see the fulfillment of His work until His Millennial Reign.

It is this fulfillment that gives His birth such meaning, it is this fulfillment that gives us the hope of the season. For without the birth of Christ leading to His sacrifice, the appearance of the righteous King would fill all with horror. But because of the events that started with His birth, we who have trusted in Christ will be filled with joy.

He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth. – Psalm 72:4; 8

As our righteous King, He will install a reign of justice for all in His kingdom. There will be no oppression, no one will want of anything ever again. It will be a reign from sea to sea, no one but the righteous King anointed by God has the right or the ability to rule the world. Beware of anyone else who attempts to do so by force or flattery.

His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen. – Psalm 72:17-19

The righteous King will be blessed in His reign, and that blessing will last forever as will His reign. All are invited to share in that blessing for eternity. It takes submission to the King and obedience to His will by trusting in Him alone for salvation and accepting His gift. Why is it that so many are more willing to struggle to grasp that which is fleeting and rage against that which is freely given? Why does pride so blind so many that they would perish in their defiance and not humble themselves before the true King? A King who humbled Himself, first as a helpless child, then as a willing sacrifice, all for a people (all of us) who deserved none of what He did and offered.

For the most part the world cannot do what He should not have had to. And the celebration of His birth every year seems to be a painful reminder to many when it should be a joyful remembrance to all instead. Christmas is a time of reflection, but not only of the birth of Jesus, but His life on earth, His death on the Cross and of His Second Coming in power and glory to rule, reign and restore all things anew.

Isn’t Prevention Better Than Provision and Protection?

If you are of a conservative political view in our country, you are often accused of being intolerant, insensitive and just inappropriate for mixed company. If you are an evangelical Christian on top of that, well, you have just raised the ante a bit along with the associated uproar. But that shouldn’t stop us from saying and doing what we believe to be the right thing. It shouldn’t stop us from acting, to the best of our abilities (which are usually outstripped by our intent), as we believe our Lord and Savior would in those same circumstances.

Some Christians may struggle with the right response to what we see going on in Iraq, as the IS (or ISIS or ISIL or whatever acronym is in vogue today) persecutes, tortures and murders men, women and children that are in their path who do not believe with the same insane religious fervor the things they believe in. These murderers act like rabid dogs, yet some wonder if the response need be sorrow, grief and prayer on our part for those who are in harm’s way; while those unfortunates just need to show the love of Christ to their enemies while butchered.

I can think of some rather short and graphic responses to that line of reasoning, but the language would be less than proper.  Rabid dogs need to be put down, quick and permanently.

I don’t know why anyone need act like a doormat as they face their assassins. Remember, not all in the path of the IS are Christian; there is also the Yazidi people group facing the wrath, there are Kurdish forces fighting to hold them back, there are probably coreligionists who just aren’t up to the exacting standards of their version of retributive justice in the name of Allah. There does not seem to be a JV within the IS.  All these people need hear of  the love of Christ and need accept Him as the only way to their salvation before we could even expect them to begin attempting to act like Him.

Jesus asked us to turn the other cheek, that is true; but I believe that is in the context of a personal attack against yourself. Slander, physical abuse, even persecution against one’s own person in the name of the Gospel endured with a measure of Christ-like patience and perseverance is the cheek-turning called for. Wholesale genocide is not an option on the table. Turning our backs of those who need our help, our brothers and sisters in Christ, members of our heavenly family, is not a course of inaction to embrace, promote or encourage our leaders to follow.

Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4

Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17

These passages are a clear call to defending those who are helpless for themselves. Acts 6:1 describes the anger felt by those who believe the local church was not taking care of the widows and orphans properly. And the church responded and took care of the issue. They had it all sorted out by Acts 6:7. Took them 6 verses to respond, just 6. So why are we still milling around about what is going on in Iraq without speaking out more, urging our leaders to make a more forceful response, with both humanitarian aid and military supplies to those fighting the battle? What is happening in Iraq is probably going on elsewhere in the world as well, it just isn’t on the mainstream media radar screen now. We need seek out those situations, exposing them to the harsh light of public criticism and to a call to action as well.

Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach him to fish  and he can eat for life. Hand him an AR-15 and some ammo clips, and he can kill those trying to rape and murder his wife, mother, sister and daughter. I have no problem sending supplies to those fighting the IS to enable them to fight harder, longer and more effectively. Freeing the helpless from the hand of the wicked is honorable and in my opinion, biblical as well. Defending the weak and oppressed is a call to answer.

We should give provision and protection to widows and orphans. Why would anyone think we should not try to prevent their being made so in the first place? Why isn’t prevention at the outset better than protection and provision after the fact?