Who is this lord that I serve?

In 1st Samuel, Chapter 8, the Israelites, tired from years of poor management and abuse by the Judges of Israel … they demanded a king … they asked Samuel, who was old, to ask God if they might have a king …

And what does God say?

He says the KING you obey will steal your wealth, enslave your offspring, and take from you unjust portions … and you will complain, and when you do complain … I, your lord, will not hear you …

The first form of government for the chosen people was a system of judges, but to be honest it wasn’t a very reliable system and it was open to abuse and conflicts of interest and fraud … the book of Judges, one of my favorite books, covers this period quite well … and it covers that persistent biblical theme – the cycle of apostasy …

What is this cycle? – it is the eternal dance between mankind and God … God is kind, infinitely so … we have a special word for God’s immeasurable kindness: Hesed

Why do I mention HESED?

God’s steadfast and infinite love?

Because in 1 SAM 8, the “chosen people” choose to have a man, any man, rule over them, other than God … and it’s an old story … and 1 SAM 8 only solidifies it.

The story is this: mankind turns from God, mankind turns toward evil (Baal), mankind finds itself enslaved by evil in some form, mankind begs for God’s help, God helps … eventually mankind turns away from God again.

Yet God still loves us.

So if someone asks me “who is this lord I serve?” – it is a God, a Christ, Lord Jesus, who is able to exist and does not require my love nor force it … God demands, but the choice is always mine, always yours, always ours.

The lord I serve: is able to accept rejection, and wants us to find our own way even IF we make terrible mistakes …

If we recall the life of Jesus? – we know that Jesus was a traveler, with very little in the form of property, nor did he rail against property like some kind of silly communist.

Jesus had little, but he did a lot – his power was of God and Heaven, not something accrued in savings over time … Jesus never denounced “being rich”, but he was also not afraid of advancing the idea that it is GOOD to be kind to the poor. And, to note, that poverty of spirit can be as much an affliction … and no amount of gold cures this illness.

The lord I serve: he’s ok with the poor and the rich, he simply wants us to be kind to each other …

My lord?

My lord has a record …

My lord was arrested …

My lord was taken in chains to stand trial, he was convicted by a jury of his peers, he was sentenced to torture and public ridicule and death … and death next to criminals, thieves, the lowest of the low.

My lord didn’t believe in “the law” – but rather respected a higher law, a better purpose.

If someone asks me who my lord is?

The lord I serve: I say, I SERVE A GOD HUMBLE ENOUGH TO DIE LIKE THE WORST, IN ORDER TO FORGIVE ALL THE SINS OF THE WORLD!

Jesus went into the temple, tossed the tables, rebuked the Pharisees for their crooked activities in the temple …

Jesus was willing to take action, even violent action, in defense of principle.

Jesus was a shepherd, but he was no sheep …

Jesus was a peacemaker, but he was no dove …

Jesus wants ALL OF US to have faith in him and to live according to his teachings, but he is all to capable of meting out justice and wrath to the evil.

The lord I serve: not afraid of cops, but would sit down with cops, just as he broke bread with centurions.

The lord I serve: gives us hope, gives us a basis for a just and reasonable society …

The lord I serve: wants us to voluntarily, cooperatively, solve problems …

The lord I serve: wants us to be good shepherds, missionaries … but he also wants us to remember WHEN it’s time to fight back, defend ourselves, the people we love … to remember: the disciples of Christ carried swords.