Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Prophet and the King

[The prophet] cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you’ ” (1 Kings 13:2).

The oracle the unnamed prophet delivered against Jeroboam’s false religion was one of woe. It was an example of a “covenant lawsuit.” One of the most important duties of the prophet was to stand as a prosecuting attorney for God to summon the people to trial. When the people, and especially when their king, broke the covenant, the prophet would be sent to bring God’s lawsuit against them.

One of the reasons the prophetic ministry comes into prominence during the period of the kings is that the order of the kingdom was directly tied to another function of the prophet: he was the ambassador of the High King, the Lord. Back when we studied the reign of King Saul, we saw that the essential condition of the kingdom was this: the human king must always hearken to the word of the High King, brought by His prophet.

God gave a kingdom to Saul, who tried to make it his own. Then the prophet Samuel brought the covenant lawsuit against him. God gave a kingdom to David, who sought to exploit it for his own purpose; then the prophet Nathan brought the covenant lawsuit against David. God gave a kingdom to Solomon, who then broke the three laws of kingship, assuming that the kingdom was his to administer as he pleased. God raised up the prophet Ahijah to oppose him. Next, God had given a kingdom to Jeroboam, and the first thing Jeroboam did was reject God as High King and start doing things his own way. Hence, God sent a prophet to denounce him and later sent Ahijah to announce the destruction of Jeroboam’s line (1 Kings 14:1–20).

This pattern continues throughout the books of Kings, which is why so many chapters are actually about the prophets Elijah and Elisha. These men and their followers reminded the people who the True King of the land was, and called out the “remnant” to follow Him.

In a real sense, then, the books of Kings (one book in Hebrew) are not merely about the human kings of Judah and Israel. They are about the human kings of Israel and Judah, and the High King—the Lord.

It is the duty of the elders and ministers of the church, and of the church as an institution, to be the prophetic voice of the High King, calling nations to submit and reminding all of us that we are to live our lives in submission to King Jesus. Pray for your minister today, that he will be strong to fulfill this role.