No More Kings!
Most of my education about our country’s history didn’t come from 12 years in public schools, but from those animated short films back in the 60’s and 70’s called Schoolhouse Rock. Fun and informative, they taught me everything I know about such things. And all that learning happened naturally every Saturday morning in-between The Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Hour and H.R. Puffnstuff. I credit the catchy songs and delightful animations for my ability to recite the Preamble to the Constitution to this day.
Each week, it was drilled into my subconscious that, as an American, I had certain inalienable rights—which among them was life, liberty... and the pursuit of happiness (illustrated by a man lustily chasing a woman around a table). Indoctrinated from an early age, I grew up thinking it would be downright unpatriotic to see the world through any other lens because these truths were self-evident and had apparently been endowed to me by my Creator! This sums up the heritage passed down to me by my founding fathers. It is the essence of that indomitable American spirit that shapes my thinking. It drives me to chase after my "dreams" of success and to shake off any remnants of nefarious authority and oppression. The cry of my heart joins the sentiments of the Schoolhouse Rock song called No More Kings as the New England colonists sing a little dity in revolt against George the Third:
“It’s very clear you’re being unfair, king. No matter what you say we won’t obey. Gonna hold a revolution now, king, and we’re gonna run it all our way, with no more kings…
We’re gonna elect a president! (No more kings!)
He’s gonna do what the people want! (No more kings!)
We’re gonna run things our way! (No more kings!)
No one’s gonna tell us what to do!
Rockin and a-rollin’, splishin’ and a-splashin’, over the horizon what can it be? Looks like it’s going to be a free country.”
With the stroke of a pen and a bloody war, those feisty ruffians of the Continental Army had finally won! And the USA was born. But humanities innate desire for liberty runs so much deeper than the honorable opposition to "taxation without representation." While certain forms of freedom can be advantageous and result in a better life for many people, the base human longing for autonomy has been the cause of our undoing from the very beginning. The refrain, “No more kings!” had its original debut in the Garden of Eden. Eve wanted what was forbidden so she declared independence from her Maker and took and ate as she pleased. Liberty was reaffirmed a little later when the ancients built a tall tower to make a name for themselves in one place. This was in direct opposition to God’s plan for the human race to “...increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it” Gen. 1:28.
The pattern would be repeated so often that stiff-necked and rebellious would become the appropriate description of God's people. In the time of Samuel the prophet, once again, the Israelites were not happy with the ruling government: the Sovereign God. They wanted what all the other nations had which was, ironically, a king! They complained to Samuel and The Lord responded, “Listen to the people. It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” 1 Sam. 8:7.
No more Kings! Call it what you want—an inalienable right not to be told how to live—but this cry for independence, the demand for self-rule, is what the human heart wants and we will go to any lengths to get it. No one is gonna tell us what to do! We will eat whatever the heck we want if it looks pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom. We will stake our claim and build where and what we want in order to demonstrate our importance, power and worth. We will reject any and all authority that hinders us from the pursuit of what makes us happy. We will have our liberty no matter the cost, even if it takes a revolution against that One final authority, the last obstacle to our full and complete autonomy: God in the flesh. We're gonna run things our way!
Oh, the mysterious depths of God’s love and mercy toward those He made in His own image. We are the only ones of all creation that hated Him enough to carry out such a wicked deed. It is unfathomable how the most evil act in human history—the murder of God on a Roman cross—could accomplish something so spectacular and undeserved. Christ’s death did bring freedom but not in the way anyone would have expected. His willing sacrifice broke the ugly cycle of self-will that has enslaved our hearts since the Garden. "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" Jn 8:36. Not free to rebel again and do whatever we please, but free to want and do what pleases God purely for the love of Him. Thy will be done, Lord, whatever the cost to me. This was the heart of Jesus. Because of Him God acts upon every human heart (that believes by faith) with transforming power. By grace we are slowly changed into the likeness of our Savior. His heart becomes ours. Let freedom ring!
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? Romans 5:10
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18
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