April 24 - The Nations
Israel was a unique nation with a very different God than the surrounding nations. Their kingdom was a divine kingdom in contrast with the nations. God is the King of this Kingdom and He rules from Jacob to the ends of the earth. From one nation, God’s rule is to cover all other nations. Before that happens, the nations would rise against God, but God would only laugh at them and their schemes. He holds them in derision and moves to cause their destruction. Although the nations would rise up against the Lord and His Anointed, their conspiracy would not succeed.
It is with this kind of perspective that we look at the different nations of the world. Since their gods is not the Creator God of Israel, they are always in an adversarial position. No matter what political system or form of government, one thing is certain: they are not running a Kingdom agenda, they are running the agenda of the opposing kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. The only hope is in the conversion of the earthly kingdoms to the Kingdom of God, and that is the Great Commission given to us from the Lord Jesus. It is not practical to pin our hopes on any earthly government, no matter how good they are.
The Israelites in the Promised Land fully experienced the power of these nations and peoples on their culture and devotion to God. Once the first generation had passed on, the subsequent generations were no longer following the Lord. The nations had swallowed up the Kingdom of God and so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the raiders. The raiders came to steal, kill and destroy; they were a symbol of Satan himself. However, one of the reasons for their existence was to train the Israelites in warfare. Should God removed all oppositions from before them, they would not be tested and could not learn how to fight.
So the Lord raised up judges, to judge, to rule and to deliver them from the nations and peoples around them. They brought in the rule of God, the Kingdom of God to their midst. Jesus, when He gave the instructions concerning the Passover, mentioned the Kingdom of God twice. The Kingdom of God is here but not yet. It will be on earth when Jesus comes back. He promised Kingdom authority for the disciples: they are to sit on thrones of the Kingdom to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. God’s Kingdom authority was given to Jesus and Jesus gave it to the disciples.
Before Christ comes back, our need to operate God’s Kingdom in a very different way than other nations and kingdoms. In the Kingdom of God, the leaders are the servants to others. No one is to rule over others but to serve, like Jesus was the one who serves. How are you behaving as part of God’s Kingdom today? Do you realize your unique position and authority in the world?
Ps 59:6-13 Judg 2:10-3:31 Luke 22:14-34 Prov 14:1-2