One King Leads to Another
- Talk about examples of people getting what they want, but giving up their freedom in the process. Why do you think we tend to glamorize that kind of life?
Have you ever noticed a common experience that occurs on the last night of any church camp or short-term missions trip? You can count on a few things: a lot of crying, a lot of hugging, and a lot of promises to make changes in life (break up with boy/girlfriend, start daily devotions, be nicer to my family, stop drinking or smoking, etc…). But like most temporary “spiritual highs,” these promises slowly fade and there is a return to all the things that were sworn off in that emotional moment.
- Have you ever had a “last night of church camp”-type experience, in which you were filled with emotion and made a commitment to break a bad habit or stop doing bad things? If so, were you able to follow through on your commitment? Why or why not?
Take some time and read Joshua 24:14-21, because it sounds a lot like the last night at church camp. Joshua warns the people of Israel that they will be tempted by their new neighbors to walk away from God and his law. They protest and swear total allegiance to God.
Jump ahead to Judges 2, just a few years after Joshua dies…
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. Judges 2:11-12
How does God respond?
So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress. Judges 2:14-15
God’s response: “You like the Canaanites so much? How about I let you be conquered by the culture you copied?”
Israel goes from conqueror to the conquered- why? Because they willingly walked away from God and then found themselves in a place where they could not freely go back. They abandoned God, they followed the people around them, and they surrendered their freedom.
They simply traded one king for another.
There is such a huge lesson in this for all of us, because like the Israelites, when we say no to one king, we say yes to another.
We were created, therefore there is a Creator, which means we were never meant to be our own king- we were made to be ruled over. And the best part about God the Creator is that he wants to rule over you, but he will not control you (he is too much of a gentlemen).
All the other “kings,” the “little kings” of life, they wish to control you or they are by nature controllers. The "little kings" tempt us with the idea that we will have freedom, but in reality they imprison us.
Maximum freedom is found under the authority of the Creator King. The great news is that when we cry out to God, he is willing to rescue us. Oh that we would realize the true freedom that exists when we live under the rule of the Creator King!
- Think about the “little kings” in your life. Why is it easier to say no to God than to say no to the things you substitute for God? What can you do to begin to break that pattern? How can this group support you?