Called to Royalty
Judg. 5:3 “Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
to the LORD I will sing,
I will make melody to the LORD, the God of Israel.
As Deborah sings her song of praise before the Lord we hear the challenge to God’s children. Origen gives us unique insight into this passage:
“Hear, O kings. She names them ‘kings’ who are called together to hear the word of God. You should rejoice, people of God, at this emblem of your nobility. It is not as just any people that you are called to hear the word of God, but as a king, for to you it was said, ‘You are a royal, priestly race, a people for God’s possession.’ (I Peter 2:9) Because you are kings, therefore, Christ our Lord is rightly called the ‘King of kings and the Lord of lords.’(1 Tim 6:15; Rev 19:16.) However, as you revel in this title of your nobility, you should also learn what each one of you must do to be a king. Let me outline it for you briefly. You are made a king if Christ reigns in you, for he is called a king by reigning. If also in you, therefore, the soul reigns and the body submits, if you put the concupiscence of the flesh under of yoke of your command, if you subdue every kind of vice by the tight bridle of your sobriety, then you who know how to reign are also rightly called a ‘king.’” (HOMILIES ON JUDGES 6.3.)
You and I, as children of God are called to be royalty and to serve in the royal priestly race.
Contemporary royalty has lost much of its sense of responsibility. In many ways they serve as figure-heads of nations but don’t carry actual power or authority. On the other hand they have great influential power and carry within themselves the regal nature of the nation whom they embody.
For the Christian there is great responsibility in bearing the name of Christ. In taking on the name of our Savior we become ambassadors, or members of the royal priesthood. Origen makes it clear that this happens when “Christ reigns in you.” Therefore to understand this possibility we have to consider what it means to have Christ reigning in us. It does require submission, as Origen puts it, of the body and the soul. He uses the word “concupiscence” which means strong sexual desire or lust. This is to be placed under the tight bridle or authority of the one who reigns in your life. We are filled with expectant hope as we see that we don’t have to be ruled by the drives of our bodies, but by Christ who sets us free.
The call to royalty is serious and has within it an expectant hope that the Holy Spirit can empower us to not only act like royalty, but to actually be transformed into royalty. We don’t have to live in a life of constant struggle against the flesh when God has promised to set us free. This is not just the hope of the life to come, but the expectant joy of life in the Spirit. We are then drawn into the life of royalty, to live as kings and princes of the LORD. In this place we sing and make melody to one who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Lord, please continue to lead and fill me today. Amen.
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