What is a king?

Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. -Samuel 8:7

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” -John 12:13

Dear members and friends, 

These days people accept and understand the term and title “king” as a male who reigns over other people within a region called a kingdom. The ultimate origin of the English word king is somewhat obscure, but presumably influenced by the Bible. An English dictionary defines king as “the male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth.” And a ruler is defined as “a person exercising government or dominion.” Accordingly, a king may be defined as a ruler who exercises government in an independent state. Interestingly, the word “king” itself still contains a clue as to how it was used in very ancient times. Archeological discoveries have revealed that a king in an ancient Sumerian city-state was the one who conducted the policies, actions, and affairs of the state. 

In the Bible, God portrayed the role of a king as the ultimate protector and provider for the people according to Exodus, Joshua, and Judges. Thus, God assumes the role of king for the people. The power and authority of God in the Bible was brought to the attention of the Israelites only when they were in serious trouble morally, physically, or both. In Judges, a person anointed by God would arrive whenever the Israelites were troubled by a foreign force. This anointed one never reigned over the people, but was chosen for a special task. The Hebrew word for the anointed one is messiah and where the notion of messianic kingship originated. Most of the time, the Israelites were left to live freely without a demanding ruler over them. However, when the Israelites demanded a human ruler, God said to troubled Samuel, “they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” Essentially, God agreed that people could have a human king rule over them if that was their choice. This was the end of an era when God and the Israelites were having a more intimate and close relationship. 

My brothers and sisters in God, let us take a moment to contemplate what it means to follow Jesus Christ, and what it means to take a position of importance in our community. According to the Bible, both mean the same thing: to be of service to God and to the people. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee