I was at an interesting event some time back. It was a gathering of pastors, community leaders and political figures organized for the purpose of educating us on history and government. The end goal was to equip us to effect change.
During that meeting God began to speak to me about the nature of His Kingdom.
A kingdom is different than a republic or a true democracy. It has an entirely different social structure. This is crucial for us to understand because if we don't, we at best hinder it and at worst resist it.
A kingdom is an aristocracy, a ruling elite that had this right bestowed upon them by birth. This was the form of government chosen by God for Israel. Some will tell you that it was never God's will for Israel to have a king. That is not true. Israel had the timing wrong, but it was God's intention for them to be ruled by a King. He spoke of this through Moses. Kingdom is also the template He uses to communicate the nature of His rule.
The kingdom God instituted is the Kingdom of God. This is significant, because the Kingdom of God, like any kingdom, reflects the values and heart of its king. The happiness of the subjects of a king is, in itself, a tribute to the king.
In a kingdom, those who rule obtain that right through birth. The bloodline of which they are a part grants them that privilege and responsibility.
As sons of God, we are royal by birth. When we enter the Kingdom, we enter as sons and daughters of the King. This brings us into a place of great privilege and great responsibility.
The Kingdom of God is a very unique kingdom. It was the way that God intended for kingdoms to operate. The primary ruling principle, the social fabric, of God's Kingdom is this: He blesses some in order to bless the whole. We see this in His promise to Abraham: I will bless you to be a blessing to the nations of the earth. This is the way of God.
God positions his children. Those who, in turn, position themselves to receive the blessing then prosper and become the avenue of blessing for others.
God intends to bless the whole earth. He is deeply concerned with every living human being. But God’s concern is not limited to people, He has a deep concern over the systems by which they are governed and operate, for the organizations and institutions that serve them. He desires that His Kingdom principles saturate and operate through all of them. This is what Jesus had in mind when He taught us to pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Like any kingdom, the way Jesus accomplishes His will is through an aristocracy. The purpose of an aristocracy is to govern the land. A king would delegate a portion of His kingdom to various men within the royal bloodline. It was their responsibility to govern well, thereby bringing glory to their king.
A couple of years ago, a British phenomena hit public television. It was a serial drama set at the beginning of the last century in Britain. The show is titled Downton Abby. It is the story of a British lord who married into new American money in order to sustain the estate he had inherited. It was not an uncommon phenomena during that period of history for failing British estates to be saved through marrying into the new American money rising out of the industrial revolution.
I watched much of the first season with my wife. There's an interesting storyline that the Lord reminded me of when He began to speak to me about this whole subject of the nature of the Kingdom.
The backstory is of an English aristocrat, the Earl of Grantham, who married a wealthy American woman, saving his failing fortune. Together they produced three daughters but were unable to produce the male heir to secure his position. It is in this context that a distant male relative, the rightful heir, is discovered. Unaccustomed to the aristocratic life, this young man is uncomfortable with all the trappings of his newfound life. Among other things, he wants to continue in his occupation as a barrister.
One scene has the young man, Matthew, approaching the Earl of Grantham with a question. He asks if it would be okay for him to fire his valet. Lord Grantham, concerned, quickly asks, "Why? Is he not doing his job?" Matthew responds that yes, he is doing his job, but that a valet is simply unnecessary for his lifestyle.
Lord Grantham then gives him some fatherly advice, and in doing so schools him in the dynamics and purpose of an aristocracy. Starting with a question, he asks him, "So, because you're uncomfortable with it, you will rob this man of his livelihood, of something respectable to do with his life?" Then, before Matthew can answer, he tells him their position provides for the vast amount of people that work on their estate. He explains that these people depend upon the Lord of the Manor to provide for their needs. In serving, they are given an honorable job to do and, by it, find meaning in life. The system, he implies, existed for the people and not the aristocracy.
It was this exchange the Lord brought back to my mind as I sat in the meeting on government.
This concept of the privileged few providing for the rest is true of any kingdom, but especially God’s. In God's economy, He blesses some for the provision of all. "I will bless you to be a blessing to the nations of the earth." Throughout history, He has bestowed blessing on some in order to reach them all.
God has brought you into His Kingdom not as a mere subject, but as a son, and in so doing, made you royalty. We must remember this position grants us great privilege. It also carries with it great responsibility. We are part of heaven’s aristocratic structure. We have been given an allocation over which to rule. We must do it well.
We would do well to remember the words given to Esther as she entered the royal life through marriage, “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” God positioned her to save her nation. Perhaps He is doing the same with you.