Respect for the King

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Have you ever been in the presence of someone very important?  I know everyone’s definition of who that entails may be different, but I am talking about maybe an important politician, a well-known businessman, or possibly someone you admire.  A couple years ago, I got to sit down with about a dozen others in a meeting with Tennessee’s governor and discuss various economic developments in our local area.  To my knowledge, I had never met a governor before.  It’s one thing if you just happen to bump into the person by accident, but it’s something completely different if it’s a planned meeting.  Butterflies start to develop.  You get nervous about meeting the person.  Maybe you get a haircut a few days before.  You avoid eating a messy lunch that day so you don’t get something on you.  Every aspect of the day is focused on that meeting so that every detail is perfect.  You want to be at your best for an interaction that may only last a few minutes.

Why is that?  Why do we worry so much about our interaction with certain people?  Is it because of the person?  Maybe, and especially if it’s your hero.  However, more often than not, it’s because of the position that person holds.  I would love to tour the White House and meet the President.  Why?  Because it’s the President.  I don’t care what political party the person belongs to.  It would be an experience to just shake the man’s hand, and probably a story I would tell my family and friends for years to come.

In our family Bible time a couple weeks ago, we were reading through the book of Esther.  If you’ve never read it, you really should.  It’s only 10 chapters long, but it is such a great story of the triumph of good over evil, and of courage and perseverance.  At one point in the story, Esther is needing to approach the king to ask him to spare her people (the Jews) from the hands of Haman.  Esther was nervous and scared to approach the king for one very good reason: if you enter the king’s inner court without being called, the king had the right to put you to death.  But wait…Esther was the queen!  This was her husband.  Why was she so nervous to approach him?  She understand the power and authority that her husband possessed, and she was hesitant to break one of his laws.

Most of us know the story of King David in the Old Testament.  Though he had his faults, David rose to be a great king and leader for God’s people.  But life wasn’t always peaches and cream for David.  He spent a great deal of time running for his life from his predecessor King Saul.  One day, Saul entered a cave while he was on the hunt for David (I Samuel 24).  What Saul didn’t know is that David and his men were hiding in that same cave.  Just to show Saul that he could have easily taken his life, David crept up behind Saul and cut off a corner of his robe without being caught.  Shortly after, David felt remorse.  Was it because he had passed up the opportunity to kill the man who was trying to kill him?  Surely that would have been considered self-defense, right?  No.  David was sorrowful because he had cut the corner of Saul’s robe.  He understood that he had disrespected Saul and the position of king, a position that God Himself had appointed.  As Saul was leaving the cave, David yelled to get his attention.  When Saul turned to look at him, David “stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed down” (I Samuel 24:8).

These are two instances in Scripture where an individual showed great respect for someone, not necessarily because of who the person was, but because of the position the person held.  In our minds, both had valid reasons to be a little more “relaxed” in their interaction.  Esther was just going to talk to her husband.  David was talking to the man who was actively hunting him down to kill him.  Yet they showed the utmost respect.

What would you say if I told you that we have an interaction that far surpasses what either Esther or David had in their stories?  There’s no way…right?  Have you ever been to a worship service?  You are not interacting with a king.  You are interacting with the King.  You are interacting with the Great I AM.  The One who created not only the world we live in, but the stars and planets of solar systems we have yet to discover.  He decided the distance between the planets, and then designed the intricacies of the human eye.  He is Everything.  The Beginning and the End.  The Alpha and the Omega.  The King of Kings.  The Creator and Ruler of all mankind.  And He allows me, a lowly sinner, someone who doesn’t even deserve to “loose the straps of his sandals”, to interact with Him.  Not only does He allow me to, He wants me to.  He longs for that interaction.

Now, let me ask you this?  What is your mindset during that interaction?  Does it give you butterflies?  Do you think about it days beforehand and prepare for it?  Does it make you nervous, or maybe even emotional?  Did you make sure to get enough sleep the night before?  Does every thought and detail of your day focus on that interaction?  Do you go out of your way to make sure you are at your best and show the utmost respect?

Or do we show up to services late?  Do we forget and leave our Bibles at home?  Do we grab some clothes out of the floor and think “these aren’t too dirty”?  Do we maybe even doze off once or twice?  Are we yelling and screaming at the rest of the family because we wanted to keep sleeping?  Or worse yet, do we decide not to go because there’s a ballgame on TV we want to watch or a t-ball practice we have to get to?

If I could go over and above to meet another human, someone with sins and faults just like me, why would I not do more when I get to interact with God?  Why would it not be the focal point of my week?  Let’s all strive over the coming weeks to put our worship to God at the forefront of our minds and strive to give Him the respect that He deserves.