Fear is the most powerful human motivator. Nothing gets your attention quicker than an icy drip of sweat down the spine. It’s normal to hold tension in your body, lose your good humor, and dwell on dark worrisome thoughts when confronted with things you don’t understand. Coronavirus is the latest crisis tempting people to exchange freedom for security.
Given voice, our greatest concern is usually, “How will this affect me?”
Folks seek protection when they believe that they can’t protect themselves from fear, loss, and the unknown. At the end of the era of Judges, the people of Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king over them; they willingly sacrificed their freedom for security.
The Israelites Demanded a King
“Give us a king to judge us.” (1 Samuel 8:6)
The Israelites didn’t want a ruler, but a provider, protector, leader, and guarantor of victory, blessing, and favor from God. Like people today, they wanted peace without obedience and plenty without consequence.
Panic feeds on fear of the unknown. No one knows if today’s drastic measures to contain COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) are necessary.
Is panic justified?
Not if you’re a New Creation in Christ Jesus.
Does America Want a King?
Consider Solomon, singular in wisdom and glory–until he took God’s crown and placed it on his own head. He broke God’s command to place a firewall around his heart, his home, and his bed. Instead, Solomon welcomed foreign wives with strange gods into his palace, nation, and soul.
Do Americans want a king to coddle, protect, and provide for them?
George Washington said that America will get the leaders it deserves. Kings don’t answer to an electorate, people become subjects of the king and his successor.
As the wise ruler passes, the rule also passes, without a guarantee that the new king will be as good as the last. The Israelites wanted a king because Samuel’s sons “did not walk in his ways” and were unfit to replace him.
Even Solomon didn’t pass on his kingdom to another Solomon.
Did you know that Solomon’s great temple fell back under Egyptian control only five years after his death? (1 Kings 14:25-28)
The Dark Side of Security
More than anything else, people demand certainty. In their minds, authority and government exists to radically limit their downside while only marginally limiting their upside. They believe that consequences should be mild and blessings robust. But, besides the upside and downside, there is another side.
Opponents shout down or ignore warnings about the DARK side offered in academic, religious, or political debates.
“Separation of church and state!”, they object.
“Silence all voices that disagree with mine!”
It’s always someone else. They’re the problem, and someone needs to control them.
Which inspires the demand for a king; one with the power to protect me and mine. Except that those who would be king have their own ideas.
Willingly Ceding Liberty
The only thing required to rule over free people is their permission. Terror is a great sales pitch. Give me your freedom and I’ll remove the danger.
It worked for Joseph during the Egyptian famine. The people sold their possessions, then their land, and then themselves. Pharaoh owned everything, including the population.
Too many people want a provider, protector, leader, and guarantor of continued blessing and favor. We want to move into someone’s protective basement, never noticing the bars on the windows and a door without a handle on the inside.
It was easy to get in. Getting out is hard.
God and governments are not little blessing machines designed to give you everything you want. But many speak that lie to gain your vote, your support, and your obedience.
Predators want you to offer your freedom on a silver platter.
Be Careful What You Ask For
The Israelites had a God; with rules, blessings, and consequences. Even the Israelite’s desire for freedom from God’s rule didn’t change their desire for protection, provision, and freedom from consequences. So they demanded a king.
Sometimes God gives us what we ask for. Until we realize how foolish we were. The Israelites learned that the hard way–when it was too late to reverse course.
Samuel gave the Israelites fair warning, explicit warning, dire warning. The Israelites ignored it. Don’t repeat their horrific mistake.
The King of Kings
God’s people repeated the pattern of obedience, apostasy, judgment–obedience, apostasy, judgment. Sometimes God gives us what we demand. He’s done it before.
Wake up, or He may do it again.
There is no King but Jesus Christ and no unassailable security apart from Him. Children of the King of Kings need not fear. Anything.
COVID-19 hasn’t escaped God’s attention or exists outside of His power and will. The only Authority able to guarantee your eternal security is God. Unless you change sides and seek an earthly king.
Your freedom is a gift of God.
It is both proof and profit of faith in Him.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
Leading Your Flock
Whether your flock is a congregation, classroom, or family, what promises do you make regarding security? What do you want them to look to you for and when do you counsel them to look elsewhere?
Times of fear are blessed opportunities to lead your people in self-reflection. If they’re fearful, why? If they’re not, are their heads in the sand or do they stand boldly before the Cross of Christ?
Do they lack understanding or faith?
This the time to make your call and election sure. By helping others do the same.
Related post: Unexpected Fear–When God Changes Your Gifts
Another post: Fear Not – A Message for Times of Pain and Hopelessness
This 11-word message arrived March 11, 2011:
This is the End Time.
The King is Coming.
Rapture and Revelation–An Engaging and Timely Challenge for Christians explains and expands that message, challenging readers to know why they believe as they do, because it matters.