“If I were the king of this old crazy world, I’m telling you there’d be some changes made.” –Robert Earl Keen
If I were king, I’d outlaw the Braves move to Marietta.
If I were king, tea would only be sweet.
If I were king, there would be no such thing as turkey bacon.
If I were king, February would be stricken from the calendar.
If I were king, I-285 would be reserved at all times for my personal use. And I-575, too, for that matter.
If you were king, what kind of changes would you make?
Inspired by a song by Robert Earl Keen, we'll be looking in worship this August at four of the most familiar Old Testament kings to see what kind of changes they made and to learn how we can make some changes, too, to become more holy, more healthy and more whole.
Here's a quick preview of what you can expect at HERITAGE over the next four weeks.
King Josiah accidentally ran across some long-lost scripture as he was cleaning out the Temple. When he read the newly discovered scriptures, it changed the way the whole nation worshiped. Israel became more holy overnight.
What if we re-discovered scripture to become more holy, too? Bibles we don’t read and scripture we don’t know is just as useless as the scrolls lost in Josiah’s temple.
The Bible is so big and diverse that a lot of people are intimidated by it. They don’t know where to start and are worried that it will be hard to understand. So what “lost” scriptures should we re-discover? I would suggest starting in two places—the Sermon on the Mount and the First Letter of John.
The Sermon on the Mount is the central body of Jesus’ teaching. If you want to know what Jesus believed and what Jesus gave priority to, you need look no further than Matthew 5-7.
First John is a letter from one of Jesus’ closest followers, the apostle John. In his old age, John wrote to an expanding community of Christians who had grown up under his teaching. In the letter, John’s main idea is that God is love, so if we are to be like God, then we have one responsibility—to love one another.
You can read both the Sermon on the Mount and First John in less than an hour. Give it a shot! Eugene Peterson’s Message translation makes them both very easy to understand.
King Saul struggled with his mental health. Sometimes we think that mental health issues are a problem limited to the modern world, but men and women throughout history and throughout scripture have had to deal with mental illnesses. King Saul was one of them. Before mental health physicians and medication, Saul discovered the power of music—specifically David’s music—to soothe his troubled mind.
There’s still too much stigma attached to mental illness. The church ought to be a place where people who struggle with mental health issues are welcomed and included—where all of our mental health problems are acknowledged. If we’re willing to talk honestly about mental health issues at church, then our faith and our faith communities can provide much needed support.
King David was constantly fighting for wholeness—both for himself and for God’s people in Israel. It wasn’t easy for him. David fought for wholeness his entire life. What if we fought for wholeness with the same tenacity? What if we returned to God like David did—as many times as it takes—to achieve wholeness for ourselves and our families and our communities?
So many things in the world lead to brokenness—addiction, anger, depression, violence, divorce, unemployment, jealousy, poverty, etc. King David reminds us that it takes perseverance and tenacity to achieve lasting wholeness—and that the struggle is worth it.
Holy, Healthy and Whole For Others
King Solomon was blessed with the wisdom to put it all together—holiness, health and wholeness—for others. Solomon’s life’s work was the construction of the temple. When the temple was finally dedicated, Solomon offered a blessing and petitioned God to use the temple, his life's work, not just for his own glory, but to bless all of Israel and everyone else who came to Israel because of the temple. What if we, too, asked God to use all that God has blessed us with and all that we have worked to achieve to bring holiness, health and wholeness to everyone with whom we come in contact?
Over the next four weeks at HERITAGE we’ll look at these four kings and the things they did to change their lives and the lives of the people of Israel. As we do that, we’ll learn that we have more power to change our lives and influence our communities than we think.
So, would you change anything if you were king or queen?
If I were king, there’d be some changes made.
See you Sunday.