In its early days, when Israel was going through its birth pangs as a nation, God led them to Mt Sinai where they would be given their law. Three prerequisites to any kingdom include: a king, a territory, and a law. With God as their King and Canaan as their soon-to-be-conquered territory, all that remained were rules of conduct to govern their lives. When, after forty days, Moses returned from the mountain-top with tablets of stone upon which God had written the Ten Commandments, he found the people engaged in the idolatrous worship of a golden calf. In righteous indignation, Moses shattered the tablets at the foot of the mountain. Then, he burned the golden calf, ground it into powder, scattered it over the surface of the water and made the people drink it (Ex. 32:19-20). Then, when Moses saw that the people were getting out of control, he stood at the gate of the camp and cried out, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” (vs. 26). Three thousand men fell that day in the fury of God’s judgment (vs. 28). How could they so quickly forget the God who had provided such marvelous deliverance?
Centuries later, on the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of Christ, another kingdom was brought into existence. Peter’s message on that occasion centered on the fact that Jesus, whom they had crucified, had been made “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus had been crowned “King of kings” (Rev. 17:14). But, in addition to a king, a kingdom needs territory. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). His kingdom is in the hearts and minds of His people (Lk. 17:21). Finally, there is the matter of law. A kingdom must have laws by which it is governed. Isaiah described the coming of the Messianic kingdom saying that the law would go “forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Is. 2:3). This law did not come through Moses, but through Jesus the Son of God. It was not received from the top of a mountain but from heaven itself. It was not accompanied by the death of three thousand but by the rejoicing of three thousand souls who gave their hearts and lives to their new king (Acts 2:41).
Paul, like Moses, was amazed at how some could so quickly desert their Deliverer (Gal. 1:6). As Moses asked, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”, so also Christ asks His disciples to faithfully align themselves with His cause. The pressure to conform to the thinking and behavior of the world—our tendency to forget about even things of great significance—our ability to lose sight of things spiritual, focusing instead on things which can be seen, felt, and experienced with the natural senses—all of this calls us to count the cost of our discipleship and firmly place ourselves in the camp of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sometimes it can be confusing for us to know who is truly on the Lord’s side. There are no uniforms in the army of the Lord—no special insignias, badges, wrist bands, or necklaces. We know them by their fruit and the love that they have for one another (Mt. 7:16; Jn. 13:35). While it may be confusing at times for us to know who is truly on the Lord’s side, be assured of one thing: “The Lord knows those who are His” (2 Tim. 2:19).
written by Glen Elliot
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