Something I figured out a loooong time ago (about when I first surrendered to Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior) was that the only One Who has “divine right” (for clarity, see: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/divine+right) is the only One Who -IS- in fact divine.
I have long stated what’s so obvious there isn’t likely a need to explain, simply that our major issue in the western world (as well as most of the rest of it) is we each want to -be- God.
Faith in the west isn’t always linked to loving obedience to the true Christ, it’s linked to self, personal satisfaction, “get-what-I-want-or-else” approaches to relationships of all sorts, marriage, school, work, hobbies, etc., etc..
The kings of England and plenty more rulers wanted/want to somehow sustain position, influence and power, sometimes beyond all else.
Who, in a position of great, small or near-zero influence and power, doesn’t find great motivation and sometimes temptation (self, personal interests) to demand such?
I find such temptation and in some cases, daily life laced with such attitudes world-wide, but in more privileged, opulent nations and spaces it may be more entrenched.
Perhaps some of my readers know about Bishop Romero, a martyr in El Salvador. If not, I was asked and gratefully recorded some on a project worth knowing about that speaks to anything BUT “divine right”, this humble but bold, gracious man (among others brought to light in this amazing project) has much to teach us about loving the poor, outcast and “least of these”. Please see: http://www.themartyrsproject.com/index2.html
I’ve been reading through Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” again this past week… slowly. This incredible German knew he would end up likely paying dearly, possibly (as he did) the ultimate price for love of God and nation, but what an understanding of sacrifice and service to those in need during the Second World War!
“I was a prisoner and you came to me” indeed. He became a prisoner and martyr when he had ample opportunity and requests for safety and positions of prestige in both the U.S. and England, both places he could have so easily fled and been “in the driver’s seat”.
John the Baptist’s “He must increase and I must decrease” rings in my mind.
Am I saying you or I are in any sense martyrs or going to suffer such? No. AT best, I really have no idea. Or that only “good and Christ-like” leaders, governing authorities and others in power are always loving, gracious and end up martyred? No again.
Truly evil, self-serving dictators in all areas of life are at times killed, come to horrific finality and one would not rightly call such “martyrdom” (say, Saddam for example) but in such cases we might best use the term “justice”. The ultimate drop here is unless one repents and surrenders to the true Divine, ever more justice is coming after our death… however the end comes for each one of us.
Heinrich Himmler personally gave the order to execute Bonhoeffer just days before D.B.’s camp was liberated. Himmler was near-surely an atheist, but he acted-out divine right much as his Furher likely believed he himself to be God.
Bonhoeffer surrendered to His Lord and “decreased” in the best sense though his final “cross” was a hangman’s noose. Himmler may -still- be more famous than Dietrich! Think that’s true in heaven?!
The problem is that “divine right” is not only a concept of ruling powers, it is a concept each of us must surrender in loving obedience to the only One who truly -has- such right by His very nature.
Things to consider as we approach the coming elections regardless who you vote for?
Tozer said it well- if one will be satisfied with an imaginary savior one must be satisfied with an imaginary salvation.
Paul writes in Philippians 2 that Jesus “emptied himself taking the form of a servant”.
That’s right for us all.
Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn