“I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty. Isaiah 19:4, NIV
Spirits sometimes manipulate human affairs, and the outcome of an election might not always be an expression of the will of the people but the will of spirits – good or bad. In our text, God says He would send “a cruel master” to be ruler over a people doomed for judgment; that He himself would supervise the process by which the ruler would emerge, who would not only be a “cruel” person but also a very undemocratic “master.”
The same God Who chose David over His people Israel, Who gave the wise Solomon to be ruler over the same blessed people, also sends cruel masters over those due for judgment. An election result therefore, might not always be the expression of the will of the voters, much less a coup or a rigged election. Sometimes a particular leadership – of an organisation, an institution, a church, a country, could be sponsored by spirits good or evil. God informed King Nebuchadnezzar, “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Daniel 4:32), and God still gives thrones.
If it is God who makes the ultimate ‘electoral’ decision, if it is He who decides who becomes a ruler (which certainly does not sound agreeable to common sense), then we have to side with Him to have Him give us His kind of king. Some kings are a divine punishment upon those over whom they rule. It is up to the people whom they receive: a punishment king or otherwise.
Kindly hear this parable from the first chapter of 1 Kings. The time came for David to step down for a new king to emerge. One likable prince “exalted himself, saying, I will be king” (v.5). It was a passion, an ambition, a desperate drive long incubated, a vow he had made to himself. He had masses on his side; he had “horses and chariots” on his side; he had the de facto Joab - the army commander, on his side; he had Abiathar a prominent priest on his side, but the voices of Nathan the prophet and David the King he did not have (vv.7-8). He made a lavish propaganda party where he “slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle… in abundance” (v.9, 19). Seduced by the promise of such abundant food, and by deceit, “all the king's sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest” had been compromised. Can princes and priests also be seduced by food? Over this wrong man, they all prophesied and prayed in the name of the Lord, saying, “God save the king” (v.25). They announced him king. In the end, however, he did not rule whom they had announced king. Solomon came on the throne. Not even the partnership of a prominent priest with the man of the moment had changed the mind of God.
Adonijah had pubic support, Solomon had divine support. Adonijah sought to make himself king, God made Solomon king. The man who had received public endorsement succumbed to the one who had been anointed in the secret throne-room. In the end, the ‘election’ had not turned out as the first headlines had announced, and as those who walk by sight and statistics had predicted. Surprises 2015. However, in the short intervening dispensation between the celebrations of Adonijah and the coronation of Solomon, may the King in the Throne Room hear the voices of the prophets and the mothers (vv.11-32), and may Joab then be under watch and restraint. Amen.
God still makes kings. May He not send us a punishment ruler, but grant us rulers after His heart, Amen.
From The Preacher’s diary.