(by Pastor Joe)
1 Kings 16
It has been said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The last six chapters of 1 Kings are strong evidence for the truth of this statement.
- Despite all his great wisdom, Solomon wastes his power in self-indulgence.
- His son Rehoboam is so puffed up with pride, he allows power to blind him to his own political weakness
- Jeroboam squanders his opportunity with power in idolatry
- Baasha murders a king to gain his power, yet his own son Elah is himself murdered by the usurper Zimri
- Zimri's reign of power lasts a whole week before his life is swallowed up in a fiery suicide.
- Omri takes his power and somehow manages to do worse than every king before him (16:25)
- Ahab marries perhaps the most infamous and power-hungry woman in history- Jezebel, and even outdoes his father Omri in evil (16:33).
What a legacy! What a mess!
Who wants that kind of power? Can you handle it without getting seriously burned?
But despite a clear history of power destroying those who have it, mankind has sought it out with a fervent lust. Whether it is on top of the heap like a Pharaoh or a Caesar, or merely a local magistrate or ruler, to have authority over others has been the standard goal for many.
And into this environment enters Jesus Christ. The only one who ever really had absolute power. The only real King and Master. And what does he do? He says He "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)." He tells his followers that fighting about the usual pecking order was not for them, that instead "whoever wants to be first must be slave of all (Mark 10:44)." He refuses to be made king by a well fed mob (John 6:15). He humbly washes feet, and call us to do the same (John 13). He backs up his words and commands by willingly laying down his life for others as he dies upon a cruel cross.
That's my King! I want to be like Him! Every other emperor, general, admiral, cardinal, president, czar, pope, prime minister, chancellor, and monarch pales in comparison.