Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Living in God's kingdom is more exhilarating than what you think. Christians can become dull from abstract preaching and routined and changeless lifestyles. But there is a secret to unlock in the small things of life, a secret that lies right before your nose, in the Bible. Start with asking: Have you ever thought about why Jesus uses so much time explaining life in God as a kingdom? Some say that kings and kingdoms are outdated, while others see it as the grid by which we learn about who God ultimately is: a King.
I want to present an angle to the kingdom of God that you most likely have never heard of. I sure didn't when I discovered it sitting by my bible one day. You know, sometimes we have these moments when we read and ponder the words of God. It is in these moments, he loves to give us one thought that continues into more discovery of who he is. It is like a book that keeps on adding pages when we read through the last page. I hope this post will do the same for you, and bless you with thoughts of God and how beautiful he is.
Without becoming to technical I need to explain a little of how I got to discover this. First things first, I am a Bible-nerd. I like drilling deep into the fabrics and architecture of thoughts and commentaries and lexicons and analytical thinking. The interesting thing about this is that there wasn't to much of that now. It kind of enfolded naturally, which was pleasant experience. So, that's that and let's begin!
Word and war-language
The entry point of this discovery was from a reflection on Psalm 119:160 which reads:
"The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever."
The verse is a pivot-point for the Psalmist that expressing his pain and suffering in the midst of oppression but then rests upon God's Word for comfort and guidance. He also criticizes his oppressors for their complete abandonment of God's word. He side-punches his oppressors for their lack of knowledge of God, being ignorant in their understanding and obedience. It is quite strong language, a language of spiritual war.
Carrying along the idea of a spiritual war, we see a divide between those who see God for what he truly is in the full council of his word, and those who rely on their own measure and authority. Much like our day when ultimate authority is placed with man regardless of his broken state. The psalmist place the spiritual war with the Word of God and it's authority upon ones life as the dividing line. It echoes forward to Hebrews 12:4:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
It is fascinating how the Bible uses regularly war-language when it comes to Scripture. In Hebrews, as well as Ephesians, we have the Word associated with a spiritual sword. And in the gospels, Jesus corrects and dismantles Satan's schemes by the appropriate use of the Old Testament. What are we missing out on here?
Back to Psalm 119:16, we also see a type of war-like or military language used. See especially the word hebrew word ros. Let's take a quick look at the ESV with an inline transliteration and see some other translations:
As you can see the translators all convey the idea of something absolute, a full body of something that consists of parts, something whole or complete. In this case it means the whole council of God's thoughts as it is revealed in Scripture. Another fascinating thing is that it also blends in with the idea of biblical peace, or shalom. But that's for another study.
Let's move further into the discovery that the Psalmist wants us to see something in connection to a spiritual war between two groups. One side depends their thinking on God's Word and that it is the whole council of his words that yield truths about his nature and being and thereby life for our souls, while the other side sets themselves as ultimate authority over their lives and thereby is limited in their source of life. We find another discovery in the fact that the word ros [Hebrew for "sum"], is also used in biblical military language. Most of the times it is translated as "head" in the sense that it represents authority of some person or being.
For example, the-ros-head is used in Genesis 3:15:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Here we read about Jesus Christ the Second Adam, the King that will establish his kingdom of salvation upon the crushing of the serpents head. Christ takes back the keys to the kingdom of man that was given over to Satan. The purpose of the kingdom was to serve as the reflection of God's image and authority on earth. In his power we are restored from our sin into citizens of hope in his kingdom of love and peace. God's kingdom has come, we are restored in Christ!
Can you see how this all ties in? A part of what is means to live in Christ's presence, as a citizen of his kingdom, is to live abounding in his word even in the midst of oppression. Let's join the Psalmist in his cry for deliverance as we hurt, but let us also hold fast to his everlasting word as the anchor to our souls. Let's ascend to the beautiful task of discovering the endless depth of knowing God truly through careful study of his word.