Daily Archives: January 11, 2008

Getting Ready for the King

Americans have no idea what it means to live in a land with a king. Our president may be the most powerful political leader in the world. But our chief executive has to ask for his job every four years and is limited in what he can do.

I quickly learned in Morocco that a king is a completely different matter. The king is ruler for life. He has ultimate power over the military, the government, the culture and the people. He demands ultimate loyalty from his subjects.

The current king is King Mohammed VI, a progressive Muslim leader who has strived to modernize the country and bring civil rights reform. Of course, he has his critics. Morocco faces a number of challenging issues including: poverty, illiteracy, religious tolerance and education.

While in Morocco, you can’t help but see the king. His picture is everywhere. Generally, the people all spoke well of the king. I think the people really like him because he has attempted to balance Morocco’s past with a sight to the future.

Morocco’s 350-year-old dynasty is the world’s oldest next to the Japanese imperial dynasty. Its king claims to be directly descended from the prophet Mohammed.

Morocco’s “citizen king” and “first servant,” has tried to create a place where both old and new can flourish. That’s a good thing. I can see that how a king rules has a big impact on the everyday life of a people.

Proverbs 29:2,4 says, “When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan…By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.” 

As good as the best earthly king can be, he is still fallible person. But as a Christian, I serve the one true God – the King of Kings. Yet, I struggle to really understand what this means because I have never lived in a country with a king.

While in Morocco, I got a peak into how a king impacts everyday life. First, the king’s picture is everywhere. All businesses and public places must have a picture of the king in prominent display. Second, the king has the final authority over the legislature. The king is the commander of the army. He is the protector of the people in both a military and moral law sense. His picture is on the money. He owns much of the resources in the country. He is the most famous celebrity in the country. The king is all over the newspapers.

When the king comes to town, it is a big deal. I mean a huge celebration. For a rural town, the king may only come there once or twice in his reign. If you get the rare pleasure of having a personal audience with a king, his subjects don’t just smile and shake his hand. They should kneel on one knee and kiss his hand or foot. 

While in the remote areas of the country, I heard about how the king came to one village and the people spent a year getting ready for just that one day. Wow! I serve the King of Kings and struggle sometime to “prepare” 30 minutes a day for His next earthly visit.

I was humbled by what I saw in the devotion of the Moroccan people to their imperfect king. Why do I struggle to match that sense of awe when the one that I serve made it all?

Satellite Messengers

My spiritual mentor likes to remind me that God can speak through just about anything including the mouth of a donkey. See the story of Balaam in the Hebrew Scriptures.

I don’t know if this reference is meant as an encouragement or if my mentor is trying to say that we can all be an ass sometimes. Maybe both.

I have learned that God can use anything to get out His message and bring His rule to the earth. He even uses half-hearted, misguided efforts of Western Christians to impact the unsuspecting with the truth of the Christian Gospel. I saw this while in Morocco last summer.

While walking through Casablanca, I noticed the satellite dishes strung across the tops of almost all the buildings and housing complexes in the city. Our guide and fellow humanitarian worker told us that Moroccans love to get European broadcasting on TVs. We even saw satellite dishes in some of the slum areas. A lot of the program is downright evil and smut.

Our friend also said that God has used the TV to bring the Gospel to the country. He recounted several stories of people he personally knew who had been saved and accepted Christ by watching religious television. Some of these people stumbled upon the message by accident and where gripped by its truth.

Evidently, American televangelists had made a difference by piping in Christian teaching through satellite broadcasts. This challenged my longstanding bias against TV preachers.

I always snicker when I think of most televangelists. I don’t think much of many of these preachers except someone like Billy Graham. I know of a number of Americans who react negatively to Christians because of TV evangelists. These people saw things on TV that made them get the wrong idea about God. But the Holy Spirit has used televangelists in Morocco, which is closed off to active missions work to native citizens.

The Spirit spoke to me that day and impressed this thought onto my conscience, “Don’t be so quick to judge. I am working through imperfect vessels, just like you. The message is powerful  and perfect despite the falliblity of the messengers.”

I felt humbled by these satellite messengers who had been there long before I arrived and would remain after I left for home. God truly does work in mysterious ways. He even uses people that I think give Him a bad name. I am sure there are some people who might think the same thing of me.

My lesson that day was that God can truly use a donkey or satellite TV as His messengers.