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?