‘…all who see it begin to mock him…’

     The title words are taken from a popular parable of Jesus.  Jesus used parables extensively in His teachings.  Parables can be described as analogies of comparable situations where the familiarities of life’s experiences were used to explain the unfamiliar.
     When Jesus was explaining the cost of being His disciple he compared that cost with a familiar experience, i.e. beginning a project for which the person had not given adequate thought to the cost of completion.
     “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”  Luke 14:28-30
     This parable was brought to life recently when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put forth President Obama’s plan to solve the fiscal challenge facing this nation.  Reaction from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was spontaneous laughter. 
     Senator McConnell’s response might have been prompted by the fact that there were insufficient funds to complete the proposal resulting in debt which would require borrowing.  And to be a borrowing nation is a sign of failure according to the Bible.
     President Obama’s leadership style continues to unwittingly remind Americans of Israel’s first king, Saul.
     Recall that Israel demanded to be ruled by a king instead of being ruled by judges.  God told the Israelites in explicit terms via the prophet Samuel what it would be like to be ruled by a king.
     “So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king…He will take…and appoint…He will appoint…He will take…he will take…He will take…and give…he will take…He will take…”  1 Samuel 8:10-17
     The Hebrew base for ‘take’ is to seize.
     The Israelites would subsequently be sorry for their demands, however, despite Samuel’s warnings, they still insisted on a king and God granted their desires.
     “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you…”  1 Samuel 8:18
     “So the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Heed their voice, and make them a king.’”  1 Samuel 8:22
     One of the reasons Israel wanted a king was so that they could be ‘like all the nations’. 
     And so it is with America.  This nation is becoming alarmingly like the nations of Europe where Christianity is being systematically diminished.  Europe is also suffering from failed multicultural policies, and is drowning in debt. 
     The Bible notes that after the decision for Israel to have a king, there was a very significant mission to accomplish.  The appointed king was sent to locate and recover lost donkeys that had strayed.
   “Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost.  And Kish said to his son Saul, ‘Please take one of the servants…and arise, go and look for the donkeys.’”  1 Samuel 9:3
     Fortunately, the donkeys were found and the anointing could take place.
     “But as for your donkeys that were lost…do not be anxious about them for they have been found…” 1 Samuel 9:20
          Well, Old King Saul was crowned and began his kingship.  Many were elated.
     “So all the people shouted and said, ‘Long live the king!’”  1 Samuel 10:24b
     Not everyone, however, was happy about Saul’s kingship.
     “But some rebels said, ‘How can this man save us?’ So they despised him…” 1 Samuel 10:27
     Well, as this familiar story turned out Saul was subsequently deposed of his kingship because he disobeyed God’s instructions.  His priority focused on pleasing people rather than God.
     “Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.’”  1 Samuel 15:24
     And Saul went down in shame.
     “…Samuel said to Saul…‘for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.’”  1 Samuel 15:26
    The Biblical account of the leader of Israel’s government, i.e. King Saul appears to dispel the imaginary barrier between ‘church’ and ‘state’.

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