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Of Monsters and Fear-Based Kingdoms

As the parent of young children who are constantly imagining new worlds and creating new environments in which they are the boss, I often get to be whatever it is they declare me to be.

Recently, this has been in a game they call “Be a Monster.” In this game, I start out by being a scary monster, chasing them around the house, snorting, growling and trying to capture them. If I capture one of them, I take them to prison where they must be rescued by someone else.

We’ve played this countless times, and one of the first things they realized was that if, once I had captured one of them, they somehow managed to “kill me” I would fall limply to the ground and the prisoner would escape. While down on the ground pretending to be dead, they would push some imaginary buttons on me and say something to the effect of, “Be a daddy, come alive.” I would then pop up as their dad, give them many hugs and kisses until they realized that the game was more fun when I was a monster.

And the whole thing would begin again.

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In 1 Kings 12 we read that after Solomon’s death, Israel is divided into a Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom. Jeroboam reigned in the North over ten of the tribes from Israel, just as Yahweh has promised him years before.

But Jeroboam was afraid. He was afraid that his people would continue in their custom of visiting the Temple in Jerusalem in order to offer sacrifices, and that as they did so they would leave his kingdom and return to the southern king Rehoboam – and Jeroboam’s rule would slowly die away.

So in fear he created his own places of worship – golden calves and other altars throughout the northern kingdom so that his people would not leave. He did all that he could to maintain a sense of power, a sense of control over the situation. And his disobedience to Yahweh cost him not only his God-given position but also his life.

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As I think about these two stories, I’m reminded of my own desire to control my surroundings out of fear. If I can just create this, do this or be this type of person I’ll be secure, my life will be good.

If I don’t like the monster, I can resurrect it as a daddy. When the daddy overwhelms me with love I can bring back the monster. I make the rules. I enforce them. I create my environment. I can manipulate it to get my way, to make sure I stay in control, to make sure my fears are never realized.

But this fear-based kingdom is nothing more than an idol. It is nothing more than my personal attempt to be God.

And living in this fear-based kingdom keeps me from experiencing a God whose imagination is so much bigger than I could ever dream.

Let’s stop our fear-based kingdom building. Let’s begin to believe the promise that while we may not be able to control our reality we serve One whose imagination for us and for this world is so much more than our puny attempts to be King or Queen for a day.

 

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  1. Brother James
    November 29, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Really a very nice piece! Well done.

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