Read His Words Before Ours!
She closed her eyes and rocked back and forth, the floor creaking every time. Her faded yellow blanket was draped over her legs, so only the tips of her brown shoes could be seen. I sat at her feet and watched her intently, determined to predict what she was going to share. She was quiet while I studied her gray hair pulled into a bun and her soft, wrinkled hands folded on her lap. Her face was emotionless, but peaceful.
Then she stopped and looked down at me.
“My sweet child, you’ve heard many stories in your lifetime. Fairy tales about princesses and dragons with handsome princes from far away kingdoms; you’ve known that these stories are just that…stories. But, dear child, I must tell you a true story, it may seem distant and perhaps strange, but one where you are one of the characters.
“There were two Kingdoms with two rulers and a beautiful woman, who had long brown hair that curled towards the ends. She had big blue eyes that held a world of curiosity, and she wore a simple brown dress that hung loosely over her shoulders. She lived in a kingdom that was ruled by a master. It was a kingdom that seemed lovely on the outside. There were elegant churches with steeples so high, the tips couldn’t be seen. There were beautiful white beaches with crystal-clear oceans, where people would watch the tide from the grassy bluffs off the shore. The master, however, was evil. He had purposefully made his Kingdom into a land where people would find beauty and joy in the things they did, the places they went to, and the people they lived with. No one found joy in the Maker.
“Despite their happiness, the citizens here were still empty and hollow. Every morning, some of the citizens would rise, walk towards the large cathedral on the hill, and silently climb the steps leading to its entrance. After they entered, they would bow to the front of the building ten times, then turn and walk back down the steps to return to their homes. They had fulfilled their duties for the day. Others would indulge in food and wine day in and day out, trying to fill themselves up, but never satisfying the void inside. Still, others would wake to trudge towards one of the glass buildings, and sit to work. For hours and hours they would be busy, and when they received their pay, their pockets were full, but the emptiness remained.
“The beautiful woman had partaken in all of those practices. She had bowed in the cathedral, filled herself on delectable food and wine, and she’d worked until she couldn’t any more. Yet she found herself in the same predicament as every other citizen in this Kingdom. She was empty, sad, hurt, and confused.
“One night, she found herself walking along the shoreline, staring into the distance, when she saw a light shining through the stillness. Then she heard a Voice, ‘Come.’
She quickly looked around, trying to find its source.
But she was alone.
She shook her head, believing she mustn’t have heard anything at all.
Finding that light again, she studied it, her head tilting as she began to think of what could be out there. Again she heard the Voice, ‘Come to me.’”
The elderly lady stopped speaking to look at me, a smile spread across her lips as she saw the confusion masked on my face. This was unlike any story she’d told before.
“My dear one, I think you know that the beautiful brunette woman, was you.”
While the story the woman is sharing isn’t exactly true, it is completely metaphorical of the images we find dancing across the pages of the book of Romans. Romans paints for us the picture of two Kingdoms. A Kingdom of Death, ruled by a master Paul calls Mr. Death, and a Kingdom of Light, that is governed by the King of Life.
The Kingdom of Death was born through a man called Adam. When Adam first sinned, there came a curse that brought death. While this Kingdom came through Adam, the master is Satan.
Every person is bound up in one of these Kingdoms, and many are completely unaware that their home is actually found in the Kingdom of Death. Here reigns the law and people believe that by following rules, they are doing “enough”, not knowing that they really can never do “enough”. They can bow in worship all day, spend weeks fasting, but that will never be enough. There is no faith, just cold, hard law that can never be fulfilled. Emptiness, death, and loneliness win.
Romans 2 and 7 tell us that the law was created so people would know right from wrong. If there were no law, there would be nothing that defines “sin”, which means breaking the law.
The Kingdom of Death is filled with people consumed in legalism, or sensuality, or people consumed with their work. The citizens of the Kingdom of Death will constantly break the law (sin), even though some will try not to… for that is the impossible task. The citizens of this Kingdom are slaves to their sin. They are empty and sin-filled people, and they still don’t know that.
Maybe you are seeing for the first time that you might just be a citizen in the Kingdom of Death. Maybe you’re trapped by your sin, only pretending that you have it all together. You’re always falling short with an empty void inside. You try to fill that void with companions, religious traditions, or wealth. But you never quite have enough to be satisfied.
The Kingdom of Death dooms its citizens to eternal death.
And there’s only one way out.
Join us tomorrow as we turn the page to read the rest of the story!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!