The Song of the Mountains – verse XXXIV.
I clearly remember my first job. When I was a teenager I worked as a bagger and stock clerk at a grocery store. I learned quickly, very quickly, that when I was “on the clock” that my time was not my own. I could not be about my own business, I had to be about the managers business. At times it seemed that I was expected to be in multiple places at once, and for some reason excuses as to why I could not be were never accepted. Perhaps not the best introduction, but the underlying message is pertinent to this article. Being about our Father’s business.
Disciples of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus are ambassadors for a kingdom, specifically the Kingdom of Heaven. As we pray for the advancing of His Kingdom, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10) we recognize that in the life of faith the interests of the Lord are of primary importance in our walk here on the earth. How is this evidenced? There are many answers to this, but chief among them is our care and concern for others – not just those we are naturally inclined to love, but those who are strangers to us as well.
When Yeshua is tested regarding the principal commands of the Torah (Matt. 22:34-40), He answers, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
These types of distillations of the Torah were common Jewish teaching devices. They helped the average person meditate, recall, and walk out the commands of the Torah. While one might not be able to remember every word of Deuteronomy 6 or Leviticus 19, one could easily remember the Sh’ma (Hear Israel), loving the Lord, and loving their neighbor as yourself. All other commands of the Torah, and corrections of the Prophets, find their roots in these two commands.
The Devil, and flesh inclined men, cannot give you a love for God and a love for people. This is counter-intuitive to Satan’s nature, and that of fallen man – as this love is self-sacrificial. As we are to be about our Father’s business, actively involved in cares and concerns of life around us, we are putting into action the words “Your kingdom come,” and laying aside “my will be done.”
Here is a secret: the Kingdom of God is ruled by the Father. He is Lord. The Kingdom has come, in part, in the person of Yeshua, and in those renewed in Him. Yet, we are still praying for, and advancing His Kingdom by putting our love for Him, our concern for His glory, and love for others – as witness of our love for Him – above all else.
We still await the inauguration, and the consummation of the Kingdom before our eyes. Nevertheless, this now but not yet, does not diminish the present reality of His Kingdom. As we pray “Your Kingdom come,” we recognize the Kingdom that already is, and ask that its presence advances throughout the earth until the day when, “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and He will reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).
Living in its Power.
Disciples of Messiah are to live as having experienced the power of Messiah’s rule. This power will be evident by living a resurrected life. The old man, with his nature, replaced by the renewed man in Messiah. Still, we are living in the times between the coming of Messiah, and the inauguration of His Kingdom. In these times we continue to fight the fight of faith, do all unto His glory, and reach those who have not experienced His saving power.
As we consider the biblical data, we find paradox. The last days began when Messiah was resurrected. His resurrection ushered in the Kingdom, in part. Yet, the present age still lingers. There is, presently, a simultaneous presence of the former and future realities existing in a Semieschatological condition.
Disciples, then, live in a now but not yet; a present but future reality. The advancing age, and coming Kingdom are manifest through us as heavens ambassadors.
In James 1:27 we read, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Religious faith, living faith, that is pure and holy involves all manner of action and words – from prayer, to self-sacrificial action by involvement in life around us. It encompasses all that is associated with advancing His Kingdom.
All too popular today is a type of messianic faith that is man-centric, not God-centric. What can I get from Him, as my blessing for obedience, devotion, and service? How can I be prosperous in order to provide evidence of His blessing?
The Father blesses, this is His nature, and an expression of love for His children. Furthermore, as we find in Scripture, there is nothing inherently wrong with wealth, apart from what man is naturally inclined to do with it. Scripture is clear, as we walk faithfully with Him we are blessed; it does not need to be the center of teaching within the congregation – as teaching should teach the disciple. Prosperity focused teaching is man-focused teaching. It is not discipleship. It is not Kingdom advancing.
What does He mean?
By teaching us to pray, “Your Kingdom Come,” Yeshua is asking us to focus on the Lordship of the Father, to shine forth His love, grace, and mercy to those around us – not only in a “Church building,” but also through our interactions in the community. Give people hope.
When Yeshua began His ministry, He cried out, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” It was a call to a change in lifestyle, and attitude that was in keeping with the message of heaven – changing the mind. He calls us to walk in the reality of heaven, even while we are in the midst of difficult circumstance – if you recall, the Sermon on the Mount began with the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
So why pray this way?
Why did Yeshua teach us to pray in this way? Why should we pray for the advancement and revelation of His Kingdom? Simple: it gets our eyes off ourselves. As we will learn, praying for His Kingdom, and His concerns come before our own. We are praying for God’s burden, not our own. We are placing Him above ourselves – and this is not easy.
When you are working for an employer it takes time and dedication – the job is not done all at once – and so it is with the Lord; we do more and more for Him, which ultimately makes a difference in the life and hope of those around us. To the glory of His name, and His Kingdom.
Shalom. Be well.