Stories From the Field

Kiss the King

“Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

(Psalm 2:10-12)

“If you come for the king, you best not miss…”

The quotation above is taken from a very popular drama series about the lives of those caught up in the complicated mess of generational poverty, drug and human trafficking, policing, and politics of inner city Baltimore. It’s spoken by a very clever and dangerous character who knows that a rival gang is plotting to catch him in the open and end his life. His meaning is clear: “They better succeed in the attempt. Because if they don’t, I won’t fail in my retribution.”

As we wake up to a very sunny and beautiful morning here in Sofia, Bulgaria, our eyes, minds, and hearts are focused thirteen hours to the east…to the same place holding the attention of the rest of the world, at the moment. We do so with no concern for ourselves. We live in a country which joined NATO and the European Union fifteen years ago, buffered by other nations and a large body of water from the aggressor. But we watch with intense sadness and concern for our fellow human beings–the citizens of Ukraine–our fellow Christian brothers and sisters in the church of Ukraine, and our fellow missionaries still in the country, by choice.

But like so many of you, we also watch with anger. One whom Psalm 2 would consider a petty king of the earth has brought his army to roll over a peaceful nation. He demands that all in his way would offer him a kiss of fear or friendship. But this passage from our God reminds us that he is not the king to fear or befriend. In an ultimate sense, that place has only ever been held by One. And He speaks in this psalm most specifically to the unjust, self-aggrandizing, and ruthless kings of the earth. His judgment upon His enemies in Psalm 2 is striking and dreadful to contemplate. A sentence with no court of appeal. A judgment handed down without mercy. A wrath with no room for a brokered deal.

A long time ago His greatest enemies–cosmically greater than any Eurasian potentate–came for the king and they didn’t miss. In fact, they took Him down. But they didn’t realize that when He fell, He took all their weapons and terrible power down with Him. And they didn’t realize that when He rose again, He would no longer be vulnerable to any power of theirs, and they would have nowhere to run nor hide, no weapon with which to defend themselves. And they didn’t realize that when He went down and rose again, He took all those He came to save with Him.

This is why missionaries stay in Ukraine, and why they continue to go out to all the nations of the world…reached and unreached, old and new frontiers, unchurched and de-churched…because they know there are many who will have a desire to take refuge in the King, a desire to kiss the King. They just need the King to kiss them first through the message His followers bring.

Author: John Burger