The People of God--God's Kingdom--I
A fourth metaphor the Bible uses to describe the people of God is God's kingdom. In this metaphor, God is compared with a king, and his people are compared with the kingdom he rules. This is a very difficult metaphor for people in the contemporary world really to comprehend and appreciate, because modern peoples tend to have democratic political systems rather than absolute monarchies, as was quite common in the ancient world.
In God's kingdom, God alone is king. All people in his kingdom are subject to his absolute rule. God's kingship is multifaceted.
1. God is king of the world and of the nations.
"Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
How awesome is the Lord Most High,
THE GREAT KING OVER ALL THE EARTH!
He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.
God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to OUR KING, sing praises.
FOR GOD IS THE KING OF ALL THE EARTH;
sing to him a psalm of praise.
GOD REIGNS OVER THE NATIONS;
GOD IS SEATED ON HIS HOLY THRONE.
The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
FOR THE KINGS OF THE EARTH BELONG TO GOD;
he is greatly exalted."
The nations of the world may never recognize or acknowledge that Yahweh is in control of the world and of their rulers and peoples, but the fact remains that Yahweh is indeed in control of all he has created, and thus he uses nations and peoples as he wills to carry out his purposes. To tiny human beings on earth, it may appear that another human being or a nation is in control, but this is never the case.
Isaiah 40:15, 17-18, 21-25:
"Surely the nations are like a drop [hanging] from a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. . . .
Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing.
To whom, then will you compare God?
To what image will you compare him? . . .
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
HE SITS ENTHRONED ABOVE THE CIRCLE OF THE EARTH,
AND ITS PEOPLE ARE LIKE GRASSHOPPERS.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
HE BRINGS PRINCES TO NAUGHT
AND REDUCES THE RULERS OF THIS WORLD TO NOTHING.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.
'To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?' says the Holy One."
Yahweh is the incomparable creator and sustainer of all that exists in heaven and on earth. Before him, the nations are like a drop of water hanging from a bucket, like a speck of dust on the scales, like grasshoppers; they are nothing--no--they are "less than nothing." God's rule is absolute, eternal, and universe-wide. He alone is king. There is no other.