As I sat in church this morning a song was sung during the morning worship called “Only King Forever”. Now I have to admit, I have had previous dealings with this song, namely, in college. One of my roommates in my senior year of college was a music major with a concentration on being a sound technichian. He is a stupendous sound tech, however, being a good sound tech involves listening to a song over and over and over and over and over again to listen for where the sound needs to be tweaked a little bit. This particular roommate was working on “Only King Forever” as part of his senior project, and needless to say, everyone in the apartment, including the sound technician, grew weary of the song quickly.
However, despite the fact that I’m not a particular fan of the song as a musical piece in general, the lyrics are what stood out to me this morning. “Only king forever” holds onto this Old Testament tradition of likening God to a victorious and conquering king, slaying any and all enemies that lay in his path. At one point, the bridge speaks about “raising our banner for the name of Jesus”. This tradition comes out of a tribal, and in fact, pagan view of the gods.
The ancient Israelites understood God to be some being in the clouds that needed specific sacrifices in order to appease Him. When He is appeased, then the Israelites find blessing, and generally, win major military victories, such as Jericho and Ai (check out the second fourth of Joshua). When God is displeased, then curses and military losses happen, such as the exile, the battle of Ai(yeah that one again) and pretty much the entire books of Judges, and I Kings-II Chronicles.
Despite this, it is so common