For Elohim is the King of all the earth Psalm 47:8 (Hebrew text)
King – While we don’t often think about it, the political landscape of the Bible is so radically different from our contemporary experience of government that we easily make assumptions about God’s government that really don’t fit Scripture at all. Reconsidering the implications is especially crucial in the face of the nearly universal emphasis on representative government through elections. Confusing our Greek-based legislative process with anything about how God rules is a tragic mistake. We need a clear picture of what it means to be King of all the earth.
I have translated this verse with the Hebrew word elohim instead of “God” because it is important to see that the psalmist is not saying that YHWH is king. In this verse, the being who holds the royal title Elohim is recognized as melek (king). It just so happens that there is only one such being with this royal title, namely YHWH, but the point is this: the very word elohim implies “King.” In our translations, every time we see elohim translated as “God,” we are to think of the Being Who is King of all the earth.
What does it mean for God to be King? Well, for one thing it certainly means that God is not the head of a democracy. For all of our ranting and raving about the excellencies of democracies, there is no democracy under God. “One nation under God” sends the wrong message. No one votes to make God King. He is King by divine right of creation. He will always be King. He will never be elected out of office nor will He ever complete His term.
Of course, this also implies that His government is not determined by the will of the people nor by votes in the legislature. God rules by decree. What He says is law. There is no appeal, no supreme court, no debate and no referendum. All of those concepts which we normally associate with government do not apply. To think of our relationship to God in categories that function within our governmental processes is to make a tragic mistake. God is the eternal King, not president. Because God is King, everything is under His control. He determines who lives and who dies. He decides if it rains or not. He sets the limits to human existence and the consequences for disobedience. You and I don’t have any say in the matter. No one argues with a king, especially with the King of everything.
It is the King’s right and prerogative to involve himself in any aspect of any life under His authority. Furthermore, since God is the King of all the earth, everything belongs to Him. He doesn’t have to prove ownership in a court of law. He cannot be stripped of His property. What He decides to do with His possessions (including you and me) is entirely up to Him. And He holds everyone under His domain accountable for their treatment and stewardship of His resources. There are consequences for refusing to live according to the will of the King.
In the days when we are awash in political rhetoric and the promises of leadership, it is well to remember who the King really is. No matter who we choose to lead us, they must answer to Him. So must we for our choosing. If we choose leadership that does not honor Him, we will pay the price. There is only one King, and He is not on the ballot.
Topical Index: Government