RISK, RESIST, REBUILD…RENEW, RESTORE, REBUILD
RESTORED TO SERVICE
“OUR FAITHFUL QUEEN – 70 YEARS OF FAITH AND SERVICE”
On the 6th February 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor became Queen and arrangements for her coronation began in earnest. As part of her preparations, she was given “A Little Book of Private Devotions” by Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to prepare her spiritually with 33 daily short devotions leading up to her coronation on the 2nd June 1953 in Westminster Abbey – the 70th anniversary of which we celebrate this weekend – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
At the heart of the coronation ceremony, and shielded from the cameras by a canopy, the Queen was anointed with oil – symbolically and spiritually setting her aside for service for God and the nation.
This anointing would be meaningless if it were not for the request she made in the year she became Queen for the Commonwealth to pray “that I may faithfully serve Him [God] and you, all the days of my life. This was a promise that she has kept faithfully for 70 years. Her formal title was to be “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”. She has always taken these titles seriously.
The anointing was for God’s power – by His Holy Spirit – to equip her for this role of service.
Geoffrey Fisher added these words for her as she prepared herself for her coronation:
“I have not chosen this office for myself: He has appointed me to it, and I go to be consecrated to it by Him…’Be it unto me according to Thy will’; ‘not what I will, but what Thou Wilt’. And because He leads, I may follow in complete trust”
By accepting her role, the Queen sacrificed her personal preferences and private life to adopt a life of duty and service in obedience to God’s call, trusting Him to lead her.
A life of faithful service to God and her nation was one she had already promised. On her 21st birthday she spoke to the nation:
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. But I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it”
In her first Christmas broadcase as Queen in 1952 she re-emphasised her dedication:
“At my Coronation next June, I shall dedicate myself anew to your service. I shall do so in the presence of a great congregation…Pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life”
The most sacred part of the Coronation was the “anointing” – this was not televised, it was considered too holy, and the Queen was shrouded by a canopy from view. But here are some of the words that she spoke at this point:
By the anointing God makes, blesses and consecrates me Queen: and I am till my dying day ‘His anointed servant’”.
What an incredible example to us all is that of this monarch, who every year in her Christmas broadcast reaffirms her commitment to God and to us – in His service.
MOSES, THE SERVANT OF GOD
And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said (Deuteronomy 34: 5)
At his death, Moses was honoured with the title “servant of the Lord”. Think about it…what greater honour could any of us wish to receive?
But, we must see that Moses was not just the servant of God…he was more than this:
‘When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. 7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. (Numbers 12: 6-7)
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 ‘Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3: 1-6)
As God’s servant, he served “God’s house” – that is, God’s people, the Hebrews. And as servant he was honoured with another title – “faithful”. He was not only committed to serving God by serving His people, but he was faithful in serving them – he served no others and he put their best interests before his own.
Was he always this “faithful servant”?
No…I think not.
Exodus 2: 11-12 tells us this about the young Moses:
11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labour. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
Watching the Hebrews and his reaction to seeing them being beaten shows that, even though he was brought up as a “Prince of Egypt” he identified with his own people…but this does not make him God’s faithful servant…
He kills the Egyptian beating a Hebrew…but this does not make him God’s faithful servant. In fact, this was an act of murder (or, at the very least, manslaughter) and nothing suggests that he was obeying a command from God to slay this man.
Exodus 2: 14 describes what happened when his crime began to be talked about:
Moses was afraid and thought, ‘What I did must have become known.’
His panic and flight was not the act of being God’s faithful servant.
The story continues with his marrying Zipporah, the daughter of Reuel/Jethro, becoming a shepherd and fathering two children. The suffering of the Hebrews back in Egypt intensifies…but Moses does nothing more…there is no sense yet that he is acting as God’s faithful servant…
And then he meets with God at the burning bush (Exodus 3) on Mount Horeb, the “mountain of God” (verse 2). And finally, with Moses aged 80, God is given a task to do – he is finally called to be God’s servant. And his task?…
“So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (verse 10)
…and Moses’ response?… was to give God a whole pile of reasons (excuses) as to why he couldn’t actually be the servant of God…(to paraphrase)…”I’m a no-body (verse 11), I wouldn’t know what to say to Your people (verse 13), they won’t believe me when I say You have sent me to them (Exodus 4 verse 1), I’m not eloquent – I won’t speak to them well (verse 10), I don’t want to do this (verse 13)”.
God shoots down each of Moses’ excuses in turn and finally gets pretty angry with him!
And THEN Moses submits to God’s calling and goes, and challenges Pharoah, and finally leads the Hebrews out in the Exodus, crossing the Red Sea, and listens to God on Mount Sinai, and brings the Law of God to the people. He became the faithful servant of God.
When did he become the servant of God?…When he ran out of arguments; when he surrendered his whole life to the service of the LORD; when he no longer did what he wanted to do but did what God wanted him to do; when he stopped asking God to help him in his plans and started helping God in His plans; when everything that was his was handed over to God to become His – his life, his family, his career, his possessions…his all.
“YOU”….(INSERT YOUR NAME HERE), THE SERVANT OF GOD
God is calling us to be restored to the position for which we were always destined for – His servants on earth. In general terms we are called to make disciples of all nations; in specific terms this might be as Pioneers – evangelists, or as Settlers – bringing God’s Kingdom culture to the area where we live. We are being called right now to be restored as servants of God through being teachers, mothers, office workers, nurses, shop assistants, friends, neighbours, choir members, bowling club bowlers, pigeon fanciers…everything.
Her Majesty, the Queen, committed herself 70 years ago to be God’s faithful servant by being His servant to the people of the nation, Empire and Commonwealth. “Through thick and thin” she has remained faithful to this task and we honour her with our thanks during these twilight years of her life.
The book “Our Faithful Queen” declares this in its opening pages:
Just as God has equipped the Queen for her role as Sovereign over the past 70 years and answered her prayers, Christians believe that God wants to equip each of us for our roles in life and invites us to talk to Him in prayer so He can answer our prayers too”
What about you, what about me? Can we, with hand-on-heart, say that we are the servants of God?
Let’s make a decision, right now, to be restored to this most honoured of positions. How do we do this? Simple…just pray a prayer of commitment that, from this day forward, we are going to live the lives to which we have been called, as faithful servants of the God who saved us and promises us Paradise. Simple to say…a life long of hard service to achieve.