Note: The Robin Hood part was written in early July during my surgery convalescence when I had the opportunity to watch movies, i.e. Robin Hood – all versions, but especially my favorite. I kept wondering what God wanted me to do with it and today He let me know. This post lines up with my mission statement: The Faith, Love and Politics of Raising Boys to Men.
I also realize this is an unusually long post but it is my birthday week – where I turn 5 decades or 2 score and 10 years – and, while that is really a mighty selfish-excuse to torture such a lovely community with a Moby Dick-esque Tome of a Post, I’m taking full advantage of officially becoming old as dirt!!!! LOL
In the Beginning
Once upon a time, which is always a very long, long time ago, a loving Father created a Garden of Eden for the children He created. There was to be no king, no ruler, no dictator, president, no master, no slave – just a Father-child relationship – whether that child was itty bitty or grown fully.
The Father loved these children, making himself garments of skin for them out of the animals he created, feeding them sweet fruits he designed, allowing their creativity to grow through loving, generous acts of freedom like allowing them to name the animals. Can you imagine how your child would name the animals? I’ve often wondered how Adam and Eve grew to speak – one word at a time? Or did the Father pour language into them?
Many, many years later, He sat with one of the descendants of Adam and Even and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. . . so shall your offspring be” (Genesis 15:5).
One mother and father at a time, those offspring grew to be countless like the stars in the heavens. God no longer sat with them in their tents so much or out under the stars. These children’s children grew more like the world, sometimes forgetting the Father only to remember when times toughened.
Conflict Rising: And the Trouble Starts
Until one day, they decided they wanted a king. Other peoples had kings – and, well, the decided they wanted one, too. So they sought out the prophet because they were kind of scared of the Father in those times and begged the prophet to ask God to set a king over them.
“So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you:
- he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
- And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
- He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
- He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
- He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants.
- He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work.
- He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.
- And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day” (1 Samuel 8:10-18)
Hope in the Rising Conflict
God found a good man, the best man, filled him with His Holy Spirit, allowing Saul to become more than he was – what every man had the opportunity to be with God and the Holy Spirit – but everyman didn’t want that
“Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man”(1 Samuel 10:6)
“When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart” (1 Samuel 10: 9) – something the Father was willing to do for every child of His – but only one man was willing to allow his brokenness to be made whole.
“Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord” (1 Samuel 10:25)
In this book were written things like this:
“When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel” (Deuteronomy 18: 18-20)
Learning Lessons the Hard Way
(Why you Don’t Want Someone Between You and God)
Through many hundreds of years later, many kings later – the children and children’s children met with good, noble, Godly leaders and ignoble, oppressive, cruel, selfish, ungodly leaders.
The Father, He would send Heroes to save His children from the yoke of oppressive leaders – especially when those children remembered Him, crying out to be saved. How many learned to cry out because their children were suffering? How that changes our view of our need for the Father!
God knew a King wouldn’t nurture or love His children like He would. God knew the potential for abuse – for leaders to set aside His laws and install tyranny.
Power in the hands of man risks becoming political – and when one rules to increase power, the freedom of the regular man, the every day man, the child of God becomes smaller.
That day so long ago when the Children of Israel cried out for a King – they handed over their freedom that day, trusting a man with all his potential for strengths and weakness, to rule selflessly like the Father.
When America was born out of religious persecution, when the freedom spirit inside man remembered itself, placed their by God in creation– and cried out to throw the yoke of tyranny from its back –
- checks and balances were put in place to ensure that no man became king, that no man would wrestle away the freedom of their faith,
- That no man’s family could be carried off into slavery – a goal we started with and ultimately achieved.
- That no man’s work of his hands could be confiscated for another’s coffers.
- That no man would die for worshipping the father.
- That no government would force its citizens into immorality (think of how America handled Alvin C York’s right to be a conscientious objector)
The Declaration of Independence was born out of men seeking God’s kind of Freedom, taking out the middle man (the King) to live face-to-face with the Father.
The Part with the Robin Hood
(i.e. the Freedom Fighter, the one who takes out the middle man)
Watching Robin Hood last month with Errol Flynn and Olivia De Havilland was a similar thread woven into the history of kingship and rulers, whether historically, through fairy tales, legends, fables or myths, men stand up to abusive governments and rulers who encroach on God-given inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Robin Hood: “I’ll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I’ll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England.”
Sheriff: You think you’re overtaxed, eh?
Robin: Overtaxed, overworked, and paid off with a knife, a club, or a rope.
Marian: Why, you speak treason.
Robin: Fluently”(Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn)
Watching Robin Hood that night, I thought of the challenges our country faces today, the history of the power of leadership since Saul was anointed – and how fraught that kind of leadership is without men willing to stand up to ensure that leadership stays noble, true and loving each person like the Father intended.
I’ve always heard, “Robin Hood – he steals from the rich to give to the poor.”
This definition of Robin Hood grates on me.
Because it is not true.
Robin Hood stood for Freedom against Tyranny, much like the Sons of Freedom did during the American Revolution.
The working class in Robin Hood’s day, the baker, the butcher, the blacksmith, the farmer, the tradesman were over-burdened with taxes confiscated brutally by a government that sought more and more of their earnings. If they couldn’t pay their taxes, they burnt their houses or confiscated their property, tortured the poor citizen and his family, possibly even hanging, burning or stuffing in a barrel, sealing it and filling it with wine so victim drowned.
Robin Hood, like the Sons of Liberty, fought to remove the government’s taxational foot off the producing neck of the people.
Robin sought to restore to the people their livelihood, their productivity, the ability to provide for their families, the ability to control their own destiny through a healthy work ethic spirit-fed with faith and honor to the Father.
Robin Hood stole from an over-reaching government to return to the working class what was rightfully theirs.
I think Robin Hood was a small-government kind of guy . . . . which was what God intended in the first place.
Restoration takes Work
I think God knew good leadership would require vigilance on the part of the people. We were not created for oppressive leadership. We were not created for big government. As I have said many times before, there is no generosity of spirit without choice.
God designed us to choose to feed the beggar, to help the widow, the sick, the homeless, the lost.
When we give the best of our work to God, and then give the best of the work of our hands to those in need, then we remain in charge of the morality of our hearts.
When we rely on a government to collect the work of our hands to give to those in need, then the government makes those moral decisions for us.
Do you feel comfortable with the decisions and choices your government is making today in your name? Do those expenditures and rules line up with your beliefs – because your name is on that signature.
Robin Hood lost all in his quest for restoring right. He stood up to his community leaders and fought for those who could not fight for themselves.
Just like Paul Revere, George Washington, the Sons of Liberty, the signers of the Constitution.
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security” (Declaration of Independence).
Some historians believe that George Washington leading the American people to freedom was similar to Moses leading the children of Israel out of slavery. Many years later, those very same people would cry out for a King (i.e. big government to come between them and God)
Let us not repeat history and cry out for a King (i.e. big government) to take care of us.
There have been lots of heroes throughout history, a king called David, soldiers who fought to save the innocent – and the greatest hero of all, Jesus Christ.
“Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away”(Matthew 22:17-22)
Let us be a country who from the littlest person to the biggest renders all the God – from our hearts, to our pockets to what is in those pockets, to our time, to the work of our hands, to how we minister to the hurting, hopeless and hungry.
Let us be a country of people living face-to-face with God, not a go-between, not a government.
Let us be a people sitting outside our homes, counting the stars with the Father, one-on-one – just the way He intended.
(Or is it really the beginning)