The king made his approach. His army behind him. Mighty chariots and horsemen, and many archers and cavalry. His goal was to conquer and keep conquering. It may look like he was a man of focus; but he did not know which land to approach at that point.
He walked up to the three-pronged path (where the road split into two) and pondered. Should he proceed to Rabbah, or should he turn to Jerusalem? He had a treaty with Jerusalem, though he had noticed hostility and rebellion from the king he installed over the throne of Judah after the first incursion. Rabbah, too, needed to be conquered and subdued. But which one should he approach first?
He was confused… But not the angels that accompanied him. He was the representative of the sword of the Lord, and the current vessel through whom the Lord will exert his vengeance. So, the angels watched… But they already knew what the outcome would be.
The king summoned his sorcerers and cast his omen. It was the instrument by which ancient kings made decisions when their own intelligence failed them….
Well, not exactly. The oriental kings were not like us. They acknowledged the existence of spirit beings, and their influence over the world at large. For them, life’s battles were never fought solely on the strength of one’s warpower or intelligence. Thus, it was not unusual for them to seek wisdom and strength from forces beyond this world.
This was how they stayed close to the Almighty. Though several of these kings never worshipped the true God, but God was nearer to them than he is to many in our world today. A superstitious generation who acknowledges the existence of spirit forces is closer to finding God than a generation that has turned full scale humanistic. For all it takes is a little push and the superstitious man would stumble into God; but the Almighty can shout ‘till his lungs break’ to the humanist, and he hears nothing because he believes that nothing exists out there.
So, back to the King and his omen. The king cast his omen, by which he deciphered the will of the gods. He checked this liver and traced the direction of the bones and arrows. In the last analysis, the omen essentially declared JERUSALEM. The pathway to take was Jerusalem.
Even some of the king’s men protested. ‘But we’ve already conquered them. We have signed a treaty with them. They are our colony… Even the current king was installed by us.’
“Well,” the king said, “I know all these too, but remember that they had begun to rebel against us again. The king over there has begun to break his covenant with us. I hear reports that he is reaching out to other nations to help him break away from our hands. So, the omen has spoken, and to Jerusalem we go!”
But no, the king did not understand. It was not really the omen. There in the council of heaven, judgement had been passed on Judah; but the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals it to his servants the Prophets. So, to one prophet called Ezekiel, an exile in Babylon, the word of the Lord came.
Draw the path! Set the road. Declare the judgement. For to Jerusalem, the king of Babylon must go! (Ezekiel 21:18-22)
So, be calm, o king. It was not really about your omen; it was about the Lord’s eternal decree. It was about what had been declared in the prayer altar of the tiny, politically insignificant prophet called Ezekiel. Your omen can only point in the direction the Lord dictates…. “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he’s the Governor amongst the Nations.”
Let the wise hear and learn. Sometimes we complain about the king and his omen. We wonder why he takes decisions the way he does; but we forget that there is One who is indeed the Governor among the nations. He is the one who rules over the affairs of men and turns the king’s heart wherever He wills.
O that I was not so misguided and lazy! I would have seized bothering myself about the king and his omen and turn to the one who controls the king’s thoughts and can direct his omen. I have become like the proverbial ‘men’ who cry for relief from the arm of the mighty but does not turn to God their maker (Job 35:9-11). If only I can bend my knees and pray. If only I can cease from trusting the arms of the flesh to effect necessary changes in my world. It is only then that I will go down to my altar and craft a pathway for the king’s omen; such that in my own little room, I can make decisions with God that will affect nations.
O make me wise Lord and let me not continue in this path of struggle. For the king and his omen belong to You, and You are the governor amongst the nations.
This is a wise speech; and only the wise will hear the call.