Now the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, Rechab and Baanah, set out, and about the heat of the day they came to the house of Ish-bosheth as he was taking his noonday rest. And they came into the midst of the house as if to get wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rechab and Baanah his brother escaped. When they came into the house, as he lay on his bed in his bedroom, they struck him and put him to death and beheaded him. They took his head and went by the way of the Arabah all night, and brought the head of Ish-bosheth to David at Hebron. And they said to the king, “Here is the head of Ish-bosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life. The Lord has avenged my lord the king this day on Saul and on his offspring.” But David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As the Lord lives, who has redeemed my life out of every adversity, when one told me, ‘Behold, Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and killed him at Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news. How much more, when wicked men have killed a righteous man in his own house on his bed, shall I not now require his blood at your hand and destroy you from the earth?” And David commanded his young men, and they killed them and cut off their hands and feet and hanged them beside the pool at Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-bosheth and buried it in the tomb of Abner at Hebron. II Samuel 4:5-12 ESV
It is an abomination to kings to do evil,
for the throne is established by righteousness.
Righteous lips are the delight of a king,
and he loves him who speaks what is right.
A king’s wrath is a messenger of death,
and a wise man will appease it.
In the light of a king’s face there is life,
and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain. Proverbs 16:12-15 ESV
James T. Kirk was the captain of a starship. He was part of a federation where people were ruled by fair laws, and even people who had power were under the law. No one was above the law to do whatever he or she wanted. But one day Captain Kirk and a few of his crew members, instead of being transported from a planet to their ship, were transported to a different ship in another universe. Everything there was very much like their own universe, and even the people looked the same and had the same names, but in another way everything was very different. In this universe everyone got ahead by using force and hurting other people. There were no good laws, but instead everyone acted in the way that got him or her ahead. Power was everything in this other universe, and people would do anything, no matter how wrong it was, to gain power.
These two universes show two different ways of understanding the world. Rechab and Baanah understood the world to be about getting power and getting ahead with the king. It didn’t matter if what they did was right or wrong, but only if it did something good for them. David had a different way of understanding the world. He knew that as God’s anointed king he needed to build his kingdom on righteousness. That meant that he had to have fair laws and punish what was wrong. Killing an innocent man while he was sleeping, even though it put David ahead and ended the life of his rival for the kingdom, was still wrong. He could never establish a strong kingdom without following God’s righteous laws.
Jesus also built his kingdom on righteousness. None of us could ever hope to be part of his kingdom on our own, because we are all sinners. So Jesus followed God’s holy law perfectly for us. He gives us his righteousness to cover our sins. He also died for us on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Because of Jesus, we are part of God’s perfect kingdom, a righteous kingdom that will last forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me your righteousness and for dying to pay for my sins. Amen.
Bixby, Jerome (Writer) & Daniels, Mark (Director). (1967). Mirror, Mirror [Television series episode]. In Gene L. Coon (Producer), Star Trek. New York: National Broadcasting Company.