Posted by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker text© 2011 on Oct 28th, 2009
Hello My Dear BlogNog Visitors,
Have you ever wondered, “Where did kings come from?”
With over a hundred castles in the small country of England, it’s not surprising to find a king in an old nursery rhyme.
And when we look at centuries of kings – the awe and deference paid to royalty – the castles, crowns, royal coaches and jewels – we ask: “What does the Bible say about kings?” But first, let’s look at the old nursery rhyme, “Old King Cole” as rendered by Christian Mother Goose.
This merry monarch has danced in and out of many centuries, with some fascinating legends, history and even Christian weavings following his musical entourage. (Perhaps early forerunners of the Bill Gaither Trio?) Nevertheless, even a king needs his soul to be saved. Old King Cole takes us back to the oldest recorded town in Britain, the town of Colchester in southeast England, recorded in 77 A.D.
Colchester Castle is one of many ancient castles in England. One time when my ‘early’ husband and I were visiting castles in England, just for fun we each chose a castle at random to call our own. (I say ‘early’ instead of ‘late’ husband since Dale went to Heaven earlier than the rest of our family.) Dale chose Ruthin Castle, I chose Caernarvon Castle. Poor Ruthin turned out to be a ruin, destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s distaste for pomp. Caernarvon, at 850 years old, is still magnificent! But my ‘early’ Dale has the last laugh. Imagine what he is enjoying in Heaven even as I write this blog!
Colchester claims to be the seat of the real King Cole, a legendary king of the fourth century, at the time when young Constantine (later called Constantine the Great) was actually in Britain. He was there to assist his father, Constantius, Rome’s military commander there.
At the time of King Cole, England was divided into several small kingdoms. By 828 A.D. we find the first king to rule the entire country was King Egbert, whose title was “King of the English.” He reigned 37 years. (Anyone for term limits?)
My favorite English king is Alfred the Great (849-899) and what a great king he was! First, he was a devout Christian; a scholar, and a statesman of great faith and wisdom. God performed mighty miracles through him in defending his kingdom of Wessex, and even winning his enemies to Christ. Alfred shaped laws based upon the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments (the basis of English common law).
Alfred staunchly declared, “There is only one way by which to build a kingdom, and that is by faith in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ crucified.” Oh, that such leaders could be found guiding England and America today!
Alfred formed the first English Navy to defend his kingdom against the constant Viking invasions. He built ships twice as big as theirs, and with a Navy to protect the coast, he then turned to encouraging his people in agriculture, craftsmanship, education and literature. His epitaph reads: “So long as I have lived, I have striven to live worthily.” Yes, I like Alfred!
As a little girl of seven, I remember how special it was to be chosen as one of two “train-bearers” of the local May Queen’s royal regalia. Our picture was put on postcards and I looked quite demure. However, my dignity didn’t last long.
Later in the day, I yielded to the irresistible temptation of popping hot tar bubbles in the new coating of a nearby road. My tar-covered fingers would never do for holding a May Queen’s train. I begged help from our neighbor, Mrs. Rimmer, who used butter to remove the tar, (thereby, also removing the possibility of a “hiding” – or spanking). She sent me home as a respectable train-bearer after all.
In 1953, the present Queen Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony declared her right to be the 42nd sovereign of England’s throne, since her ancestry could be traced back to William the Conqueror (1066 A.D.).
The solemn, Christian-based ceremony included the Biblical ritual of the “anointing oil.” With its monarchy’s roots firmly entrenched over centuries, no other country in the world can display such a long royal history.
Concerning kings, I think one of the saddest chapters in the Bible is First Samuel 8. It records how Israel demanded that Samuel give them a king “like all the other nations.” (I wonder where all their kings came from!) Samuel reminded them it was The Lord God Who had saved them, protected and provided for them. Then The Lord said to Samuel, “…They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”
How sad to turn away from the glorious protection, provision and fellowship of God, The King Almighty, in exchange for a fallible, mere mortal system.
And so began the Kings of Israel, with King Saul, followed by King David. And like “Old King Cole,” Saul called for David’s musical harp artistry to calm his often tempestuous soul and, no doubt, render some of his beautiful, lyrical Psalms that have blessed and comforted the world.
There are over 2,000 references to kings in the Bible. Throughout the Psalms David extols his understanding of true Kingship. “The Lord is King for ever and ever…” (Psalm 10:16) “Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psalm 24:10) “Thou art my King, O God:” (Psalm 44:4).
Queen Elizabeth’s bloodline was traced back to royalty over a thousand years. But isn’t it wonderful that the believer in Christ Jesus is part of His eternal Royal bloodline? We have been purchased by His redeeming blood on Calvary, and by faith in His finished salvation, we are now in the family of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
It is written, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…” (First Peter 2:9) and “…ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens of the household of God. (Ephesians 3:19) Whether we are king or peasant, our King of Kings invites us to His table as true heirs in His Kingdom. Praise His Name!
Cheerio! And let’s call for the Fiddlers Three!
P.S. Just to update everyone on my recent accident – I am feeling much better and am certainly thankful for home remedies like turmeric and honey! Thank you for the many prayers and thoughtful comments.
Christian Mother Goose®
For Christian Mother Goose® products and Gift Sets, please visit this link: