About three thousand years ago there was a stable Royal Family in Israel, with David as King. He had been anointed by Samuel many years before, in fact some fourteen years before he was able to assume the throne of Judah, let alone the whole of Israel. But during his first ten years of Royal Office, he built up a strong nation, God-fearing and successful.
And then something happened which caused deep sadness for him, and for his family, for the rest of his life. First of all he cast his eyes upon a bathing beauty, and lusted after her. Being King, he was easily able to obtain what his heart desired. But shortly afterwards the girl in question reported to the King that she was pregnant, and according to the laws of the time, on being found out, she was subject to the death penalty, because she was a married woman.
The King was now in a corner. He had no way to move. David was a kind, just, sympathetic man, and he couldn’t contemplate such a fate to this beautiful woman because of what he had done. What could he do? When driven into such a corner, the human brain has remarkable powers of invention. David knew that either Bathsheba would be stoned to death, or else, if she betrayed him, he would die as well as her, according to Mosaic law. What alternative was there? Who was her husband, anyway? Wasn’t he Uriah? Wasn’t he one of David’s key men? Yes, but he wasn’t an Israelite, just a Hittite. Ah, here is a way out.
Joab was given instructions to put Uriah in the front line, where there would be a maximum chance of him being killed. When word was sent back from the front, saying that Uriah had met his death, David breathed a sigh of relief, and promptly called Bathsheba to the Palace as soon as her days of mourning had ended. She became one of the King’s wives, and the whole thing was hushed up.
What David hadn’t reckoned on was that the Lord had observed the whole episode, and we read that “the thing displeased the Lord.” (2 Samuel 11:27) Nathan the prophet was sent to the King with a message. A parable was spelled out to the King, which enangered him through the injustice of the rich man in this parable. Nathan said “You are the man!” And then the Prophet gave God’s word to him. “Now the sword shall never depart from your house, because you despised me, and took the wife of Uriah. – – Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity upon you. – – You did this in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel. – – Because you have done this thing you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt.
Subsequent history showed how three of David’s sons came to violent ends, Amnon, Absalom, and Adonijah. Amnon’s act of fornication with his half-sister was a terrible disgrace for David to bear. And Absalom’s brazen act of adultery with the King’s concubines was yet another. Finally, his son Absalom’s rebellion was the hardest of all to stomach. But the word of the Lord was fulfilled. “Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.”
Now, with regard to this “sowing and reaping” we must understand that in this life, it would appear to be of God’s grace that we reap the consequence of our sins, rather than in the afterlife. In that way, we may pass through death’s door unimpeded by a load of unrequited guilt. But in the world, very often the wicked seem to “get away with it.” David henceforth became “a man after God’s own heart.” His repentance was real, and God didn’t require of him the death penalty.
Today, in this land, we have another Royal Family. And there are some remarkable parallels between the two families. But we shall have to work backwards, looking at evidences first of all, and then examining the cause.
In a recent speech, the Queen referred to 1992 as her “annus horribilis”. She had witnessed the divorce and remarriage of her daughter Anne, the breakdown of Andrew’s marriage to Fergie, coupled with the bizarre behaviour of Fergie with another man in the south of France, then came the greatest family blow – the separation of Charles and Diana. And then the great fire in Windsor Castle. Naturally the nation felt keenly for the Queen in her misery, and knives were out for the rest of the Royals, depending on one’s personal proclivities. [And since I first wrote, we have seen the tragedy of Princess Diana’s death in a car accident.]
So much for the evidences. What about the cause? In an earlier chapter I related the solemn oaths the Queen took at her coronation, and how of recent years she has, sadly, reneged on them. We are dealing here, not with the non-Christian majority in the land, who seem to be able to pass through their mortal years and “get away with it.” We are talking about a very special woman, the one who occupies the unique position as head of the English Church. One may almost hear the words of Nathan the prophet all over again. Whereas the majority feel great sympathy for the Queen in the midst of her great family disasters, few have seen the hidden implications from a spiritual point of view.
I take no joy in writing these things. I have no daggers. I wish none of the royals any harm. Like all of us, they will have to pay for what they do in life, and the responsibility factor may possibly be seen accurately only by God Himself. But there is the other side to all this depressing news. If God has allowed these tragedies to occur to the Royals, then He is dealing with the situation, rather than allowing them to pass by in this life. And in this I see a ray of hope.
In the past, indeed for all of my Christian life, I have unwittingly despised the word of God in the New Testament, where we are enjoined to pray for kings, and governors, and those in authority over us. I have never bothered about praying for the royal family. I have pushed them on one side, treating them as irrelevant. I have asked the Lord’s forgiveness for this error, and now want to rectify the omission by praying for them. Whether we consider other people a part of God’s church, is not the point. God looks upon us where we are, and in accordance with our own profession, and our faithfulness to it. He never holds us responsible for things that we have never understood. Hence for any of us to cast others aside as irrelevant is in essence sheer arrogance. I have been guilty of such arrogance, though I have never seen it as such. I now thank God for revealing this to me.
Family life in Britain is very much the same as that in the Royal family, in a state of almost total collapse. What the Queen has had to endure, the nation has had to endure. But we are not repentant of this. We do not see ourselves as responsible. We just moan, and say how dreadful things are today. “Not like the good old days.” We treat the present day as a strange inexplicable happening for which no known cause is apparent. On February 2nd this year, an article appeared in the DAILY MAIL which is worth quoting in this context. It was written by Dr.Zaki Badawi, Professor of Islamic Theology, and Principal of the Moslem College, London. The first part of his article reads as follows:-
“For millions of white native readers, a recent headline in your newspaper must have seemed somewhat perturbing: BRITAIN’S TRADITIONAL FAMILY IS NOW ASIAN. Extraordinary. The details contained the official Social Trends report, published by the Central Statistical Office, outline how this country has undergone the most profound social changes over the past few years.
Yet the same report shows how Moslems like myself, Hindus, and Sikhs, the people with roots mainly in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, now provide the bedrock of traditional family values in this land, with 70% of our households consisting of husband, wife, and children.
Seventy per cent. Compare that figure with the mere 25 per cent of native, white households which now consist of mum, dad, and the kids. The gap is immense and I believe reveals something deeply disturbing about the way Britain is heading – indeed, it is not going too far to say that you will destroy your society unless you can solve this growing problem.
According to official statistics, Britain now is a country of easy sexual relationships, easy marriage, and easy divorce, a country where illegitimacy and abortion are rife.
In the past 20 years the number of marriages has fallen by a fifth, while divorce has more than doubled. The national rate of illegitimacy is 32 per cent. Religious observance in all the mainstream Christian churches, meanwhile, is in decline.
The contrast with Asian families could not be more glaring. The Hindu and Moslem faiths are thriving. Home life is stable. Illegitimacy is, by British standards, a tiny problem – only 1.2 per cent in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.
I and my fellow Moslems view this disparity with nothing but sadness – a sense that the people of Britain have lost something which is very precious.
The old certainties and old principles which sustained this country for centuries – values which you exported to so many countries including my own – seem to have all but crumbled.”
The Queen has broken her coronation oaths, and the people of Britain have forgotten the God of their fathers, casting to the winds not only their religious faith, but also all the moral and ethical standards by which we once used to live. We “swim in a cess-pool of our own making”, to use the words of a famous Police Chief when speaking about the AIDS virus.
And because the heads of the English Church have also reneged on their vows, we now see the Anglican Church split right down the middle over the issue of ordination of women. It is a divine principle at work, but we have largely lost the ability to see it. Only national repentance, from the Throne down to the ordinary man in the street, can reverse this trend. As a nation we not only stand condemned, but we are visibly weak, and the enemies of the God we once worshipped are pointing the finger of judgment at us, exactly as Nathan once said to David. Professor Badawi is not one who condemns, but shows a sadness. Should we not mourn for the state we are in?
But this is not the whole story. There are forces at work behind the scenes who are urging the destruction along. These we must consider in the next chapter.