Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Daniel bar Jamin was searching for the Kingdom of God – fighting for it actually. The Kingdom could only be attained for Israel once the pagan Romans were driven out, so Daniel and his ragtag force of escaped prisoners, slaves and a few rebellious but pious youths attempted to do just that.
Bitter and angry against the Romans for the death of his parents, Daniel believed that his anger was a righteous tool to be used for God’s Kingdom. But what is God’s Kingdom?
In the fictional story of The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare young Daniel struggles with turning away from his anger and understanding what it really means to live and die for God’s Victory.
“Your kingdom come” is the shortest petition in our Lord’s Prayer, but it is the most comprehensive in its application. We are told in Romans 14:17 that the kingdom of God is “…not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
God is the Everlasting King of this universe. He created it and sustains it. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.” (1 Chronicles 29:11)
The Kingdom is not confined to God’s physical rule over His creation. It more specifically refers to the hearts that have been changed by Christ and are actively serving Him. When we pray “Your kingdom come” we are asking that the Holy Spirit work on the hearts of unbelievers and convict them to repentance. We pray that the enemies of God would not succeed in their fight for the hearts of the people.
The Kingdom is not reliant upon outside powers or controlled by the forces who occupy a country. God’s Kingdom is one of the heart, and its subjects are those who display the righteousness imputed to us by Christ, the peace that comes only from God, and the joy that we find in the Holy Spirit.
We are also petitioning for the arrival of the final Judgment Day and Jesus’ second coming. It is our hope and our final destination. What a glorious day it will be when the church is joined with Christ for all eternity! I look forward to that day with great anticipation. It is then that God’s Kingdom will be complete in the new heaven and new earth.
God often works in ways that we cannot begin to comprehend. Many were expecting Jesus to bring the Kingdom of God with a mighty army and overthrow the Roman Empire. The Disciples expected an earthly kingdom, and Daniel of The Bronze Bow thought Jesus should lead the Zealots to victory. God didn’t work in that way. His Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy.
Daniel bar Jamin didn’t rid Israel of the Romans. Nothing changed regarding the foreign occupation or the external world of politics -- it didn’t need to.
Daniel entered the Kingdom when his anger and self reliance melted, and he learned to trust Someone far above himself and his meager efforts at world reform. He trusted Jesus -- and that is the Kingdom.