Warrior Kings Need Humble Bread
As we continue our journey through the “Lord’s Prayer,” we get to the phrase, “give us this day our daily bread.” It’s a simple request. Straightforward. A petition to God for daily sustenance. There is no greed here, only dependence. No desire for a banquet, only bread enough for the day. No hint of hoarding desperation, only a daily journey of trust.
It’s a humble request. Yet we live in a world inundated with North American pride and self-sufficiency. So we have to ask ourselves, when we pray these words, do we really mean them?
Language is interesting. Sometimes an obscure word or phrase is suddenly everywhere. This is the case in church culture as well. The phrase “Warrior King” popped up on my radar recently. Someone used this term for Jesus. They were talking about what He will do at the end of the age. The phrase, for a variety of reasons, caught my attention.
As I began to listen, I heard this term elsewhere. Quite often! One particular theologian (who will not be named here because I don’t want to drag his name through the mud) in promoting an upcoming speech on Mature Manhood said, “We will only honor God as men when we understand Scripture’s warrior motif. We are not idiots; we are not goofballs; we are not boys. We are men of God. People do not understand the warrior motif that runs through the Bible like a stream underground. The ideal figure of Scripture is not a bureaucrat, a functionary, or a self-esteem expert. The ideal figure of Scripture is a warrior King.”
Wait…..what? Is he really suggesting that godly men ought to be warrior kings?
Suffice it to say, Jesus is the ideal figure of Scripture. Yes, he is King. There is even room to talk about Him as a warrior. However, that needs a lot of nuance. As I read my Bible, warrior is not the dominant picture of Jesus that I see. I can think of several descriptions I would use instead of warrior: Savior, Lord, Suffering Servant, the Lamb that was slain, etc. Here is the bottom line: none of those descriptions applies to me. The closest I ought to come is suffering servant (small “s”), as I live out Jesus’ life with a basin and towel
I understand that men feel under attack in our culture. Yet getting men to believe they should all live out “warrior king” lives seems to be doubling down on a mentality that has enabled all kinds of abuse. Just an interesting side-note here: I’m writing this on the day when the Southern Baptist Convention released a significant report on sexual abuse in SBC churches. Issues like these are a black eye on the witness of Jesus that should concern all of us.
What also ought to concern us are the issues of pride, and self-sufficiency a warrior king mentality could bring, and the fractured society it would yield if all men (and women for that matter) ran around acting like warrior kings.
Is this not the antithesis of “give us this day our daily bread”?
Warrior kings don’t need to ask for daily bread, they just pillage and plunder. Asking is for the humble, the needy, the weak, the dependent; but not for warrior kings.
I might be reading too much into the “warrior king” idea. Yet, I believe it’s a cautionary tale. The warrior king motif directly appeals to the arrogance of our fallen nature. It stands as an example of what Jesus came to undo as He tears down our Babel edifices of human pride. When we mean the words “Give us this day our daily bread,” we step away from that pride towards a spirit of dependence on the one and only true King.
National Mission Director