The Greatest Play Ever Written (5)

In modern history, there are several monarchs or leaders whose reign did not last very long. The shortest rule ever recorded is that of Luís Filipe, King of Portugal, February 1, 1908.

When he was still Crown Prince Filipe, he and his father, King Carlos, were both shot by a revolutionary assassin during a royal tour. The King was killed instantly, and that automatically made Luis Filipe a king, according to monarchial logic.

En route to the hospital however, Luis Filipe also died due to massive blood loss. He was a king for a period of less than 30 minutes!

In our Biblical history, which I like to call the greatest play ever written, the shortest-reigning king was Zimri—referred to as “briefly, brightly king.”   

In 1 Kings 16:8-20, scenes show how this anti-hero quickly rose and quickly fell:      

Elah, the son of Baashaa, and the current king of Israel, was an evil king—he committed sins against the Lord by worshipping idols and influencing all of the people of Israel to do the same.  This angered the Lord. 

One of King Elah's officials was Zimri, who was in command of half of the kingdom's chariots.  He plotted against the king. So while King Elah was happily drinking in the home of his palace administrator, Zimri barged in, struck him down, and killed him. 

With Elah's death, Zimri proclaimed himself king.  As soon as he enthroned himself, he killed off Baasha, the father of King Elah, including his whole family and close friends. He spared no single male.

After seven days, the soldiers encamped elsewhere had heard about Zimri killing the king. They proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel. Then Omri and his army laid siege to the city of Tirzah, the seat of the kingdom. When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he was unwilling to surrender, nor cede his power and position. Instead, he went inside the royal palace and set it on fire—himself in it. 

Doesn’t Omri remind you of leaders past and present who are blind to grace? Because of insatiable greed, they would do anything to come into power and hang on to it, even it will lead them to ruin.   

“A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.” Proverbs 28:25 (ESV)

(Note: This is the fifth in a series of eight posts on "The Greatest Play Ever Written.")

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