Of Kings and their Subjects
In May of 2005 on a flight from Australia to Europe, Helen and I flew Royal Jordanian airlines via our friends and mentors in Israel. Our week in Israel was good but our trip from Israel to Europe is the real story.
Due to flight connections we had to overnight in Amman Jordan. This was to include transfers and a hotel on the Dead Sea. When we arrived at Amman airport there was no one, as had been organized, to pick us up. After waiting 3/4hour we decided to take a taxi for the hour drive down to the Dead Sea.
As we drove, we noticed massive security everywhere, armed soldiers stationed every 150 meters along the road. This was our first time in an Arab country so we didn’t know what was normal and what wasn’t.
By the time we arrived at the Dead Sea we had been stopped three times at security check points. The last time, pulled right off the road, our passports and tickets taken and scrutinized. We heard the word ‘Israel’ being mentioned a lot. We waited in the hot and steamy, dark evening, men with guns everywhere. We had seen signs for the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea, and we were about to discover that our accommodation voucher was useless as all three hotels were booked out by the forum.
A guard came and told us to get back in our taxi and to follow the police car that had already just left to another security base. I said to him he still had our passports and airline tickets. He informed us that they were in the car and pointed to the car now 100m down the road!
At this next security base an Arab man in a grey suit was very friendly to us. We noticed him giving orders to people, including the military. It seemed he was trying to sort things out for us. After we had waited for an hour, he came to the car and introduced himself. All I caught was the ‘Hashmonite’ something. He told us he had called the CEO of Royal Jordanian airlines and the CEO of the Amman airport, ordering them to fix our situation. He also told us that he had personally arranged for us to go to a new hotel back in Amman. As we left, he handed us his card, apologizing and instructing to us to show this card if we had any further problems.
We headed back to Amman.
Picture this scene: We are in a Mercedes taxi doing 140km/h on an Arab highway passing signs that say Iraqi and Saudi boarder. It is dark, hot and our first time ever in an Arab country. All of a sudden the driver’s mobile rings, he answers in Arabic then hands me the phone saying ‘It’s for you.’
Trying not to picture myself in a James Bond movie, I collected my thoughts then took the phone. It was the man in the grey suit, asking if we were at the hotel yet? He then reintroduced himself saying that he was the head of Logistics of the Royal Hashmonite Court.
He had just called the Royal Protocol officer to see what should be done concerning the mistake that had been made with us. When he called, the Protocol officer was in the presence of the King of Jordan! The king heard of our predicament and instructed that as Mark and Helen were guests in his country, very good care should be taken of us.
(Just prior to flying to Europe our Pastor in Australia had prophecied that we would come before Kings and Royalty). The king had also said that he wanted to give us a gift. I was asked would I accept a gift from the king of Jordan? I said yes. :-). He asked me to ring back once at the hotel to give our room number, I flinched a bit remembering where I was and wondering how safe it was, but agreed.
We arrived at the VERY lavish new hotel. Wow! Specially ordered steaks for dinner. In our room eating my steak with my silver cutlery, I began contemplating what sort of gifts do King’s give? At midnight a call came that representatives from the King had arrived and were requesting our presence.
I went down to meet them, receiving the gift. (How are you supposed to respond to gifts from Kings?) The man in the grey suit was there, he had left the security arrangements for the World Economic forum and driven the hour to the palace to pick up and then deliver the gift to us. We had written a thank you note on an Aussie postcard (all we had with us from Australia). I exchanged this with them thanking them for their care. The gift had the King’s card on top with our names printed on it. A gold pin of the King’s emblem and two very nice, Swiss Sector watches with the royal emblem of the King!
The next morning we were picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport. Upon arrival I had been requested to ask for a Mr Almomani. I walked up to a security guy and asked for this man. The security guy asked, “Are you Mark Goatley?” Amazed I said ‘Yes’. Mr Almomani then came, he walked us straight through the check in desk, past security, past passport checks, to the first class lounge.
Here a progression of very important Arab men came to us making sure all was in order and if they could help us in any way? The Head of Royal Jordanian Airlines and the Head of the Airport visited. All men reported that they had been commanded to personally see that we were well taken care of.
I was amazed at how all of these important Arab men were leaping at the word of their King. How important they were or what else they were doing didn’t matter, when the King asked these men responded.
God was definitely speaking to me about Kingdom and showing me how we are supposed to respond to our King.
The Kingdom of God is a ‘Kingdom’ and ‘we the subjects’ are supposed to respond to our King as these men did to theirs, that was instantly and without reservation.
Just as we were about to leave the lounge, we were asked for our boarding passes and given first class ones instead. So we flew into Europe 1st Class at the pleasure of the King of Jordan.
God had been telling us that this was a brand new and very different season for us in Europe. In Jordan, He magnificently showed His love and care. What a way to re-enter Europe.
I later wrote the following in my journal, believing these words to be from God: ‘Mark. So what do you think of the treatment? I am a powerful God and I have Influence in all area’s. All area’s Mark, all. I am The I AM. The watches are from Me and you are to wear them to remind you of Me and My influence on this planet. Mark and Helen what I have said about you will come to pass, it will come into being for I am God!’
Today we drive to Munich, believing that God has promised to provide a house for us and a place to set up a Tabernacle/worship/training house for Him. We don’t know of any of this provision yet. But we eagerly walk into His love and provision.