Only God Is Great

King Louis XIV began his reign over France at the age of four and continued on the throne for the next 72 years. It is still the longest reign of any modern European monarch. Over time he became intoxicated with power and dubbed himself “The Great Monarch,” and was often referred to as the Sun King.  He ruled with absolute authority, declaring, “I am the State.”

Yet in 1715, he died like every other human king.  Before he died, Louis XIV had laid out very specific plans for his funeral. It was nothing short of spectacular. Held in a cathedral, full of mourners paying their respects, he was laid out in solid gold coffin, lined with all manner of precious jewels.  To emphasize his greatness a single candle was lit over his casket.

When Bishop Jean-Baptiste Massillon rose to give the sermon, he shocked the entire nation. He began by reaching down and extinguishing the single flame representing the glory of the Great Monarch.  As people gasped in darkness, Massillon began his sermon with these four words: “Only god is great.”

Taken from Steven Lawson, Holman Old Testament Commentary—Psalms 1-75 (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2004), 49.

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