Preaching Magazine Illustrations

Louis XIV became king of France at the age of 4 and reigned for 72 years – 2 years longer than Queen Elizabeth.  Filled with hubris about his power, he called himself the “Great Monarch” and declared, “I am the State!”  In 1715, death dethroned him, but Louis thought he’d have the last word by orchestrating every detail of his funeral.  The packed cathedral prepared to pay tribute to their king, who was lying in a solid gold casket, with one solitary candle to represent his perceived majesty.  Bishop Massillon presided over the service and began with a gesture that stunned the nation.  He leaned over the candle and extinguished it.  The symbol that represented Louis’ greatness went dark and the people gasped.  The Bishop then boldly stated, “Only God is great!”  The pages of history are filled with those who thought of themselves as great, but the bishop’s words echo timeless truth for us all. Holman Commentary, Psalms 1-75, Max Anders, 2003, p.49