1 Samuel 8:6-9 (NIV)
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
God’s heart must have ached in hearing the pleas of His people. They demanded a king. They looked around at the other nations and coveted what they had. God had provided them food and protection in a barren land during the exodus, and He had provided them lands to call their own, but still they strayed from Him. Still they wanted more. Enemies were vanquished before His people, provisions were met and yet they took it all for granted.
When they cried out for a king in the setting sun of Samuel’s leadership, God reminded him that it was aimed at the Almighty. “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (1 Samuel 8:7) Imagine for a moment giving up the One who was their fortress of protection. Imagine saying to God, your wealth, though it outnumbers the stars in the sky, is not enough for me…we want something else. God had poured out His love upon His people and they had rejected it again and again.
If there was ever a governmental system in this world that could stand the test of time it was and still is God’s model. No other form of government has ever before or ever will prove more pure and selfless than His. No other form of democracy will ever remain without being tainted by man’s selfish ambitions for power, prestige and wealth. Yet His people chose a lower form of government because other nation’s systems looked more appealing. The lure of other gods and openly degenerate moralistic standards appealed to the people of God. How awful Samuel, God’s prophet must have felt. How hurt and heartsick with grief Samuel must have been.
Have you ever felt the sting of rejection? I have a time or two. It is an emotion that without a doubt begs never to be repeated in the human heart. Though this went much deeper than a single person being rejected, God was rejected by the entirety of His chosen people! They turned their backs on Him. They decided that He couldn’t support their needs any longer and so a king would better suit their pleasures.
I imagine through pain, disdain and hurt God tells Samuel to give the people what they want. But He also warns Samuel to tell them what the results will be of their betrayal and choice. “Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” (1 Samuel 8:9) The idea of a king was far more appealing to the people of God than actually considering the consequences of their choice. The king would reign over them, not like a loving, understanding and all knowing God, but like a man driven by selfish intentions and sin this would be how they would be ruled over.
God allowed them to choose. We are a created with this free-will within us. We are not compelled or forced to love and serve God. Yet when we choose to reject Him and His hand upon our lives we soon find that in our folly the devastating consequences of life without Him! I am not advocating for one form of government over another today, nor am I renouncing any leadership within our government (Scripture clearly says: “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)) But what I am saying is this; above everything choose Him. Don’t turn from the One who created us and has preserved our lives. Choose God. Serve Him, love Him and make Him Lord of your life above and before all else.
-Just a thought for today.