Today I read 1 Samuel 8-12, Israel asking for a King. Every time I read scripture, I am reminded that society really changes very little. Again, as I read today, I had a deep desire that people would actually read 1 Samuel 8 in light of today. Samuel warns that if anyone but God is the ruler of their nation bad things would happen. It was true in 1100 B.C, and it is still true today. However, despite Samuel’s warnings, it seems every generation, including the current, would prefer a human ruler over a Spirit ruler. The creation of a Sovereign God continually proves Edmund Burke to be exceedingly correct, “Those who do not learn from History are destined to repeat it.”
For thousands of years a large portion of the population has wanted government to take care of them, and this fraction is the part that wins. They have not learned the lesson that Samuel tried to teach more than 3000 years ago, a lesson proved by most of the Kings of the Old Testament, the Caesars, the Czars, the Monarchies, Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Bin-Laden and even the United States Government of late. It’s the lesson that says if anyone but the One True God, Creator of the Universe, Author of Life, made known to His people as Father, Son and Holy Spirit . . . if any one but that One is King, the people will suffer under the rule.
Today I considered what might happen if a true man of God, led by the Spirit were to be in office. You know, someone who truly wanted the best for each person, like our Heavenly Father does. As I contemplated this magnificent possibility, I realized that I really don’t think it would work. Why? Because as humans, most of the world doesn’t even know what is best for them. Even those of us who follow the Creator are probably a bit skewed. The fact is the majority of the human race is driven by fear and greed, not realizing that what they see as a quick fix to a problem is really just the first step towards their destruction.
Israel wanted a king. The Philistines had become too much for them. They rationalized that if they had one ruler who could rally the troops, they could defeat their enemy, and finally be free. However, that freedom would come with a price, a huge price. By following man, Samuel warned them that they might break free of the tyranny of the Philistines, but eventually the tyranny of that king they so desperately wanted would be as bad, if not worse, than the mess they were currently in.
Like us, Israel forgot that God had delivered them in ways that only God could act. They wanted what made sense, what they could control. The stories their fathers handed down about a sea, and then a river, parting so that millions could pass through dry and entire cities routed without the loss of one Israelite soldier were forgotten or turned into myth. No one wanted to admit that the reason those things didn’t happen anymore was a statement about their commitment to God, not a testimony to what God can do.
In the 21st Century people all over the United States want to see God, they want to witness big things like the waters parting, but they forget that just before Israel experienced that deliverance, they had hit rock bottom, clung to the only thing left to cling on to and then purified themselves to be worthy of One so Holy. We want the astounding without committing, the supernatural without the surrender. And when God chooses to be silent because we’ve not lived up to our part of the covenant, much like Israel, we abandon Him and cry out for a leader, the one with the best writers, the most empty promises, the one who “tickles our fancy.”
As I read this morning, I wondered how far we will allow America to sink before we see the real need. We will be forced into exile, into slavery? Will the slavery be at the hands of our own rulers as Israel was under King Ahab or will nations controlled by our real enemy, Satan, come in and take over, like Egypt, Babylon and Assyria?
I want to scream, “Wake Up, America!” Our nation prospered for hundreds of years, even before it was rally a nation, because we relied on Christ. We were a people who believed that the words of scripture were true. Even those who didn’t follow God, feared Him. Gradually, as we become a nation reliant on humans, we are falling. It gets worse every day, but I guess it is inevitable. Moses saw it coming. Joshua predicted Israel’s fall. So, I will just stand like that great leader of Israel. It doesn’t matter what the rest of you do . . . “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”