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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Give Us A King!

The prophet Samuel, being of protracted age, appoints his sons, Joel and Abijah as judges over Israel. I Samuel 8:3 explains, “But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice” (NKJV).  How intriguing it is that man’s fleshly motivations have altered negligibly in the ages since.   The elders of Israel came to Samuel at Ramah and requested that he grant them a king as the surrounding nations possessed.  How soon they had forgotten how God had rescued them from the Philistines and the peace that was given to them with the Amorites (I Sam. 7:7-14).  The people vacillate from worshipping the Ashtoreths to worshipping the prospect of a human king, even after being saved by God’s own hand.  Samuel, although displeased, brings the people’s request before the Lord.  The answer he receives from God is most poignant, “. . . Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should reign over them” (I Sam. 8:7).  God then issues a dire admonition regarding their future king.  This “sought after” leader would plunder Israel and furthermore, “. . . you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day” (I Sam. 8:18).  Against this grim prophetic caution the people’s response was, “. . . No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles” (I Sam. 8:19, 20).  This is proof positive that the people are not able to lead themselves; as if the incident with the golden calf at Mount Sinai was not evidence enough.   In today’s Christian social climate, this mind set could be translated as the desire for a glossy “picture perfect” pastor who brings massive numbers in attendance at a large state-of-the-art church building rather than desiring a deep relationship with God.

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