From my notes on Alex Morrow’s teaching from 1 Samuel Chapter 8, at Life Collective Fellowship, Wednesday, 5/18/2016.
“Israel committed treason against God.”
It might not be what you think. This happened in ancient Israel. God served as Israel’s king for a long time. But the Israelites looked around at the other nations in their part of the world, and they couldn’t help but notice they didn’t have a king like everybody else did. It took faith to live with God as their King. It wasn’t as concrete and tangible as living under a human king, so they went to their high priest and made their demand.
And Samuel, their high priest, a good and godly man, basically told them they were committing treason against God.
But God told Samuel to give them what they wanted. I’m always amazed at how committed God is to our free will. God chose the stereotypical king for that culture in that time. He was tall and handsome. He looked the part. I suppose he was as good, or maybe even better, than the other kings in the Middle East neighborhood. But Saul, and all of the other government rulers of Israel to come, would never be as good as God Himself.
In fact, Samuel told the Israelites what they could expect from their king. He said,
“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:10-18)
Reading that passage, it’s hard not to notice the implications for us during this election season.
But if you read the story, the bigger problem with rejecting God and demanding a man for their king, was the effect it had on where they focused their attention. To quote Alex, “So Israel gets their king and the people become man focused instead of God focused. And their king also becomes man focused.”
We see the people focused on Saul immediately after he’s announced as their king. Some were supporters, and others were haters. The man Saul, and his political appointment, were the talk of the nation. Then later in the story we see Saul disregard God’s instructions by keeping the livestock from the Amalekites, because, in Saul’s own words, he “feared the people.” (1 Samuel 10:24-27 and 1 Samuel 15:24)
The same thing happens today. Supporters and haters dig in and debate the political candidates of our time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be civic minded. It’s only when our focus on the political process eclipses our love for God that there’s a problem.
So the question I’m asking myself, and asking us all in this blog post is,
Who do you want to be your King–with a capital K?
Does your interest in politics–or career, or a person, or sports, or videogames, or money, or food, or, whatever–eclipse your love for Christ?
Of this we can be sure, whoever (or whatever) it is, God who’s committed to our free will, will make sure we get what we want as our ultimate.
Whatever the consequences.