EDITORIAL SUBMITTED BYÂ MEMORY MELODY GARDNER
Use your imagination for a moment. Envision being ruled and governed by a King who is self-sustained, which means He does not need help solving problems or knowing what the â€œnext stepâ€ needs to be. This King is free from evil. He does not have one negative thought about anyone at any time. He is without limit; money, time, talent or space does not bind this King. He is all-powerful, which means He can move a mountain off its base and mend the wing of a wounded butterfly.
This King is completely good. He is all-loving. This King sacrificially gives of Himself even when He is being harmed. He is a faithful provider of all that we need. This King is full of peace, which means He is never anxious or nervous about any event or thought that enters the universe. He never changes. This King is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is transcendent, which means He can be in China at the exact moment He is in Brazil or South Africa or England.
This King is just. He follows the law while still being full of grace. He is holy, which means He is perfect, without blemish or stain. This King is omniscient. He knows everything about everything and everyone. He is omnipresent, which means there is no place anyone can go where He is not already there. This King is merciful. He does not hold against His people the wrong things they do. He is sovereign, which means He is in total control; nothing is random or happenstance.
This King is all-wise. He knows the right, moral, honoring thing to do at any given moment. He is faithful. This King remains true to His promises. This King is wrathful toward evil, which means He does not tolerate diabolical schemes or actions. He will avenge those who do evil deeds. He is full of grace, which means He gives good things to His people, though they do not deserve them nor have they earned them. This King comforts, which means His people always have a place to take their sorrow. And this King is the source of all blessing; every good and perfect gift originates and comes from Him!
Wow, what a King! Who has this kind of king ruling them? There was only one group of people in the history of the world who had the God of the universe as their Kingâ€”Israel. Yes, Israel had Yahweh as their King, but they wanted more; they wanted different. A little over three thousand years ago, Israel was ruled by God who assigned prophets, like Samuel, to oversee the people and to proclaim His instructions.
God\’s Man, Samuel
At a young age, Samuel began to hear God speak to him and he eventually became not only a priest, but Israel\’s second major prophet, following Moses. During Samuel\’s life as a priest and prophet, Israel\’s leadership came to him demanding a king, like the surrounding nations. Israel no longer wanted what God had established for them. After several warnings by Samuel that God did not create the governing structures of the surrounding nations, nor did they honor God, Israel\’s leadership insisted they have a king.
When the Israelites looked at God and His way of governing them and said (my summary),”We don’t want You as our king, nor Your way of protecting and providing for us. We want something else. We want what the nations around us haveâ€”a king”â€”they did the same thing Adam and Eve did in the Garden, and irreversible damage resulted. After two warnings by God that the system of government they wanted was not created by Him nor honored Him, the children of Israel still demanded a king. So, God gave them their wish even though He knew this demand would cause them more pain and suffering than they ever imagined.
Samuel was extremely troubled by their request. Understanding Samuel\’s concerns, God instructed him to give them what they wanted anyway. He reminded Samuel that Israel had rejected Him for many years and now they were rejecting His prophet. â€œGive them what they are asking,â€ God said, â€œbut warn them solemnly of what a king will do once he rules them.â€ So, Samuel warned the people as the Lord directed, saying:
â€œThis is the way the kind of king you’re talking about operates. He’ll take your sons and make soldiers of themâ€”chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don’t expect God to answer.â€(1 Sam. 1:8)
God told Samuel that earthly kings would force their sons to fight battles and wars, whether just or unjust, and make them slaves to ensure his life was comfortable and prosperous. An earthly king would use their daughters in subservient roles and take their very best produce and labor for his and his staff\’s advancement. This kind of king would place a tax burden on the Israelites so severe, they would not be any better off financially than a slave; all to support his extensive bureaucracy. Then God told Samuel that the Israelites would call out for relief from this king, but He would not hear and respond to their plea.
Does this description of world leaders over three thousand years ago sound eerily familiar to world leaders today? And does not the cry of the Israelites for relief sound similar to our cry over our world leaders today? This governing arrangement was not what God originally intended for His people, but we insisted on having this kind of king to rule us. Now, we as Christians and Jews have all of the heartache and division associated with government and how we think it should operate. If there is a group of people who can not complain about the governmentâ€”how much or how little they do for the peopleâ€”it can not be Jews and Christians because we did this to ourselves!