1 Samuel 8:4-9
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
How often does history repeat itself because human nature fails to learn the lessons of yesterday?
Back when the nation Israel was ruled by Judges, the people were basically being self-governed. They had the Ten Commandments and the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) as their constitution and bill of rights. The people though weren’t happy with the way things were and their solution was to become like the other nations around them. They wanted a king.
They wanted someone else to handle their problems and were willing to surrender their freedom of self-government. Like most governments today, they reject God as their binding authority and think they have a better solution for governing the nation.
Samuel explained to the people what will result from their decision and yet the people were willing to exchange their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for servitude to a king. The king will take their sons and place them into armies for war; make them work for the king rather than for themselves and their families. The king will take the choice land and have the people plow it for his sake. He will take whatever is yours and use it for his own ambitions and plans. Read 1 Samuel 8:10-18 and you capture a glimpse of people relinquishing their freedom and rights to become servants and serving at the pleasure of the king.
Today people struggle with similar ideologies. Rather than accept personal responsibility for making their life more fruitful, they want their cake without making the effort to bake one. Rather than accept personal responsibility to govern oneself, they want others to tell them how to think, work, and have fun as long as they are taken care for.
There are those who want big government without realizing what they are asking for. History continues to show the larger a government grows; the less freedom people experience. Governments need to be fed. When 50% of the nation’s workforce is producing wealth so the other 50% can get paid, something eventually breaks. And like the frog sitting in the kettle of water simmering in slow rising heat, until one day the frog finds itself being cooked, people slowly are taxed until there is nothing for them to live on. Then when their eyes are open to realize they are working only to subsidize the lifestyle of others without anything left for themselves, then its too late. They have become slaves of a government plantation with no one to rescue them.
This is why government and religion are constantly battling with each other. You have to decide who you are going to serve. Do you want a large government which needs to be fed and makes life’s decisions for you? Or a small government built upon King Jesus and his eternal values which operates through the individual’s heart in service for others? Earthly governments coerce you to comply. God’s way is built upon law and order for both the individual and community to flourish and share their wealth with others without persuasion.
When people allow the Triune God to be the center of their life, they respect and govern themselves and others knowing they are answerable to Him. They welcome open discussion without fear always searching for the truth of the matter. They are learning to govern under the tutelage of Jesus Christ understanding all humans are made in the image and likeness of their Creator. They build their foundation upon the values and attributes of God. Yet they recognize evil in themselves and others. But also accept the finish work of Jesus Christ who gracefully forgives the sins of their parents, their grandparents, their children, and their own personal caveats. They allow their individual character to reflect the glory of God which magnifies the light on their community.
In today’s world, most governments replace God’s role in people’s lives. Yet imagine a world where the Triune God is the governing agency. How large of a government would be needed? Now you can understand my longing for Jesus Christ to return and establish his government throughout the land. But today it is always a battle to choose the best of “what is available.” As a people, we need a government to keep law and order and protection from evil forces. The question always seems to be – which one?
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