It is not the LORD’s will that a king, or any sort of government would take his place in our lives as leader and provider. He is our leader. He and his word directs our path. Sometimes he uses prophets to help communicate that, but the emphasis should be on him and his word. Whatever form of government we have should be directly pointing back to YHWH and obeying his instructions and laws. He does not want us looking to how others that do not follow him govern as an example for us. He wants us to look towards him. It is the sinful nature of man that tries to establish government separate from YHWH and then submits to the laws of man where he would not submit to the the law and instruction of the Father.
Israel Demands a King
1And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.
4Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8“Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9“Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.”
Warning concerning a King
10So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. 11He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12“He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13“He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14“He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15“He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16“He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. 17“He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18“Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
19Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the LORD’S hearing. 22The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
Be careful what you ask for as a nation with regards to separating the Father from our government. He will allow it if we reject him, but it will be to our own peril as a nation.
A few more interesting points of consideration… just like Eli, Samuel had children that did not follow in his ways. Samuel was a righteous man. Was it his fault as a father? or did his sons make their own choice to rebel against YHWH? or was it simply that the LORD had not chosen them to be faithful followers? There is always a bit of the second part in every situation like this. We all have personal accountability for following or rejecting YHWH. We do not get any information about Samuel as a father, but one might reasonably conclude that if he had failed as a father, it would be highlighted in the historical record like it was for Eli. Also, we see that Samuel was not rebuked by YHWH for his failure to discipline his sons, or at least it is not recorded here. If it comes down the the third option, the LORD not choosing them to follow, then we must simply trust in the LORD even if we don’t understand.
To make this more personal, imagine it is your children that are not following in his ways. What would you do differently as a parent? Do it now. Pray for him to help your children to follow obediently and faithfully. Learn the ways of the Father in his word and don’t simply accept the teaching and ways of man. Then teach your children. Live out the example for them, admitting when you are wrong and changing behavior to follow YHWH more closely even when it is hard.
Perhaps worth a comment also is the dire warning about a king includes the fact that he will take 1/10th of your stuff. That was considered high apparently for that culture and time. Now look at us. Our obese federal government clamors for 25, 33, 50% and more of what we earn and squanders it on many corrupt and ungodly or mismanaged programs they should never operate in the first place. Clearly in comparison to God’s word, the taxes we face are much too high and instead of looking to what other failed nations are doing as an example, we should look to God and his word for guidance in all things.
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