I’m wrapping up our church youth group classes in the coming week, and we are ending our Old Testament study where Israel demands a king. The timing is interesting .
Every four years, we have an opportunity to select a new president. Since current President Barack Obama is ending his second term, he cannot run again.
Just like the people in Samuel’s day, which you can read about in 1 Samuel 8, the people demand certain things from their incoming leader. Samuel’s sons had become corrupt leaders of the nation. They took bribes for political favors. They perverted justice through the power of their office as leaders. Hmm, this is starting to sound familiar. Didn’t we just read something similar in yesterday’s newspaper?
So, the elders of Israel met with Samuel and ask that he appoint a king over them. He didn’t like the idea, but God told him to go along with it because the people were rejecting God, not Samuel. Again, this sort of sounds hauntingly familiar.
So, Samuel warns them one more time that the king would conscript their sons for the military, mistreat them, raise their taxes, and so on. Yet, the people said they still wanted a king so they could be like the other nations around them, and have a king so he could go out and fight their battles.
We really haven’t learned anything in the past few thousand years. The populism of Donald Trump or the liberal/socialist support for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is proof. People still want leaders to fight their battles for them.
- You don’t like the massive influx of immigrants – vote for Trump; he’ll fight it for you.
- You don’t like the high cost of colleges – vote for Bernie; he’ll make it free for you.
- You say everyday Americans need a champion – vote for Hillary.
- You uphold the Constitution word-for-word – vote for Ted Cruz; he’ll defend it for you.
Christians today may want some or all of these things, but should we not compare what we want with what God wants for us? How often do we seek the will of the Creator for His creation?
Just like the Israelites, we look around at what the world has – better healthcare, better education, better government, better lifestyle – and we whine “me want that.” So, we cherry pick the verses out of the Bible that match what we want to say. Or, we find a translation that makes it sound like we want it to sound. If all the people who claim the name of Christ really and truly mean it, they should all be on their knees and faces seeking His will.
But, we don’t.
Just like the Israelites, we think that we’ll solve our own problems.
- Politicians hurt America, so we’ll elect a better politician.
- Lack of religion is hurting America, so we’ll storm the Seven Mountains to create heaven on Earth.
- Education, finances, jobs are hurting America, so we’ll legislate heavier and heavier laws until the problem is fixed.
Later in the Old Testament, we see the Kings of Israel and Judah were just as much a judgement of God on His people as the enemies that surrounded them. So, when we get Trump or Hillary or whomever, just remember that the new king may be just as bad as the old one. Until Americans give up trying to fix this through new leaders, new programs, or new anything, we won’t really fix a thing. We have to turn our eyes from the king and keep them on our King.