Kingship: Rejection of God

Today's Bible reading: 1 Samuel 8

Our journey together through the Word of God continues.  Last week we look at the Judges, and the recurring cycle of Israel's disobedience … subsequent oppression at the hands of their enemies … their crying to God for help … God hearing them and sending a Judge - a deliver - who calls them back to the true God.  We also noted that Samuel was the final and most important of the Judges, who acted as a kind of link between the age of the Judges and the introduction of kingship – which brings us to our focus for this morning.

There is a definite inner tension in the stories relating to the origin of kingship in Israel – a tension between two attitudes toward this new institution.  On the one hand, the people demand a king because they want to be strong like the other nations around them.  Some folks may look at what's going on in this phase in the life of the Israelite nation and conclude that it was inevitable that Israel would one day have a royal line.  The old loose confederation of 12 tribes - bound only by their central worship at the tabernacle … moving from place to place - could no longer supply a growing nation with security against foreign invasion.

We could also say that Samuel is disgusted with the request for a king because he represents the old political order, and sees any change as a direct vote of ‘no-confidence’ in himself as prophet and Judge.  But his warning against the new institution and all that it will entail - ie. military conscription, forced labor and taxation - is not just sour grapes!  He is echoing God's own judgment.  The real point - and the sad point - is that, in demanding a king, Israel is actually rejecting it's only KingGod Himself.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for working through human instruments and accomplishing Your holy, divine and good will for the world.  Amen.