As the State of Israel looks for a solution to the current political stalemate and repeated elections, I am reminded of the crisis of leadership in I Samuel 8. The time of the judges was drawing to a close. Samuel the prophet was old, and his sons had failed to stand as judges over Israel in God’s way. So the elders of Israel compared their system of government to the surrounding nations and demanded of Samuel, “Give us a king…” (verse 6).
This did not happen overnight. It was a process in which the leadership of the nation slowly broke down and people turned towards personal gain. This breakdown included the lack of teaching of the Torah to the nation by the Cohanim (priests). As God’s framework for His people weakened, so too did the condition of their hearts.
Samuel did as God commanded and presented to the elders a clear picture of how this king they wanted would actually operate. A king costs the people in many ways – financially, taking all authority, controlling families and businesses and more. Kings gradually bring their friends into power along with them and the people have little choice in the matter. This is the nature of the kingdoms of this world.
God our King – Yeshua, the King of Kings – is the only one with a heart to give and not to take. However, when Samuel tried to persuade them not to appoint a human king, the elders said no! They had decided, and refused to listen to the warning of God through the Prophet Samuel.
As all nations of the earth contend with their own imperfect and even abusive governments, we should remember that even in a democracy the problem begins with the heart. We are called to honor all men but to worship God alone.
God, give us a king. Be our King.