Verse of the Day
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” … [Then] the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you … However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” [1 Samuel 8:4-5, 7 and 9 – NKJV]
I’m sure you know families that subscribe to the rule about not discussing religion or politics at the dinner table. I for one don’t believe in this. After all, I’m Irish, and what’s wrong with a good fight? Anyway, we’re going to discuss both religion and politics (at least in a philosophical, theoretical sense) in this devotional so fasten your seatbelts!
Anybody who thinks that the Bible isn’t timeless, lacks relevance for today’s world, isn’t prophetic, and isn’t the inerrant Word of God needs to read 1 Samuel 8 very carefully. (Actually, they should read the whole book!) The Israelites are complaining once again. This time they are demanding that Samuel (and by implication, God Himself) appoint an earthly king to rule over them, judge them, and lead them in battle. Samuel finds this request disturbing and prays to God for guidance. God tells Samuel that “[the people] have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7). Rejecting God! The Israelites, God’s chosen people rejected Him again! Another slap in the face! The point is that other nations had earthly kings, but then they didn’t have a covenant relationship with the Lord. From the time of Jacob, God was Israel’s King. Why would they turn away from Him? God told Samuel to grant the people’s wish, but to warn them about the consequences. Here is what Samuel told them:
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” [1 Samuel 8:10-18]
Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? This passage could describe any one of our modern-day governments whether they be authoritarian, monarchies, republics, democracies, dictatorships, theocracies, or totalitarian. The point is that all governments, whether past, present, or future, are flawed because we are a fallen people. Only God’s ways are perfect, just, and true. We are weak and prone to greed, corruption, graft, self interest, poor judgment, and on and on. As the saying goes, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!
But we can take comfort in the fact that we are citizens of Heaven. We live here on earth, but we are aliens. But while we are here we are to live in accordance with God’s Word. We are to obey our earthly leaders. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Always pray for our elected leaders and ask that God give them wisdom, strength, discernment, compassion, mercy, and protection from the evil one.