Dictionary.com defines a Theocracy as a form of government in which God is recognized as the supreme civil ruler”. That is the form of government which God had planned out for Israel from her very start. While the other nations of the world had human rulers – kings – with all of their faults and humanity… Israel would be led by God Himself – in all of His perfection. From Abraham to Samuel – about 1400 years – the children of Israel had been under that form of government – God rule.

But in 1 Sam 8:4-5 this all began to change. The elders of Israel (responding to their national decline) came upon the conclusion that things were messed up because of their form of government. Now, as we have seen, the real reason things were messed up was only because of the nations continued disobedience to the commands of God. But, for the elders, this plain fact never even dawned upon them. Instead – they used human reason and logic to solve their problem in their own way. In this – Proverbs 14:12 is, once again, proved correct: “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.”

Obviously – Samuel is upset by this request from the leaders of Israel. Not only is it a rejection of HIS rule as judge (mainly based upon the fact that his own son’s failed to walk correctly as well) – but this request is more importantly a rejection of God Himself. The Lord is well aware of this – and informs Samuel to grant the people’s desire… but also to warn them about the residual affects of a monarchy (1 Sam 8:11-18).

So God gives in to the people’s desire – and chooses for them one who would fit their idea’s of strength and valor. Saul was an impressive man, “a choice young man, handsome, and a head taller then any of the people” (1 Sam 9:2). Yes, this guy was tall, tanned, handsome, strong – a real man! So the Israelites were impressed by his outward appearance. This man was the answer they were looking for. He would make them “like all of the other nations” (1 Sam 8:5).

But the problem was their desire to be “like all of the other nations”. That wasn’t God’s plan for them! He wanted them to become an example for the entire world to follow. He wanted them to demonstrate to the world the benefits of living life God’s way. He wanted the world to yearn to be like them (not the other way around!). If this tiny growing nation had simply followed the Lord from the start – that plan of God’s would have come to pass. Instead – by constantly choosing their own way – they short-circuited this plan and found themselves in hot water again and again.

God does not do things like we do. That much should have been apparent to them after witnessing the miracles and deliverance over their enemies since the start of their existence. God doesn’t think like us – reason like us – conclude like us – nor does He measure worth like us. The answer isn’t to change God to conform Him to our perspective (this is called RELIGION) – the answer is to change and conform OUR perspective to match God’s.

So the people chose Saul… impressive – tall – handsome.

God’s choice would be revealed after the people’s choice fails… His choice would be David – small – rugged – but with a heart after God.

The children of Israel made a fatal decision the day they asked for a King. They chose to be “like the other nations” and sought to solve their problems by human means. As we shall see in the coming chapters – this decision caused much heartache and multiplied their problems ten-fold. (In fact – ALL of what Samuel told them a King would do to them in chapter 8 would come to pass in the future).

Finally, did you notice what happened during the coronation ceremony for this new King? In 1 Samuel 10:22-24 we see that the pomp and circumstance is in full swing – the people are cheering – the band is playing… yet no one can find Mr. Tall – Dark – and Handsome. Where is he? He is hiding in the baggage! (vs. 22).

That is what we get when we choose our own way.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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