1 Samuel 8:19-20 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
Samuel could not have been more blunt in his description of the actions of a king of those days (verses 10-18), including saying that they would “cry out for relief,” (verse 18) but the people were adamant. Today, the idea of just being taxed a tenth of your income seems like a really good deal! I think just about everyone was thinking that their sons would be “commanders of thousands,” (verse 12) or some other high position, and even today “working for the government” is seen as a highly desirable thing. Japan even has “cram schools” to help people pass the Civil Service Examination. People have such a distorted idea of what life can be and should be! The people here who were insisting on a king frankly had no real idea what they were asking for, because they hadn’t experienced it. As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener of the other side of the fence.” As a current example, many people living in what is statistically the most desirable nation in the world, the US, pine for socialism, refusing to see what an abject failure socialism has been in every nation that has tried it. They see it as “being taken care of,” much as the people here thought a king would take care of them, not realizing that the resources for any nation ultimately come from the people and the economy of that nation. They want to “tax the rich,” not seeing that enterprising people are the engine of the economy, so they are trying to “kill the goose that laid the golden egg.” It all boils down to a desire to evade personal responsibility, to deny accountability, to others and ultimately to God. As God told Samuel, “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (verse 7) We tend to choose what we see as the easy way out, not realizing all the pitfalls of the way we choose, just as these people with Samuel.
I could obviously stay up on my soapbox quite a while on this subject, but it’s much easier to rant than it is to act responsibly! I am no better than the people in this story if I fail to submit to God personally and live as He indicates. I am active in signing online petitions, since I am physically in Japan, but my primary focus needs to be prayer. The problem there is that there are literally countless things that cry out for prayer! I am to seek and follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance in what to pray for, how and when. It is hardly surprising that the federal government is ignoring the National Day of Prayer this week, but past occurrences have been largely lip service in any case. What is needed is for God’s children to get serious about it on a personal level, not only praying for all the issues “out there” but living their own lives in purity and faithfulness. If that happens, then 2 Chronicles 7:14 will indeed be fulfilled.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Help me live it out faithfully myself, pointing people to You in every facet of my life, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!