"So listen now to their voice: only solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them. So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king."
I Samuel 8: 9-10, Amplified Bible
"Rejectors of Their Protector"
"Advice is one of those things it is far more blessed to give than to receive."
Is there a time in my life when I have been given a warning but ignored it, only to find out later that it was advice I should have needed?
"No gift is more precious than good advice."
"God is our true Friend, who always gives us the counsel and comfort we need. Our danger lies in resisting Him; so it is essential that we acquire the habit of hearkening to His voice, or keeping silence within, and listening so as to lose nothing of what He says to us."
Most likely, as each one of us was growing up, there were times in our lives when we felt our parents were demanding and restrictive. Their only goal, it appeared, was to keep us from having fun.
In my family, during my high school years, there were three very specific rules which could not be broken without distinct and well out-lined consequences.
Rule 1 - I was not allowed to go to a friend's house when their parents were not home, especially if a party was held without parental supervision.
Rule 2 - I had to be home by 10 p.m. on school nights, 11 p.m. on weekends.
Rule 3 - I was not to ride in a car without an adult.
My parents felt that nothing good happened when a bunch of 16 and 17-year-old kids got in a car for a joy-ride. I felt differently and ended up finding out, on one particular occasion, that my parents were correct. Had it not been for the fact that the son of the principal of our high school was involved in the escapade a group of us got into as we sped around the city, trying to see whose Camaro was faster, I would have been in a heap of trouble.
Looking back, the rules I thought were restrictive, were truly protective - given to me by parents who dearly loved me and wanted only the best for me and my friends.
As we look at I Samuel 8, we find that our Father, also acted in the best interest of His children whom He dearly loved, too. What's more, when those children demanded their own way, rather than washing His hands of the situation and getting mad at them, God gave instructions to His servant, Samuel, and told him to please advise the children of Israel regarding the results of getting their own way - in this case, having a king.
Too frequently we hear about the mean God of the Old Testament when, in fact, as you and I have studied together, we've found an extremely loving and protective God who wanted His daughters and sons to be held in the high regard for which He created us. How sad that we often devalue ourselves by placing a low estimate on what we are really worth - especially to our Father, the King of the universe.
Since it was apparent that the children of Israel had no idea what they were getting into when they howled and hollered for a king of their own, God laid out in clear language what would happen and then He asked poor Samuel to deliver the message to the headstrong group. Not only was Samuel devoted, he was courageous for only a brave heart could face God's children with the news Samuel was delivering.
Here's just some of the message Samuel shared with the Israelites about what would happen when a king took over:
1. He will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.
2. He will appoint them for himself to be commanders over thousands and over fifties.
3. He will use some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest.
4. He will have them make his implements of war and equipment for his chariots.
God's sons would be workmen and army members for the king, doing his bidding and obeying his commands. Sounds like they were being sold into slavery.
Don't think God's daughters got off free, either. Samuel informed the people that rather than the mothers being at home with their young children, like Hannah was with Samuel, there would be consequences for God's girls, to
1. He (the king) will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. More slave labor.
But then, Samuel added this ominous prediction. "He will take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive orchards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vineyards, and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your men and women servants and the best of your cattle and your donkeys and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves shall be his slaves" (I Samuel 8: 14-17, Amplified Bible).
Talk about wealth re-distribution. From everything being divided fairly by God in Deuteronomy and Judges, and everyone having land for themselves and land to pass down through their family, now a king would say, "It's all mine!" And he'd make certain that what he took was the best and what the regular folk, the working class was left with, were the crumbs from the master's table, or in this case, the king's table.
But Samuel didn't stop. He had one final statement to make, "In that day you will cry out because of your king you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not hear you then" (I Samuel 8: 18).
God couldn't have laid things out more clearly or in more detail. "You are selling yourselves to the devil," he warned. "You are going to be nothing but slaves." And God could say this, for He knew full-well the corrupting influence of money and power and this is why He set up the system of Levites and priests and judges who were to be paid by Temple gifts and who, when following God's lead, wouldn't become entangled with monetary gain.
But in the very next verse, I Samuel 8: 19, there's a word that every time we come upon it, it's bad news. The word is, "Nevertheless!" In spite of God's advice and warnings, we are told that, "Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel (and to God), and they said, "No! We will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles" (I Samuel 8: 19, 20).
Rejectors of their "Protector!" No longer would God fight their battles or face their enemies. They could do it on their own with a king of their own choosing. How sad that as we read this story, we find our own behavior is so much like that of God's children thousands of years ago. We think we're so smart we can do it on our own and we reject the protection of our only safety.
It is with this background, we will begin to look in the coming days at what happened when Israel got their way and got their king. Just a hint --- God was right! And He still is! His advice is worth taking today - every bit of it. Even when it isn't popular.
"One critical day is not the very day of our death, but the whole course of our life; I thank the "One" who prays for me, that prays for me when my bell tolls, but I thank the "One" more who instructs me on how to live."
Fatherhood and Motherhood
"A kind, loving mother who understands and knows the needs of her child will look after it tenderly just because it is the nature of a mother to do so. As the child grows older she changes her methods - but not her love. Older still, she allows the child to be punished so that its faults are corrected and its virtues and graces developed. This way of doing things, with much else that is right and good, is our Lord at work in those who are doing them. Thus He is our Mother in nature, working by His grace for the sake of the higher."
Julian of Norwich
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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