Searching for Kings

I often peruse news sites and their comment sections, and one thing I’ve noticed is when a politician, actor, or other famous person says or does something they like, they say, “[whomever] for president in 2024!”

Only recently did those exclamations start to bother me. I kept asking myself, “Why are we trying to depend on one person to solve all of our problems for us?”

Yet this attitude is nothing new.

When God rescued Israel from Egypt, he set up Judges to lead the people. For the most part, this system worked rather well until the time of Samuel. According to 1 Samuel 8:1, as he grew old, he made his sons Judges over Israel. Yet they became corrupted by taking bribes and perverted justice (8:3).

The people grew tired of the corruption, so they demanded that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them like all the other nations (8:5b). Samuel prayed for guidance, and God told him to do as the people demanded because, “… they have rejected me from being king over them.” (8:7b). God also told Samuel to “solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (8:9b).

Samuel then listed all the ways they would eventually be oppressed by a king such as conscripting their sons and taking ten percent of all their harvests and animals. God also warned them that should they cry to him because of their king “… the Lord would not answer [them] on that day.” (8:18)

Even after all of Samuel’s warnings, they did not listen. They said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (8:19b-20)

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”

This nation is seeing many a repeat of history. It began with no centralized power (a king), yet it is now looking, almost desperately, for one to “fight our battles” for us.

It’s lazy and it’s dangerous. God gave in to Israel and gave them a king, so he could very well choose one for us. Because we, too, have rejected God, and we have a bloated bureaucracy that is rife with corruption. We seek a leader (even if we don’t directly call him a king, that’s in effect what we’re asking for) in the hopes he’ll clean house (figuratively speaking).

In the end, though, we will eventually pay an even higher price than we are now, and God may not answer us on the day we cry out for help.