The Lord Will Not Answer

In 1 Sam 8: 1-22 Israel demands a king. That sentence is a simple explanation of what is happening, but so much more is going on. Samuel, who has been an excellent judge has become old. In his old age his sons are taking over as is natural in a patronage system, only they were not like their father.

The sons of Samuel perverted justice and took bribes and in response the people of Israel approached Samuel and asked for him to appoint a king over them. They forgot God is in control and looked at their temporary circumstances as a permanent condition, which is a terrible mistake. Samuel prayed to God and God informed him he should do as they ask of him. God puts Samuel at ease by letting him know it was not he Israel was rejecting, but God himself.

God issued a warning to Samuel to relay to Israel about how a king would treat and handle his position over Israel. In a nutshell the king would take their sons and daughters for his purposes, the best of their possessions and fields and a tenth of just about everything and when they cry out for relief, God says he will not answer their call.

With ample warning the people of Israel still demanded a king like all the nations surrounding them to judge them and fight their battles. This story is excellent for this time of year in the United States with another election upon us. We have to consider the warning God issued through Samuel and see how it has played out since that day in every country since. We can replace the king with government and see how voracious the king of Samuel was had nothing on today’s governments.

But what is a Christian to do? Many will say we have more than a right to vote, we have a moral imperative to vote and get involved in politics to try and bring light into darkness. This expectations for Christians to use government to morally legislate Christian values into a poisonous culture is plain wrong. The Good News combined with the Holy Spirit have this role to change people, not government legislated morality.

As a pastor and Christian I could not disagree more with demands we form a voting block. If the people around us demand government in this life as their god to rule over them, let them get as much as they want, how they want. They already know what they are going to receive in response and it is not what they are hoping for, it never is.

We must remember as Christians we are temporary residents in a world of darkness, waiting for the New Jerusalem where our true King lives. What non-believers do in this world opens channels of communication to shed true light on the situation at hand, only if we do not get muddy trying to fix what is not broken. When we dabble in their politics we lose the moral high ground to offer the only true solution available, Jesus.

Our government is not broken, it works exactly as planned to grow its power and control over people, just like it always has.