Thought this might catch the reader’s eye, especially coming from an elected official!
Actually, I am referencing the dynamic which occurred just around the time that the people of Israel (I Samuel 8-11) rebelled against the priesthood of Samuel, demanding “a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” God in fact would give them a King, though not without amble warnings as to how their lifestyle might change.
Are there parallels, even insights for America, as she struggles with her own government, blindly ignorant of the history that has occurred in the countries before us, such as Germany and England, once their leaders distanced themselves from the great reformations; the elders within their cities no longer representative of sound religious institutions; their people growing more dependent upon government; less inspired by the God of their ancestors than the work of their own hands?
Of course, there also exists evidence that institutional religion itself, the “church” of their day had begun to fail long before their pleas for a King: the loss of the Ark, the injustices within the temple and the eventual death of those wicked sons of Eli.
However, once the nation made a decision to defy its long prescribed spiritual infrastructure, it seems that providence would set in motion an unrecoverable shift; one that in the end would seem the right thing for Israel, even bring celebration, to include spiritual validation and dramatic prophesy!
Though Samuel long resisted the desires of the people, in the end, he receives instruction from the Lord to “give them what they wanted” and a final shift in national tempo occurs; one eerily akin to what has happened in America post 9/11, almost analogous to losing our own “Ark!”
Once the shift occurred, things began to happen at all levels across the national playing field, as miniscule as a farmer losing his donkeys, to Israel’s spiritually intense election of a King.
As I read this morning, corelates to our present America emerged. It even seemed as if God changed His own rules, and began to accommodate spiritually, what Israel had chosen politically.
Saul, the impressive son of a prominent Benjamite was sent out to recover his father’s donkeys, which ironically leads him right into the path of Samuel. It was interesting to me, that Saul mentioned money as a way to get the man of God to tell him just where the donkeys might be. Certainly this is a clue about where the “church” might have been in the eyes of this then generally secular population; back to America.
Samuel then lays out a plethora of scenarios, quite miraculous in their timing and akin to the sequence of events that occurred during the intense spiritual and political shift in Jerusalem, just before the crucifixion. Jesus instructed his disciples on provision of a room in which He would host the infamous Last Supper: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room…He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’” (Mark 14:13 NIV).
So many things fell into place that Saul was probably overwhelmed with the sovereignty of God and his call to kingship; possibly explaining why he hid himself from all the hoopla at the last-minute, unknowingly revealing the character deficit that would later end his reign, and cost him his head, literally.
Why did Israel not recognize the shift that had occurred, repent and thus avoid a long history of war and bloodshed, first under Saul and then even under the righteous leadership of David? The warnings were there, readily accessible in the journals of Moses, the record of Jacob: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder.” (Genesis 49:27).
Yet they would cast lots (the things religious people do when they are out of relationship with God) and then celebrated when the duty of King fell to the tribe of Benjamin.
Thank God, for his grace, for even when we thwart justice, ignore prophesy and His Word, He redeems His plans, though it may require generations. Many settled in America, fleeing the brutal loss of freedoms in countries where the church had failed, leaving political leaders to advantage injustice to their own benefit. However, God inevitably send’s Goliaths, whether tyrants or failed economies, that soon defy any unrepentant nation’s best efforts. He then raises up “shepherd boys” with sling shots to recover His plans. Perhaps that day will come for America?
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nation is his.” (Gen 49:10 NIV).
His Kingdom will come even if through a lost donkey.