I was recently asked by more than one person if I would have written the same article if the other political party had won the race for the white house. My answer is an unequivocal yes, because my angst, and my frustration is with the churches, not with the world. If the men that claimed to be the children of God lived as though the were the children of God, the world would be a very different place. Before we can hope to reach the world, we must clean up the churches, we must reinstate the principles and standards that proved necessary in the history of God's house, principles and standards that are plainly outlined in the Word of God.
Knowing that judgment begins in the house of God first and foremost, may we rightly judge ourselves, before we are judged.
Yes, God saw it as an insult, God saw it as His people rejecting Him and not Samuel, but even so, love compelled Him to warn them one last time, to open their eyes to the reality of what a king would mean for them. Perhaps the people didn’t fully understand what it meant to have a king, perhaps they were only duped into seeing the positive aspects of it, and so God spoke to Samuel and said, ‘solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.’
Before I get into all that God informed Israel would happen if they went ahead with their desire and demand to have a king, I need to point something out about change. The people wanted change; that much was obvious from their approach of Samuel. However there is always a price to be paid for wanting a non-specific change. They really didn’t care whether the change would be positive or negative, it was a non-specific linear train of thought that did nothing to incorporate the information they were about to receive from Samuel. Blinded by the need for change, Israel would be either indifferent, or deaf to the warnings of God.
Whether we like to acknowledge this fact or not, change isn’t always positive. Some things change, in fact except for God all things change, but it is for the negative as often as it is for the positive. We get older, thereby hopefully getting wiser, but at the same time our bodies begin to break down at a basic level, the joints start to ache, and the hair starts to gray. Change comes about, but unlike man’s often linear perspective it is a fluid occurrence, not necessarily headed in the same direction in which it started out.
If I thought about it I’m sure I could come up with a better example, but I was in a coffee shop not long ago enjoying a scone and a hot cup of tea (I was just wondering what the English saw in them) when I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation that was taking place at the next table. One of the ladies had just gotten divorced and remarried, and she was pouring her heart out to her friend, that the reality of this new beau didn’t quite match up to the fantasy she had created for herself. Apparently her ex husband had not been abusive, he was a good provider, a loving father, but she had just gotten bored, the relationship had gotten stale, and she needed something new, she needed change. Since ‘til death do us part is something you say simply to get a preacher to marry you nowadays, and not something you really mean, it seems the lady went and filed for divorce, and shortly thereafter met the new man that would replace her old man. It seems the new man, is not as caring, loving, supportive or sensitive as the old man, he likes his liquor a little too much, and has a tendency to use his hands and fists when he’s angry, and not merely to gesticulate. I guess the point I’m trying to make, is that the grass isn’t always greener, that change isn’t always positive, and sometimes man’s desire for something new blinds him to the reality of the information he already possesses.
God might have been disappointed, but He was not bitter. The thing about being created with the freedom to choose, is that more often than we would like to admit, we choose the lesser rather than the greater, the easy rather than the right. God made one last attempt to turn the hearts of the people, He wanted them to have all the information they would need to make their choice, and then He would leave them to the desire of their heart.
I’m sorry to break the news to those who insist upon the idea or sovereign appointment regardless of what the individual does, but the word of God tell us that life and death has been placed before us, blessing and cursing laid out at our feet, and we have the power to choose which avenue we pursue and which path we follow.
It’s easy to breathe a sigh, wave a hand, roll our eyes and say ‘it’s in God’s hands’ but the truth of the matter is that God’s desire is that none perish, that all have everlasting life, yet the population of hell is growing by leaps and abounds. Why? Because we choose whom we serve, we choose who we surrender our hearts to, we choose what path we follow, and in the end suffer the consequences thereof.
The warning of God was solemn, sobering, and severe. I will not go into great detail, because the length of this post keeps getting longer and longer, but if one is so inclined they can find the entire passage in 1 Samuel Chapter 8. Among the highlights of God’s warning to the people of Israel, of what would occur if they chose a king over Him, is the fact that they would be servants, they would give a tenth of their grain and vintage to the king’s officer’s and servants, their sons would be sent to war, and their daughters taken to be servants. The direst warning however, was the consequence they would have to suffer if they rejected God in lieu of a king:
1 Samuel 8:18, “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
The most tragic consequence of rejecting God is not the absence of blessing, or the absence of prosperity over a nation, it is God no longer hearing when the nation calls out to Him. If history has taught us anything it is the fact that leaders, kings, generals and presidents have a tendency to fall woefully short of the people’s expectations. It is inevitable that they disappoint some of their constituency, if not all of it, and perhaps by now we should have learned that promises made on stump speeches, regardless of the political party that regurgitates them, are empty and without substance. If we look to any one man as the savior of a nation, if we put out trust in any one man to legislate morality or to change the moral course of a people, it is inevitable that we will be disappointed and disillusioned.
God’s message to Israel was clear and absent of double speak, duplicity or vagueness. You will eventually open your eyes, all that I have spoken will come to pass, you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you. Even so, Israel simply said, ‘we want a king.’
What remains for a nation that rejects the leadership and guidance of God? We cannot reject the standard of God and live with the expectation of His blessing. We cannot deny the will of God, distance ourselves from Him, and reject His very nature, and still feel entitled to all the benefits of being called a child of God.
Those that rejected God were not the gentiles of old; it was not the Philistines or the Egyptians, it was the people of God. No I do not expect the world to become more moral, to stand up for virtue and righteousness, but I do expect the church, the house of God, those who call themselves His to do it. Morality is not a virtue that must be legislated among the children of God, it is a state of being that comes naturally to them. This nation, and in fact the world is what it is because the children of God today, the churches in large part, just as Israel did some three thousand years ago, rejected God. We found Him stifling, legalistic, intolerant, unwilling to see the bigger picture, unwilling to sign off on money making schemes and the dissemination of false hopes and empty promises. No, if we were to continue embracing God’s vision, we would still be just a handful of folk praying in homes, and reading the Bible, striving to live righteous lives, and keeping ourselves spotless and without wrinkle in anticipation of Christ’s return. If we would have continued seeking first the Kingdom of God, we would still have no political voice, we would still have no influence, the world wouldn’t embrace us like some long lost kin, and our leaders couldn’t boast of their achievements.
We have chosen that much is certain. The only question that remains to be answered, and with the passage of time the answer will become painfully obvious is: Was the tradeoff worth it? Was it worth surrendering intimacy with God for the allure of the mainstream? Was it worth forfeiting God hearing us for the world loving us? Was it worth rejecting God to be accepted by the world? The day will come when this nation will cry out as Israel of old. They will weep and mourn and no answer from heaven will be forthcoming. No matter how heartfelt the pleas, no matter how sincere the tears, He will not hear, and it will not be because God is asleep, it will not be because He is on a sabbatical, it will be because even though we have free will, we must, everyone, suffer the consequences of our choices.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.