“They don’t want Me to be their King any longer” (I Samuel 8:7b, NLT). Can’t you sense the hurt our Heavenly Father must have felt as He spoke these words to Samuel?
“Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned Me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them” (I Samuel 8:8-9).
“So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. ‘This is how a king will reign over you,’ Samuel said. ‘The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you’” (I Samuel 8:10-18).
How much plainer could the Lord have made the consequences of establishing an earthly king? “But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. ‘Even so, we still want a king,’ they said. ‘We want to be like the nations around us’” (I Samuel 8:19-20a). There you have it, folks. The Israelites were more concerned with fitting in than standing out as God’s chosen people.
But before we come down too harshly on these wannabes, let’s look around our own doorsteps. We’ve got the entire New Testament at our disposal and yet we oftentimes choose to disobey the Lord. We’ve got the indwelling Holy Spirit warning us not to stray from God’s pathway and yet we oftentimes choose to wander anyway.
It is the nature – that is, the natural instinct – of man to sin. We’re drawn to it. It calls to us. And unless we’re firmly grounded in our faith, we answer its call. And each time we do, our loving Father says, “They don’t want Me… any longer.”
Ever had your child get mad at you and say, “You’re not my mother any more” or “You’re not my father any more?” Did their words change who you are? Of course not. But the words hurt, didn’t they?
Though the parents of a prodigal, Larry and I have never heard those words from our child (who is now an adult); but his absence from our lives tells us he doesn’t want us as his parents. But does that change who I am? No, I’m still his mother. Does that change who Larry is? No, he’s still his father. And we still love him with all our hearts and would be there in a heartbeat if he reached out to us.
That’s what parents do: we love our children unconditionally. And the love of the best parent on the planet pales in comparison with the love of our Heavenly Father. Even when our behavior totally ignores Him, He sticks by us. And He waits for us to let Him help us. All you have to do is ask.
“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a Rock” (Psalm 40:2a, NASB).
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates