So far I’ve taken people through several books of the Old Testament (Genesis – I Samuel), and I’m currently working on the first book of Samuel. For those who will take the time to read the study are going to see a progression of 3 major events take place, each with a rather in-depth story surrounding them:
First is the anointing of Samuel as a new type of Judge that’s more akin to a prophet; Then we have the coronation of Saul as the first king of Israel and then ultimately his rejection by God; and finally Saul’s growing conflict with David that goes hand in hand with the decline of Saul’s kingdom, and terminates with David eventually replacing Saul.
Well that sounds exciting, I know (lol), but from a higher view, what we are watching is that the ruinous era of the Judges has run its course and at least part of its divine purpose was achieved by demonstrating to the tribes of Israel that Israel (and all humankind for that matter) needed to be governed by a king, which is contrary to what even I use to teach, that one of Israel’s sins was wanting a king. I used to argue that Israel was begging God for a king, just like all the other nations and tribes that surrounded them, but God wanted Israel to see Him as their King. And yes, this is essentially true, but that had to be learned through a man as their king.
Man’s sinful condition is such that we need a strong earthly authority to rule over us and keep us in line or we are guaranteed to run afoul of God’s laws and commands, leading to disastrous results. I know this idea of a need for a king flies in the face of our American system that holds self-rule as sacrosanct, but the Bible certainly doesn’t advocate democracy as the solution. Even in my own family, I (hopefully) demonstrated that our family was not a democracy, but a benevolent Monarchy . . . that my wife and I were the authority within our family, controlled through our love for our children and a devotion to our King.
Now in my defense, I would like to say that just like the rest of you, I have no interest in being ruled by a typical worldly monarch. But as long as God’s rule is rejected and we prefer the rule of men, just as we see in our own nation, the temptations of leadership, wealth and power are usually too much for us to handle in any kind of humanly oriented government system. All of our governing systems are doomed to fail eventually.
The era of the Judges proved that strong central rule was indispensable; that not even Israel, who had every possible advantage in having Yehoveh as their God, and even holding God’s own Word in their possession, could withstand the evil inclinations that lurk within us all to do things our way. Self-interest, greed, and the sheer ambition of power combined for the ever-declining morality of Israel until finally God had to rescue them once again or absolute destruction was the inevitable outcome. And God’s way to rescue Israel was to give them a king.
What we see throughout the Scripture is that God has been steadily moving Israel along a path towards the ultimate king, the Messiah, and giving glimpses all along the way of the Messiah’s attributes and character. The Lord gave Israel a leader in Moses that bore a certain attribute of the future and ultimate leader, that of being a Mediator for the people. Then the Lord gave Israel a leader in Joshua who bore another attribute of the future and ultimate leader, the warrior chief. During the era of the Judges the Lord demonstrated the attribute of deliverance from oppression by using various Shophetim to save Israel from the never-ending litany of enemies who tried to subjugate Israel and take their land and possessions. During the era of the kings that Samuel transitioned Israel into, the Lord gave Israel a leader that demonstrated the attribute of ultimate central authority and how, if it was accomplished under Holy Spirit guidance, Israel would exist and operate as the intended Kingdom of God; but if it was accomplished without paying attention to the Lord’s laws and commands, the kingdom would simply be another in a long list of kingdoms of men destined to fall and blow away like dust just like all the other kingdoms had done throughout history.
As history has shown us. Israel failed to learn their lessons. However, the Messiah has come and is now preparing a new Kingdom where He will ultimately Rein Supreme!
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