TODAY’S READING: 1 SAMUEL 8-12
Do you want a king that gives or a king that takes?
Seems like a pretty easy question to answer. I think we would all want a king that gives to us. Yet, throughout history people, even followers of Christ, have chosen men that take to be their king.
You might be thinking, “I am a Christian. I don’t desire a man who takes as my king. Jesus is my king. He gives.”
Then why is it that Christians so quickly to turn to political leaders and earthly governments to pledge their allegiance to them? Why does the body of Christ divide itself according to right and left, Democrat and Republican, capitalist and communist, fascist and libertarian, dictatorship and democracy?
Because many Christians desire a king of their own choosing. A king that will rule them like all the other nations. Their hearts desire to take from others so they want a king to rule them that will take from others.
Everyone one of those divisions I mentioned above is nothing more than a system of men ruling themselves by taking. Every single earthly political system ever devised is a system of taking. Therefore, to participate in the politics of this world is to participate in a system of taking. This is a rejection of God as king.
We are ruled by kings, political leaders, and governments who take by our own choice when reject the God who gives as our king.
APPOINT US A KING
Israel had gotten the ark back from the Philistines. Afterwards, Samuel judged Israel for a long time. When Samuel became, he appointed his sons judges over Israel. The problem was his sons took bribes and perverted justice.
So, the elders of Israel came to Samuel and said, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5) Israel saw the prospect of Samuel dying and that they were being judge by his two sons who didn’t judge in the way Samuel did. Therefore, Israel decided they would be better off with a king like all the other nations ruling them. In the mind of the elders, they were rejecting Samuel’s sons as judges.
Samuel was displeased by the decision of the elders of Israel. So, he took the matter to the Lord in prayer. The Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you.” (1 Samuel 8:7-8)
There is no indication that God chose or wanted Samuel’s sons to judge Israel. And, given what we are told earlier in 1 Samuel about Eli and his wicked sons, God most likely was actively working on behalf of Israel to give them a good judge. But, Israel was impatient, not willing to let God work his goodness in and through the situation. So, Israel desired a man to be king over them.
Because men take action through force to achieve a desired outcome immediately. But, when God is your king you have to be patient and wait for his goodness to work.
ISRAEL DEMANDS A KING THAT TAKES
Israel demands Samuel to appoint a king over them like all the other nations have. God tells Samuel to do it. But, God first tells Samuel to tell Israel what the king would be like.
“These will be the ways of the king who will reign over your; he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.” (1 Samuel 8:11-17)
God warns Israel that the kings of the nations, every earthly king, every political leader, every man-made government does nothing but take:
- your sons
- your daughters
- the best of your fields, vineyards, and orchards
- the tenth of your grain
- your servants
- the tenth of your flocks
The end result of choosing men to be you king is that “you shall be his slaves.” Your life will be used for the king’s pleasure and satisfaction.
The manner of every earthly king, ruler, politician, and government is just the opposite of the character and nature of God. Let’s compared the God who gives with the rulers of men who take.
GOD GIVES HIS SON, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS
The kings of men take your sons. However, God gave his son, Jesus, to make you his son through the Holy Spirit.
John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Jesus says in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Just before his crucifixion, Jesus says in John 16:7, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
Then, Jesus says in John 16:13-15, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore i said that he take what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Holy Spirit takes what belongs to Jesus, the king of kings, and gives it to you.
What belongs to Jesus that the Holy Spirit takes and declares to you?
Jesus is the son of God, which is why all that the Father has is his.
So, the Holy Spirit takes the sonship of Jesus and gives it to you, thereby giving you everything that belongs to the Father.
Romans 8:14-17 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”
GOD GIVES HIS SON TO FIGHT FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO FIGHT FOR THEM
Earthly kings take your sons to wage war for them. This what it means for kings to take your sons to drive his chariots and be his horsemen.
But, God gives you his son to fight for you.
“You know that he [Jesus] appeared in order to take away sins…Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:5, 8)
Satan is the prince, the ruler of this world. Every king and every kingdom, every political leader and every government, belong to the kingdom of Satan. These kingdoms are based on sin since Satan has been sinning from the beginning. These kingdoms take your sons to wage ware for them.
But, God gives his son, Jesus, to fight for you. This is why Jesus appeared. To destroy sin and every work of the devil for you.
Jesus says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
How did Jesus overcome the world, Satan, and sin?
God gives Jesus, his son, to fight for you and overcome the enemy through the cross. It was on the cross that Jesus defeated our enemies.
Colossians 2:15 says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And, in 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Paul says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
GOD GIVES HIS SON A SERVANT, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO SERVE THEM
The kings of men take your sons to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties. In other words, the kings of men take your sons to make a hierarchy to lord it over you.
But, God gives his son to be a servant to you.
In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus says to his disciples, “You know that those who are considered rules of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
GOD GIVES HIS SON TO FEED AND PROTECT YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR SONS TO FEED AND PROTECT THEM
God warned Israel that the kings of men take your sons to plow their ground and reap their harvest to feed themselves as well as making weapons of war to protect themselves.
But, God gives his son, Jesus, to both feed you and protect you.
Jesus says in John 4:10, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
And, in John 7:37, he says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”
In addition to giving us drink, Jesus feeds us. In John 6:56-58, Jesus says, “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not the like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”
Not only did God give his son to feed us, but he gave his son to protect us, to be our armor.
Ephesians 6:10-12 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
GOD GIVES HIS SON A SACRIFICE FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR DAUGHTERS AS A SACRIFICE
The kings of men take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. Read through the Old Testament you will see that these were positions of service for the king. And, underlying these positions of service was the idea of worship and sacrifice.
But, God gives Jesus, his son, to be a sacrifice for us.
Jesus says in John 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”
John follows this up in 1 John 3:16 with, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.”
So, Jesus willingly gave up, or sacrificed, his life for us.
In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was made to offering a pleasing aroma to God. When Jesus sacrificed his own life, he offered a pleasing aroma to God. God gives him as a perfumer. Paul alludes to this in 2 Corinthians 2:15 when he says, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God.”
In the Old Testament, the Levites were cooks and bakers that prepared the meat and grain for the other priests to eat. This pictures Jesus he gives his body as the meat and bread that we are to eat.
GOD GIVES YOU THE EARTH, KINGS OF MEN TAKE YOUR FIELDS AND THE BEST OF ITS PRODUCE
Earthly kings take the best of your fields, vineyards, and orchards as well as the best, the tenth, of the produce those fields, vineyards, and orchards produce.
But, God gives you the earth, which he owns.
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Instead of taking what you have, God gives you what is his, the earth and the fullness of it through his son.
Hebrews 1:2 says that Jesus is “appointed the heir of all things,” including the earth.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
Ephesians 2:11 says that “in him [Jesus] obtained an inheritance,” which is the earth, indeed all creation.
GOD GIVES HIS SON TO WORK IN AND FOR YOU, KINGS OF MEN TAKES WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
The kings of men take your servants and your animals. These are things that work for you. The kings of men take what works for you to work for them.
But, God gives you Jesus, his son, to work in and for you.
Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.”
But, in Philippians 1:6, Paul says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
GOD MAKES YOU SONS, KINGS OF MEN MAKE YOU SLAVES
Prior to coming to God, we were slaves to sin and unrighteousness. But, in John 8, Jesus says that he came to free us.
In John 15:15, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you servants [slaves], for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”
Jesus says we are no longer slaves but friends of his.
But, we become even more than friends. Jesus tells Mary this after his resurrection. He says we become sons. in John 20:17, Jesus says, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but to go my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
What a difference there is between how God and Jesus, the king of kings, treat us versus how the kings of men treat us. Therefore, let us forsake the kings, the politicians, and the governments of the earth to pledge our sole allegiance to Jesus.