Israel did not know how good they had it! After 400 years of affliction, God judged Egypt and brought Israel out of bondage. He demonstrated His power and performed wonders during their deliverance. Even when they were trapped by the Red Sea and escape seemed hopeless, their deliverance was secured. Then they were led to the mountain where they could talk with God.
Exodus 20:19 “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”
When they arrived at mount Sinai, they saw the presence of God and heard His voice. Instead of rejoicing in the God of their salvation, they were afraid of Him and wanted Moses to speak to them instead. They wanted a king! This was the beginning of the end of God’s desired theocracy…
Types of Government
There are many types of government. Here I will list the most common:
- Democracy – Literally means ‘rule by the people’. In a democracy, the people govern.
- Republic – Most democracies are actually republics. In a republic, the people elect representatives to make and enforce laws. “And to the republic for which it stands…” The U.S. is essentially a Republic, not a Democracy.
- Democratic Republic – A government that officially calls itself a democratic republic is more like a dictatorship. For instance, ‘The People’s Republic of China’.
- Dictatorship – A dictatorship is a rulership by one person or a group of people. Very few dictators admit they are dictators; they almost always claim to be leaders of democracies.
- Monarchy – A monarchy is ruled by a king or queen (succession is often by heredity). A king is sometimes called an Emperor if the empire is large.
- Aristocracy – An aristocracy is ruled by aristocrats, which are typically wealthy, educated people. Many monarchies have been ruled this way. The United States has been accused of having become such.
- Theocracy – a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the supreme ruler. (God’s ideal)
Give Us A King!
1 Samuel 8:4-5 “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (emphasis added)
It should be easy to see the error of the elders. It’s not only their request for a King but the reason for it. They wanted to be like the nations of people around them! Why was this an issue?
2 Kings 17:15 “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.”
People tend to want mimic others, especially if the others seem to be doing well. They see what looks like prosperity and begin to desire the excitement and popularity. The surrounding nations appeared prosperous and strong because they had someone familiar leading them. They had someone they could see, touch, and speak to. It was someone who was like them… human.
Proverbs 3:31 “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.”
The leader often appeared ambitious if not brutal, and charismatic, yet accommodating. Most of all, the people appeared to be taken care of. After all, that is the job of the King.
Why Ask for a King?
Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
Because Israel did not trust God to lead them, God gave them judges who He led after Joshua died. While God used the judges to deliver Israel, they still lusted after the lifestyle of the surrounding nations. And when the judges died, they adopted the practices of the surrounding nations. When they did, God lifted His covering and they were eventually captured and enslaved by the very nations they wondered after. They didn’t want a society ruled by God alone.
God is not like man who can be seen, heard, or touched directly. Even His indirect presence is terrifying to behold. And unlike a man, His rule is just, yet absolute and His way is perfect. He can not be manipulated, tricked, deceived, or thrown out of office if His rule is disliked. In a theocracy, people cannot do whatever they please. They must live according to God’s statutes, which can be difficult according to the flesh. So God allowed them to have a King, but was not without a cost.
For the sake of the length of this article, please read 1 Samuel 8:10-22 to see what they were asking for. And please note, this is not God’s punishment because they chose a man over Him. This is the result of that choice, a big difference! Mankind loves blaming God for the evil, pains, and sorrows in the world. This is not His doing but theirs because of the choices they made.
The Duty of a King
A King is responsible for the needs of the kingdom. He sees that the people have the necessities of life. He expands the kingdom and keeps it safe. The people need only serve the King and the kingdom in return. When done well, it can be a paradise! This is the system God set up in the beginning. He created the heavens and the earth and placed in them everything needful to sustain life. He provided for Adam and every other creature in existence. All God asked in return was for Adam to expand (Eve was to help with that), care for His creation, acknowledge, and obey Him. This was the Kingdom of God on earth.
Scratch My Itch Please!
2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
Even though kings can have absolute rule, they listen to the voice of the people so they can keep the kingdom happy and quelch discord. Still, we would prefer leaders we can manipulate. We want people we can bend and twist to our way of thinking. We need people who will tell us what we want to hear, not just what we need to hear. We want leaders who will pass laws giving us permission or the OK to sin. Make sin legal and it no longer seems like sin! Las Vegas is one example. The Church world is no different. Don’t think so? Ever notice when some leaders behave corruptly and don’t repent, the congregations seem to ignore it? Even if it’s something the media believes is worth reporting, the congregation rallies behind their leader and it’s church as usual. Why? Because then it gives them permission to overlook or not feel so bad about their own sin. Permission for the leader is permission for the congregant.
Ezekiel 13:10 “Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:”
Something untempered is not brought to the proper hardness or consistency. If you build anything with untempered mortar, it will crumble when dried and fall apart easily under pressure or strain.
2 Timothy 3:13 “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (emphasis added)
The truth is, most want to have their sin and heaven too! If the leadership is corrupt, who can keep the people in check? This is why God wanted a theocracy. People left to their own devices will corrupt one another through lust, pride, and envy unless governed by the Holy Spirit!
Hosea 4:9 “And there shall be, like people, like priest:…”
Make us like the Jones’ and be Accountable for Us
Here is another reason why we want people instead of God ruling over us. Please note verse 20 in 1 Samuel 8 above. As I said earlier, Israel wanted to be like the other nations
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
They also wanted someone to tell them what to do and protect them. Just not God! They had God’s law, along with the statutes and ordinances of Moses to follow. They were given judges as leaders among them. That was not enough. It was not what other nations did. They did not want to be responsible for themselves.
Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Can’t you see people behaving the same way today? We want leaders who will take charge and lead us to great heights of wealth, holiness, and glory. Tell us what to do and we will blindly follow! We look to them for what to do spiritually and expect them to be our covering. But we all have the same Word and everyone is personally accountable to God. Leaders can teach us the truth, but only God can protect us and the Holy Spirit guide us.
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:…”
God’s Ideal Yet to Come
Revelation 21:1-5 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
God will return all things to His original design. He will reign supreme and provide for His people. We will worship Him and have joy and peace forever. We are given the blueprint to learn how to live our lives acknowledging God as Supreme and looking to Him as our guide and protector. That blueprint is the Word of God! Leaders are not responsible for changing us. We are! Jesus will not change us mentally and emotionally when he returns. That’s for us to work on right now!
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (emphasis added)
Read Colossians 3 for one of many detailed examples of how we are expected to live. This is not the job of the King, government leaders, or our church leaders to execute for us. It’s ours.
We Need Leaders, Not Kings
Leadership is not insignificant. We do need leaders who will sacrifice the time and effort to learn God’s Word in truth and love us enough to lead, teach, and learn with us as fellow servants and fellow laborers. We also need to lead well in our sphere of influence. However, in the church as well as in the world, we have a King who rules well, whose laws are perfect and He can never be replaced! We also have an advocate that will never lose a case.
1 Timothy 1:17 “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 John 2:1 “…And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
I hope this post was helpful. Thank you for visiting!