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Stories #5

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We are a covenant people
We are a relational people
We are a rebellious people
We are a complacent people
We are a fickle people

1 Samuel

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for 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 groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

Samuel a judge/prophet
His sons did evil in Samuel’s eyes
Samuel takes the rejection personally
God adjusts his perspective
Gideon had said asking for a king was sin in

The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.”

But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

“Take...” Kingship would be an invasive institution and it would constitute a heavy burden upon the people.
Crying out to God about the kingship would happen particularly during Solomon’s reign. There was an unbelievable amount of forced labor, Canaanites AND Israelites. The prophets called Solomon out in particular about the enslaving of Israelites.


We are an insecure people
We can be secure in God’s kingship
The people of God have always been a monarchy.
The King was responsible for exercising justice and righteousness.
We can perform the ritual of being righteous and not consider God as king
The problem is, human kings have always found themselves at a deficit when it comes to justice and righteousness.
Whose kingdom are we building?
That’s why God told them what he did when it came to what a king would do to them. He knew the people would eventually see that humanity couldn’t bring justice and righteousness the way God could. That was the ultimate undoing of the people of God.
The lordship of our life is indicated by the way we choose to live our life, what our priorities are.
Do we trust God to bring justice and righteousness?
So much so that the people of God would be very conscious of their allegiance and behavior?
Self sufficiency (God is God as long as we can do it ourselves, but the moment we need him we aren’t sure and don’t like to owe him anything)
Who is sitting on God’s throne? Is it us trying to make something happen? To bring justice and righteousness our own way? Or have we put some other human there to lead us into justice and righteousness?
How radical is our desire for God’s justice and righteousness? The kind of justice and righteousness that comes from a heart of perfect love for mankind?
Is it so radical that we would do anything and everything to see it come to reality?
What would Gods’ justice and righteousness look like in the most tense places in our culture and community?
Where would God’s justice and righteousness make us very uncomfortable and aware?
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