In the last post I said I had had two sad coffee dates. I told you about the cup I shared with the positive thinking gal who quoted Beatrix Potter and we brewed together about the very small “idk god” most of us have bowed to at one time or another. But I didn’t say much about the meeting with Samuel. Truth is our dining room table was crowded that morning because Samuel didn’t come alone. He brought the elders of the Hebrew nation with him and soon Saul had filled a cup and taken a seat as well (1 Samuel 7-9). We can’t relive all the action or significant events leading up to this point in Israel’s history because that would push the length way past the comments column, but to me this specific moment is one of the saddest in all the Bible.
Even if you are not an Old Testament enthusiast, you know about the miracles God performed in the lives of His children. You know that He showed Himself mightier than any god Egypt could conjure, filled the hands of the Israelites with treasure, and parted the Red Sea for their escape. He fed them in the wilderness, never allowed their clothes to wear out or their feet to swell in their wanderings, and He set the most beautiful of all the land aside for them. Over and over again God showed them who He was and confirmed His character by what He did. Every battle He won for them, every promise He fulfilled for them seemed to echo the Divine invitation to KNOW Him. And with each wonder He performed and each miracle He accomplished the breath of God announced . . . “I AM Love. I AM Mercy. I AM Faithful. Know Me. Know Me.”
That’s why we’ve got to hear His heart of love when He tells the Israelites, “Don’t chase after those other gods, don’t offer yourself to them, don’t give them your love. You don’t even know them.” Now that’s a Marilyn summarization/ paraphrase of a whole bunch of verses throughout the Old Testament , but the message of LOVE is still His.
We always have to be mindful of these truths:
- He does not need us to remain true to Him for Him.
- He does not need us to choose to follow Him for Him.
- He does not need us to serve Him for Him.
He does not need us to . . . . . to anything. Here’s the truth Girlfriend. It’s you who needs Him, not the other way around.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ Acts 17:24-28
That’s the truth today and that was the truth for the Israelites. So with all that Divine Love stirring your heart, imagine how it must have pierced the heart of God to have His people flat out reject Him as their King. The same Nation that had declared that “The Lord will reign forever and ever” was now announcing that they no longer wanted Him to occupy the throne.
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 walk in 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. 1 Samuel 8:4-7
Feel the grief that must have washed over His heart. These were the ones He had chosen. The ones He had saved. The ones He had shown His glory. They were the ones He loved. He had chosen to be their King so they would stand out, stand above, and stand apart from all the other nations. He had distinguished them with His Presence and guided them with His Glory. And now they were willingly discarding their holy distinction for disgrace. They were demanding to return to the very state of servitude God had delivered them from. How could anyone taste the love and freedom of the Divine and choose to abandon it?
Since I have confessed to you that my love language is thick-headed, it should come as no surprise that I love what seems to be the denseness of the Israelite people. I am so grateful that they made the same mistakes over and over so that God could keep repeating Himself because, if nothing else, it gave Him good practice for displaying the unlimited patience He would need when He welcomed me into the Kingdom. It’s so easy to look at the Israelites with disdain and say, “How could they?” until we really take the time to look intently at their actions. If you’re at all like me, what you see is yourself staring back.
God has done miraculous things for me and worked wonders beyond measure in my life. I’m certain the same is true for you. I’m also certain that just as surely as He set the Israelites free from the ruler who had placed the yoke of slavery upon them that He has set you and I free as well. He delivered us from the dominion of darkness and took our yoke of sin. And in all of this, He has whispered to our hearts in the same real and tangible ways that He did to the Israelites, “Know Me. Know Me.” And praise His Name, His grace led us to declare that He and He alone would be our King. He would sit on the throne of our lives and His Presence would distinguish us from those with other rulers. And then, just like the Israelites, we decided to trade our King for a small “k” king like everyone else had.
Remember the sadness we felt as we pondered the grief of God. Would He not experience the same heartbreak in this instance? We are the ones He has chosen. We are the ones He has saved. We are those that He has shown His glory. We are the ones that He loves. And in spite of Everything He Is, all too often we mimic our Old Testament forerunners by choosing to discard our holy distinction and blend with the world.
This is the part that really hits me. We seem to believe now, the Israelites seemed to believe then, that we have some control over who is actually sitting on the Throne. Doesn’t that strike you odd? God has always been on His Throne, He always will be, and He is today. Rather we choose to acknowledge His position or not, does not change the fact. It seems like everything we study brings us back to the same point. God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him. Let me say that again. God cannot be changed by us, but we can certainly be changed by Him. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we bow to the One, True King and acknowledge His position on the Throne. It is we who benefit from His reign in our lives because it is we who are changed when we live knowing that He is enthroned. When the King reigns — we change.
Oh Girlfriend, your destiny is not to blend in! Don’t settle for the ordinary when the Extraordinary died to give you more. You were meant to walk stronger, serve harder, and love deeper. Your King has given you life to the full. Keep Him on the Throne and live it well Sister! Live it well!