Sunday, June 06, 2010

Power Struggles Part I A: "That All the Earth May Know That There Is a God in Israel"

*I split Part 1 up into 3 posts because it's SO long.*
*I know the big print below looks ridiculous, but blogger refuses to keep all the font the same size for me.*

Authority, politics, power struggles, and war are familiar faces to the inhabitants of this world. It started in the Garden between choosing the serpent's deceiving words and God's admonition and continues today as we vote for state primaries this month.

Who gives the final word? Which leader deserves our allegiance? How will he fight our battles?

I'd like to start this series with a look at Israel's first taste of having a king, the politics, and the power struggles that led to a young man bringing Isreal's eyes back to He who has "dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth." (Psalms 72:8)

"Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him. 'Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.' " 1 Samuel 8:5

Translation: You've been in office WAY too long, your kids wouldn't ever make good leaders, and we're getting tired (again!) of being this tiny little country who does everything different from the countries we're surrounded by so lets try some nasty pagan politics.

Samuel, doesn't have a good feeling about this though and God responds: "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day--with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also." - 1 Samuel 8:7-8

"This issue started back when your ancestors were going in circles in the desert. They did not, and still do not want to serve Me as their one sovereign Lord. They keep allowing idols to take over their hearts. I have called My people, but they do not want to be My people. The hook is off you Samuel, it's not that your campaign strategy didn't work, Israel has a serious rebellion issue. Now tell them the dangers of having a king."

"Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, 'No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.' "
~1 Samuel 8:19

If you sit down and read Herodotus or Livy, you read of pagan king after pagan king leading their forces out into battle. Livy tells of the early Roman republic's consuls acting as warriors. David wasn't supposed to be at home when that mess started with Bathsheba. Even our own president is considered as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. It makes sense that the leader of a nation should fight the battles.

The issue here is the motive behind having a king. God wanted Israel to eventually have a king. He gives rules for their kings in Deuteronomy. But, now Israel wants the control over their battles to be in the hands of a man, not in the hands of Yaweh.

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